FRUIT TREES - Planting tips

posted Feb 17, 2010, 11:14 PM by Michael Freeman   [ updated Feb 17, 2010, 11:15 PM ]
It is important to select the proper rootstock for the type of soil you have. Never buy a
fruit tree if you don’t know the rootstock.

Poor soil drainage is a very common cause of problems with fruit trees. Adding compost,
black dirt or sand to the planting hole doesn’t help. Raising the planting area by 12
inches or more would definitely help. Another solution would be to choose a rootstock
that would do well in heavy clay soil.

If you are planting in heavy clay soil, I would recommend you dig a hole 12 inches
larger than the container. Add 1 shovel of well-composted manure or wood product to 3
shovels of clay. Mix this together before backfilling around the container. Make sure the
graft union is 2-3 inches above the grade of the existing soil. After backfilling, pack the
soil well around the plant and water slowly to fill in the hole an eliminate any air pockets
in the soil. After the first initial watering, be very careful not to fill the hole with water
again. Water sparingly! Automatic irrigation is very hard on newly planted trees.

Most fruit trees should not require stakes when they are planted. There again, this will
depend on the rootstock and whether or not it will need staking.

Fruit trees should not require fertilization at planting time. A soil test would be helpful to
determine this. If the soil is deficient in phosphorus, you can add a cupful of steamed
bone meal or 0-45-0 fertilizer to the bottom of the planting hole, mix it with a shovel of
soil, and plant your tree. Never add fertilizer containing nitrogen, potassium or boron to
the planting hole.

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