Planting your Fruit Tree
Please read carefully
All our trees and plants are checked at the time of lifting and again before packaging to ensure that they are of the highest quality. We also ask that you check your fruit trees on arrival to ensure that you are happy with the quality and to contact us immediately if there are any problems. We also advise that you take extra care to ensure that trees and plants are not damaged during the unpacking process and that the labels do not get misplaced. Be careful when handling gooseberries and other thorny plants that may be part of your order. Trees should be planted as soon as ground conditions allow but may be stored in moist soil or sand until you are ready to plant. Do not let the roots dry out.
Soil: Well drained soil is essential for healthy fruit trees. Soil should also be enriched with organic material such as homemade compost to ensure that your trees get off to a good start.
Location: Think carefully about where you position your fruit trees. For optimum results choose a warm sunny site with good shelter from the wind as this will increase the chances of good pollination and fruit set.
Staking: Staking is essential to prevent wind rock and damage to roots which can inhibit the growth of young trees.
Fruit trees on dwarfing rootstocks do not compete well with grass and weeds so you will need to keep the soil at the base of your tree weed and grass free. Regular mulching with compost or leaf litter can achieve this but be careful to keep mulch a couple of inches away from the trunk of your tree.
Do not let any shoots grow from the root system or below the graft union. You may need to remove tree spirals to ensure this is not happening
Step-by-step Planting Guide
- Dig a hole large enough that it can easily accommodate the roots of your tree.. A square hole is better than a round one as it encourages the roots to push out into the surrounding ground. Keep the soil you have removed in a wheelbarrow and enrich with good garden compost and mix to a nice tilth.
- Throw in a few shovelfuls of this mixed soil and work it into the base of the hole using a garden fork.
- Look for the slightly darker ‘watermark’ on the tree’s trunk that indicates where the soil level was when it was first grown. This dark watermark will be just at the top of the roots and it is very important that trees are not planted lower than this. If necessary, add or remove soil to achieve this.
- When the correct planting depth is established, remove the tree and hammer in a wooden stake a couple of inches from the centre of the hole and on the side where the prevailing wind comes from.
- Place the tree back in the hole close to the stake and start to shovel the soil-and-compost mix back around the roots. Gently firm this in with your boots, being careful not to damage the roots. Do not compress the soil.
- Once all the soil has been added and firmed, fix the tree to the stake with a soft rubber tie, leaving enough room for the tree trunk to grow but not so much that it wobbles about. Also add a plastic spiral guard around the trunk to protect from rabbits and hares. Spiral guards may need to be shortened to suit the length of the trunk
- Water the soil well to stop the roots drying out and to further settle the soil around them.