Fruit trees can grow very well in the state of Mississippi as long as the grower understands how to address the unique environmental factors for successful growth and fruit yield. The soil in Mississippi can have subsoils of hard clay or sand that will have poor water drainage. In addition, Mississippi has a large insect population, making it necessary to be vigilant about pest control to avoid damage and disease. Even with these conditions, it is still possible to have much success with a variety of fruit trees. For example, peach, pear and apple trees are proven to do well with proper maintenance.
Choose a location for your fruit tree that has red or yellow soil. With a soil test kit, determine if it has the proper pH levels and nutrients. For example, peach trees require a pH level between 6.0 and 6.5. Add any necessary nutrients indicated by the soil test.
Prepare the soil in the fall season by loosening and turning the soil with a tiller or hoe. You can add needed nutrients during this process to give them time to fully absorb into the soil before planting your fruit tree.
Plant your fruit tree between mid-December and mid-February. Cut away any broken roots sparingly. With a shovel, dig a hole large enough to accommodate the fruit tree's entire root system. Place a small amount of soil in the bottom of the hole and place the tree inside. Add soil until the roots are barely covered and pour in enough water to get the soil wet and settled. Finish adding the soil so that the fruit tree is buried deeper than it was at the nursery.
Spray around your newly planted fruit tree with chemical weed killer to keep the tree from having to compete for moisture and nutrients. This will also lessen insect presence.
Monitor the fruit tree for the presence of damaging insects. Contact your county extension office for help with pest identification to educate yourself on the types of insect problems known for your area of Mississippi. Infestations can change from season to season and it is important to stay informed so you can choose the proper pesticide product and method.
Add fertilizer during the month of February. The amount and type varies depending on the type of fruit tree and its age. For example, the first year, a peach tree will need approximately one pound of 13-13-13 applied 6 to 8 inches away from the base of the tree.