Bare Root Fruit Tree Planting in Northern California


From the grapes that make California wines so popular, to Gravenstein apples and apricots, Northern California is home to some of the tastiest fruit on the market. Northern California lies in the area north of the Tehachapi mountains and contains some of the most fertile agricultural land in the U.S. You will have no trouble growing fruit trees in Northern California if you get them off to a good start with proper planting. It is important to not let the roots dry out prior to getting them in the ground.

Step 1

Determine the site requirements for the type of fruit tree you are planting and decide where in the garden to place the tree. Some fruit trees, such as apricots, will benefit from being planted in an area of the garden that is a little cooler, while others should be kept out of low-lying areas where frost pockets can form. The further north you live in Northern California the more you will need to be concerned about frost pockets.

Step 2

Place the fruit tree's roots in a large bucket and cover them with water. Allow the root ball to soak for 24 hours.

Step 3

Look for the soil ring near the lower end of the fruit tree's trunk. This indicates the depth at which the tree was growing in the nursery. Dig a hole to that depth and three times the diameter of the rootball.

Step 4

Use a pitchfork or shovel to scrape the walls and the bottom of the hole. This will allow for easier penetration of the fruit tree's roots.

Step 5

Place a mound of soil on the bottom of the hole. Remove the tree from the bucket and spread the roots over the mound. Adjust the tree so that the bud union (a small knob on the lower part of the trunk, indicating where the tree was grafted onto the stock) is facing north and will be 3 inches above the surface of the soil when planted.

Step 6

Fill the hole halfway with soil and then fill it with water from the hose. When the water drains, fill it the rest of the way with soil. Press around the base of the tree with your hands or feet.

Step 7

Prune the top off the tree if it is under 4-feet tall. Cut it back to 3 feet, to within 1/2 inch of a bud. If there are other branches or twigs, trim 1/2 inch from each.

Step 8

Water the tree until the water puddles. When the water drains, spread a 3-inch layer of mulch, 2 inches from the tree's trunk, in a 2-foot radius around the fruit tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pitchfork
  • Mulch


  • Sandy Bar Ranch & Nursery: Caring For Bare Root Fruit Trees
  • Sonoma County Master Gardeners: Bare Root Fruit Trees
Keywords: Northern California gardening, plant fruit tree, bare root tree

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, providing writing services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.