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How to Plant New Fruit Trees in Florida

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How to Plant New Fruit Trees in Florida

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Overview

Although mostly known for its citrus crops, Florida can support tropical fruits, berry bushes, grape or fig vines and deciduous fruits like peaches and plums. Gardeners can enjoy a varied fruit orchard in their backyard no matter where they live in Florida. Purchase either full-sized or dwarf fruit trees; dwarf trees can grow in containers or in the ground. All fruit trees perform best in full sun and well-draining soil.

Step 1

Purchase a container or bare-root fruit tree in spring or in fall, selecting a tree from the lists provided by the University of Florida (see Resources). The recommended trees grow well in Florida, though some trees need a warmer climate than others. Avoid planting in summer because it's too hot.

Step 2

Test the soil pH in your yard using a home kit, which requires you to take a soil sample and apply a pH color change strip to the soil. Follow the test instructions to determine your soil pH. Then check to see the preferred pH range of the tree you want to plant. Johnson Nursery notes that peaches and nectarines prefer a pH of 6.5 to 7, pomegranates need soil in the 5.5 to 7 range and citrus trees prefer a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. If you're not sure what the soil pH range is for your fruit tree, ask at your local nursery.

Step 3

Amend your soil's pH to the preferred range of your fruit tree. Use lime to raise the pH and sulfur to lower it, following the dosage amounts suggested by The Garden Helper (see Resources).

Step 4

Select a location that offers the fruit tree full sun and protection from wind. Make sure the location will support your tree when it matures; note the size of the mature tree on its plant tag.

Step 5

Soak a bare-root tree in water for at least one hour before planting. If the tree's roots have dried out, soak it for 12 to 24 hours before planting. If you have a container tree, skip this step.

Step 6

Dig a hole for your fruit tree that's twice the size of the tree's root ball. Remove rocks or weeds from the hole.

Step 7

Pull a container tree from its container and break apart the root ball with your fingers, unwinding tangled roots. Then place it in the hole at the same depth as it was planted. Remove a bare-root tree from its bucket of water and place it in the hole. Check to ensure the tree is straight.

Step 8

Cover over the hole with soil, pressing gently around the roots and trunk.

Step 9

Water the newly planted fruit tree until the soil becomes saturated with water.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil pH test kit
  • Bucket (optional)
  • Shovel

References

  • Arizona Master Gardening Manual: Fruit Trees--Planting and Varieties
  • Johnson Nursery: Fruit Trees
  • Food & Fertilizer Technology Center: Soil Management for Citrus Orchards
  • University of Florida: The Pomegranate

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Nursery List for Deciduous Fruit Trees
  • University of Florida: Fruitscapes
  • United States Hardiness Zone: Southeast Map
  • The Garden Helper: How to Test and Adjust Your Soil pH
Keywords: plant tree Florida, Florida fruit trees, planting fruit trees

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.