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Growing Guide: How to Plant a Fruit Tree

How and When to Plant Your Fruit Tree and When to Harvest

You can plant a fruit tree any time the ground isn’t frozen, but the best times are early Spring and Fall. Dig a hole large enough to hold the root system and just deep enough so that the ‘bud union” (the bulged section at the base of the tree) remains 1 ½ to 2 inches ABOVE the surrounding ground level for all dwarf and semi-dwarf trees.. Do not plant the bud union below the ground, as that will encourage “scion rooting,” resulting in your tree becoming standard or full sized.

You can plant a fruit tree any time the ground isn’t frozen, but the best times are early Spring and Fall. Dig a hole large enough to hold the root system and just deep enough so that the ‘bud union” (the bulged section at the base of the tree) remains 1 ½ to 2 inches ABOVE the surrounding ground level for all dwarf and semi-dwarf trees.. Do not plant the bud union below the ground, as that will encourage “scion rooting,” resulting in your tree becoming standard or full sized.

Fill in half the hole with the soil you dug from it (break up the clumps). Then fill the hole to the top with water. When the water has settled, fill the rest of the hole with the remainder of the soil. It is helpful to form a 2 or 3 inch circular dam around the tree. This will allow the rain and irrigation water to drip into the ground gradually, rather than running off.

For the first season, be sure to water your tree once a week, if it hasn’t rained. Don’t let it dry out. Remember, during the first year the roots are expanding and spreading. This gives your tree good anchorage and creates the feeding system that helps the tree produce ample fruit. After the first year, you probably won’t need to irrigate the tree, except in periods of exceptional dry spells.

Harvest fruit when it is properly ripe and enjoy as soon as possible. Fruit always ripens best while still on the stem. If you plan on storing your fruit you should pick it just a little before its peak ripeness. A great way to make good use of your harvest is to preserve it in jellies, jams or freezing. Properly preserved fruit can be enjoyed for up to a year!

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