Plant fruit trees

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

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

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