Growing fruit and nut trees is not difficult, although some nut trees take years before they will produce nuts. First, find out what types of fruits and nuts grow best in your area; your local nursery can advise you.
Finding the Right Tree
Shop for your tree in late winter or early spring. Don't wait until they are all picked over and the only ones left are too small or too large. You want your tree to be at least two years old, and anywhere from 3 to 5 feet tall. These trees will transplant and start growing much faster than larger ones. If they are too small, they probably won't transplant very well. The larger trees cost more and are hard to handle. They don't grow as vigorously as medium-sized trees, either.
Pruning Your Tree
When a fruit or nut tree is pulled up and the root ball is placed in burlap for the nursery to sell, about half of the root system is lost. Counteract this root loss by pruning off about half of the top of the tree. Some nurseries will do this for you, but it is not a difficult if they don't. Start with any branches that look broken or unhealthy. Use sharp pruning shear and take it off clean. Then, cut branches that are crossed over other branches. Leave four or five strong branches around the trunk that will serve the tree well. It won't take long to see new growth.
Place your new tree's root ball in a bucket of water for about 24 hours. Dig a hole in well-draining soil about twice the width of the root ball. If your soil does not drain well, plant the tree on a ridge so the water will drain down away from the tree. The plant should end up in the hole at the same level it was in the container you purchased it in; higher or lower will cause damage to the tree. Place the root ball in the hole and backfill about half way, or a little more. Water the tree in by soaking the soil you just placed in the hole. Press the soil in around the root ball. This will ensure there are no air pockets around the root ball that can grow bacteria and eventually kill your tree. Finish filling the hole and tamp it down by hand. Water again and fill as the soil settles. You do not need to fertilize when planting, but mulching with straw or mulch that's high in nitrogen will give the tree some nutrition, and keep away weeds that could take water and energy away from the tree. If you don't mulch, be sure to pull the weeds every day or two. Plant both fruit and nut trees after the last threat of frost is over.