Planting a Bareroot Fruit Tree
· Predug hole three to four feet in diameter
· Three to four cubic feet of compost per tree
· Preplant fertilizer (triple super phosphate or high in phosphorus)
· Wooden or metal stake at least four feet long
· Green nursery tape
· Whitewash or white latex paint diluted equally with water
· Paint brush
· One 24 inch X 3’ section of one-inch hexagonal chicken fencing (if rabbits a problem)
· Wood mulch
· Bypass type hand pruner
|Planting hole for fruit trees with amended soil|
2. Reserve soil from the hole for mixing with compost called backfill
3. Remove rocks larger than a golf ball.
4. Add compost to the backfill and mix thoroughly.
5. Add preplant fertilizer to the compost soil mix and thoroughly mix.
6. Place tree in the planting hole and orient the bud union (dogleg) to the north. And make sure the roots will be ½ inch below the finished soil level when finished.
7. Put three to four inches of amended soil into the bottom of the hole and start adding water. The water should turn the soil into a slurry (consistency of a milk shake) and flow around the roots, removing air pockets.
8. Continue to add the soil/compost/fertilizer mix to the planting hole as water is added.
9. When the backfill has been added completely, collapse the edges of the planting hole with your shovel to create an irrigation basin for watering. This basin should be level and have a depth of three to four inches. If a basin does not exist, create one by piling soil around the edge of the planting hole to create a moat.
10. Once the tree has been planted and the water has drained, check to make sure no roots are exposed. Draining may take anywhere from minutes in well drained soils to hours in poorly drained soils. If the roots are exposed, cover the roots with amended soil but be careful to leave a three to four inch deep, level basin (moat) surrounding the tree and encircling the planting hole.
|Fruit tree watered in but missing the stake to hold the roots from moving|
11. Drive a four foot or longer stake with a hammer into the hole directly next to the tree. Make sure the stake is solidly driven into the soil at the bottom of the hole. The stake should be immobile after it is driven into the bottom of the hole.
12. Using green, pliable nursery tape, tie the tree tightly to the stake so that the tree is immobilized. When planting bareroot trees, the tree must be immobilized in its first few months during establishment in its new home. This allows for strong, healthy and fast root development by mid to late summer. The stake should be removed the following spring.
13. If the tree has not been whitewashed, then whitewash the tree using either whitewash compounds or diluted white latex paint (half water/half white latex paint). Paint the trunk, trunk bud union and any major stems coming from the trunk to a distance of two inches from the trunk.
14. Spread the wood mulch throughout the basin to a minimum of three inches. Pull the mulch away from the trunk of the tree six inches to allow for drying of the trunk between irrigations and avoid crown rot.
15. If you live near the desert, golf course or park protect your new investment with rabbit fencing. Encircle the tee with 24 inch (wide) X 3 ft (long), one inch mesh, chicken wire. Tie the ends of the fencing together so that rabbits cannot get inside and damage the tree. Bury the bottom edge of the fencing two inches into the mulch.
16. If your tree does not have any limbs low to the ground, prune the main stem of the tree at knee height if you want your fruit production as low on the tree as possible. This will force the tree to produce branches and fruit lower to the ground for easier picking later in its life.
17. Irrigate the tree daily for the first three days to continue to remove air pockets. Wet the soil surrounding the hole and settle the plant into its new home.