How to Set Out Fruit Trees


You can grow some fruit trees even if your back yard is small, according to California Rare Fruit Growers. Consider the size your tree will reach when it is mature. For example, lemon trees remain compact, while grapefruit trees grow much larger. Planting dwarf varieties can reward you with plenty of fruit in a limited amount of space. You can achieve success with your fruit trees if you follow a few tips about proper planting from experienced growers.

Setting Out Fruit Trees

Step 1

Purchase a grafted fruit tree at your local nursery. Dwarf and semi-dwarf trees are grafted and produce sooner than full-size trees and take up less space. They also combine the best characteristics of two different varieties of the same fruit tree.

Step 2

Test your soil to determine its pH. Most fruit trees prefer a slightly acidic soil to grow their best, so if your soil pH is above or below 7.0, you will need to amend it. To raise your soil pH, add hydrated lime; to lower it, add sulfur.

Step 3

Dig organic materials such as rotten manure, compost or wet peat moss at least 8 inches into the soil before you plant. Also remove rocks and weeds from the planting area.

Step 4

Plant your fruit tree in early spring. Dig a planting hole slightly larger than the root ball of your tree. If you're planting a grafted variety, be sure to leave the graft 3 to 4 inches above the soil surface. Plant a full-sized tree about 2 or 3 inches deeper than it grew in its nursery pot. Backfill your planting hole only half way with the amended soil you dug out.

Step 5

Soak the root zone of your tree by running a garden hose at a slow to medium drip for up to one hour. Then finish filling in the hole with your amended soil and firm it down with your hands or a light step of your foot all around the tree's trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit
  • Lime or sulfur (optional)
  • Manure
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Shovel


  • Clemson University: Soil Acidity and Liming
  • North Carolina State University: Growing Apple Trees in the Home Garden
  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Backyard Orchard Culture
Keywords: fruit trees, planting gardening, apples peaches

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.