Fruit trees and shrubs may be grown in large groups in an orchard, or they may be grown singly or in pairs in the home. Fruit trees and shrubs planted in the home may be used as decorative ornamentals in spring, when they produce fragrant blossoms. The fruit can later be harvested for use in making jams, jellies and pies. The health and vigor of a fruit tree is largely dependent on the way it is planted, and the care given immediately after.
Determine which fruit you would like to plant in your home. Hearty fruit plants may not survive tropical summers in warmer regions, while tropical plants may not survive the harsh winters of northern latitudes. Additionally, early bearing stone fruits may not do well in areas that receive late-season frosts. Although the tree will thrive, it will fail to bear fruit. Select a fruit plant with a history of good production for your area. Dwarf tree varieties or shrub varieties are good choices for home gardens, as the trees are easy to harvest.
Select a location for your fruit plant that receives full sun and has good drainage. To prevent future problems, the location should not be near a home or beneath power lines.
Test your soil to determine its structure, nutrient content and pH. While most fruit trees grown in the United States prefer a neutral pH range, some fruits plants--such as blueberry--thrive best in slightly acidic soil. A soil test can help you adjust your soil to the conditions needed for each fruit plant. Most state agricultural colleges maintain a soil testing facility in conjunction with their continuing education service. You can submit a soil sample for testing through your local county extension service.
Break up your soil to a depth of 12 inches with a rototiller. The soil should be improved over a wide area to prevent a potted plant effect in which the tree's roots will not develop past the area where the soil's nutrient structure was improved. Remove all debris from the area such as sticks, rocks and roots of past plants.
Spread soil amendments over the top of your soil in a 4-inch layer. Good amendments for all fruit plants include organic material--such as compost and peat moss. Heavy clay soil can be broken up with gypsum. The soil's pH can be raised with lime, or lowered with sulfur. Mix these amendments into the soil with a rototiller.
Dig a planting hole twice as wide as the root ball, but no deeper. Spread the roots throughout the planting hole, taking care to not allow the roots to bend in a "J" shape or wrap around the plant. Cover the roots with soil and water to dislodge any air pockets. Fill in any air pockets with more soil.
Mulch around the roots of your plants with a 4-inch layer of wood chips to prevent grass from becoming established and competing for water and fertilizer. To avoid diseases, do not pile mulch around the trunk of the tree.
Space multiple trees apart to promote good circulation.