Planting the fruit tree in the correct season is an essential part of establishing its healthy life span. Taking the appropriate steps to establish the tree will determine not only the amount of fruit the tree will produce but how long the tree will produce. With a little preparation, the tree can be easily planted and well on its way to many years of quality fruit production.
Select a planting location for the fruit tree. Observe the planting location closely and choose a location that provides at least six to eight hours of full, direct sunlight each day. Ensure that the location provides ample clearance for a growing tree. Select a location that is free of power lines, fences and other obstructions that will block the tree’s light or drain its nutrient supply. Remove any grass, weeds or other growing vegetation from the area to avoid competition with the tree.
Complete a soil test in the late fall to determine the soil’s pH levels. Purchase a soil test from the local hardware or nursery retailer. Follow the directions of the soil test kit closely. Using clean tools, dig a hole that is approximately 8 inches deep. Remove an inch of soil from the ground. Use the removed soil to complete the test.
Read the results closely to determine the pH levels. Make the appropriate soil adjustments during the fall to prepare for the upcoming spring planting. Lower soil pH levels by incorporating sulfur into the soil. Increase pH levels by incorporating lime in to the soil. Increase nitrogen levels with fertilizers that are high in nitrogen, using a slow-release, granular selection.
Begin the planting process in the early spring just after the final frost. Ensure that the soil is not compacted. Take steps to loosen any compacted soil in the planting area prior to planting. Lay the tree on its side and gently comb out the tree’s root system. Trim away any damaged or broken roots from the root system. Dig a hole for the tree that has a depth that is equivalent to the depth of the root ball with a width that is at least twice as wide as the fruit tree’s root spread. Do not add fertilizer in the hole.
Position the sapling in the center of the prepared hole while ensuring that the fruit tree’s graft union rests approximately 2 to 4 inches above the surface. Spread the root system gently throughout the hole. Fill the hole with the removed soil and gently press the soil around the base of the tree to promote an upright position. Make sure that there are no roots showing at the surface. The fruit tree’s final surface should be slightly elevated, resting higher than the surrounding surface. Water the newly planted fruit tree thoroughly to ensure proper settling and hydration.