Planting Fruit Trees

When planting fruit trees, certain steps must be taken to assure adequate drainage. After excavating a hole twice as wide and 1 ½ times the depth of the container, you’ll need to line the bottom and the sides of the hole with a mixture of compost and existing earth (if it’s usable), or with one of the pre-mixed preparations found at your local horticultural retailer’s. If the drainage is poor, you’ll need to dig deeper, install a geotextile and pour 15 centimetres of gravel that you’ll cover with another layer of geotextile before adding the prepared soil mixture.

25% Off CouponWhen lowering the tree into the hole, make sure that it’s not too deep. The large roots shouldn’t be covered with more than 10 centimetres of soil, as they draw their nourishment from the upper soil layers. The junction where a grafted branch meets the host tree must be above the ground level to prevent it roots from coming into contact with the humid ground.

Mulch can be spread around the tree as long as it’s not spread closer than 30 centimetres from the trunk. The mulch will hold humidity near the roots during summer heat waves, while preventing the proliferation of weeds. A stake may be necessary if the tree is exposed to strong winds.


Fruit trees don’t have a great appetite for fertilizer if they’re planted in soil that contains the essential nutritional elements for balanced growth. Unfortunately, in urban areas the soil often lacks these elements, so a minimum of fertilizer should be part of then plan.

Horticultural retailers offer, according to your needs, a full range of fertilizers in the form of granules, or in soluble or stick form.

Granular fertilizers

Granular fertilizers are sold in completely natural or synthetic formulations that are applied once per year, as they’re slow-release i.e., the outer shell of the granules decomposes slowly and, over time and depending on the thickness, releases the fertilizer contained therein.

This method has the advantage of feeding a tree over a long period of time that produces excellent results that may not be very visually perceptible.

In the spring, spread fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. It can also be added to the soil by digging holes around the tree’s outside bark layer and pouring it in. If you employ this method every year, make sure to refrain from using the same holes as, over time, the root system, attracted by the fertilizer pockets, won’t develop uniformly.

Soluble fertilizers

Soluble fertilizers can be divided into two categories, synthetic, powdered fertilizers, very effective, and natural, liquid fertilizers (fish emulsions, marine algae, etc.). Both types are fast acting and water-soluble i.e., since water is the transportation medium to the tree roots and is absorbed rapidly, the effects are almost instantaneous.

On the other hand, due to the product’s rapid absorption, it needs to be reapplied every two to four weeks according to the manufacturer’s product. If you employ this method and the soil is hard, you’ll need to dig holes near the trunks to allow the fertilizer to gain access to the roots.

Fertilizer sticks

Sticks are an excellent way to fertilize as, to work, they need to be buried in the soil and thus, suffer no loss of active ingredients. They act slowly and provide nutrients for sixty days, which is quite sufficient for a healthy fruit tree.

Use 25 millimetre (1-inch) trunk sticks and, to assure uniform root growth, place them under the exterior tree crown making sure to avoid, from year-to-year, inserting new ones in the same old holes.

Sticks can be used in the spring as soon as the ground thaws or in the very late fall for fast action in the following spring.
Whatever method you choose, it’s important to state that all fertilizers (particularly those containing high nitrogen levels) must, at the least, be absorbed by the cultivar before the end of July, in order for it to begin the lignification (turning into wood) process. This extremely important process takes place in the period where the plant hardens its branches to resist the rigours of winter. Make sure that you’re aware of the fertilizer’s release duration before application.

Also be careful when spreading nitrogen-rich fertilizers on the lawn. These fertilizers, once absorbed into the fruit tree, become a redundant food source that will spur sucker growth and hamper fruit growth. Therefore, it’s preferable to avoid spreading these fertilizers near trees.

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 5:17 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] your choice is made, it’s time for planting. For solid advice on the subject, please read the Planting Fruit Trees article. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Olio NuovoThe Joshua TreeFruit […]

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