There are many types of fruit and within each fruit type, there are several varieties, so choosing what to grow is probably the most difficult part of the task. They also come in dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard sizes, so there is sure to be a fruit tree to fit your needs. Planting fruit trees is not that difficult and should be done as soon as the tree is purchased. Different varieties have special care and soil requirements, so make sure your nursery gives you care instructions with each tree you buy.
Dig a hole 18 to 24 inches deep, depending on the size of the tree. It should be a few inches wider than the root ball. Use a pitchfork to break up the bottom and side of the hole. This will allow the roots easier penetration.
Place about an inch of compost on the bottom of the hole. This will help with drainage and provide some nutrients for the roots while getting established.
Create a mound in the bottom of the hole for the roots to sit on. The size of the mound will depend on where the graft line is on the bottom of the tree trunk. The graft line should be a couple of inches above the top of the soil. To allow for soil settlement, the tree should rest with the graft line 3 to 4 inches above the surrounding ground.
Spread the roots gently and evenly over the mound. Cover about halfway up the roots with soil and water to compact the soil. Fill a few more inches and water again. Make sure the tree is straight. Continue until the soil is even with the surrounding ground and tamp it down with your foot.
Stake the tree if needed. Use rubber or fabric ties and tie loosely around the tree. This is only necessary if it is very windy in your area or you have very loose soil. Keep an eye on the ties as the tree thickens, so they do not become tight and damage the tree.
Mulch around the tree with grass clippings or leaf mulch. Keep the mulch a couple inches away from the trunk and do not mulch up past the graft. The mulch will help keep in the needed moisture as the tree's roots get established.
Water well immediately after planting and keep the soil moist until you see growth. Then refer to the care instructions on the type of fruit you're growing to see how frequently you should water.