Plant fruit trees
IT’S planting season for fruit growers, and establishing a new fruit tree is exciting – but it’s also important to get it right. Fruit trees will yield for 40-50 years if well looked after. So, how best to do it?
First, choose the right site. Most tree fruits want sun and shelter (because they flower early in the year, frost pockets should be avoided). Free-draining yet moisture-retentive soil is also preferred. Achieve this by digging a good 3in (8cm) layer of compost into the top 8in (20cm) of soil. The site should be free from perennial weeds (bindweed, couch grass and ground elder) because these are a swine to remove once your tree is established.
To plant, dig a hole that’s at least as deep and twice as wide as the rootball of your tree. If it’s container-grown, tease out any congested roots. If it’s a bare-root plant, spread the roots evenly over the planting hole base.
Ensure that, once backfilled, the planting depth will be the same as it was in the pot or field (bare-root plants should have a soil mark on the stem), then gradually work your soil and compost mix into the hole.
Firm gently with your heel, then knock in a low, angled stake and tie your tree to it (this should be kept in place for at least three years, longer for dwarf trees). After a final water in, your tree should be well on its way to many happy harvesting years.
Make sure the planting depth is the same as it was in the pot or field