If you live in zone 9, then you know that Spring is around the corner. Springtime is a great time to get some fruit trees in the ground. Planting these trees While it is still cool out will help with root production. You know our summers harsh. Therefore you need to make sure that new plants have had some time to establish themselves before that heat gets turned on high. As long as it is not a citrus tree, I prefer and always plant bare root trees. Bare root plants are plants in the dormant stage. These plants are usually dug up and kept chilled until its time to ship them. Theses plants weigh less and therefore are easier to mail across the country. Planting bare root fruit trees can seem intimidating but trust me it's not as hard as you may think. One of the main problems people have is overthinking the situation. Follow these basic guidelines, and you should do just fine.
- Research and purchase a variety the is specific to your area. Fruit trees need chill hours, hours where the average temperature is between 32F- 45F. On average, Every region gets a particular amount of chill hours. Research your USDA gardening zone; you will see the average amount of chill hours you receive. Match this number to the number of chill hours necessary for the tree that interest you. The chill hours needed vary between different varieties within the same species. For example, an Eva's Pride Peach only requires 150 chill hours making it suitable for many southern climates while O’Henry, Frost and Halford peach tree all need between 700-1000 chill hours. Not ideal for my gardening zone, 9A.
- Select the ideal location- well-drained soil, full sun and near other fruit trees
- Dig a hole wider and deeper than the root system. Keep in mind that the Graph node should be placed 2”-3” above the soil level. Do not discard the removed soil.
- Prune any broken or damaged roots
- Place tree in hole and adjust the orientation of the tree
- Backfill the hole with the native soil.
- Press down firmly on the freshly planted tree to help rid the planting hole of air pockets
- Apply compost and mulch to the newly planted tree
- Prune the tree. The species of the tree determines how to prune the tree. Prune apples and pears according to the style known as Central Leader Pruning. Prune stone fruits in an Open Center Style.
- Water plant vigorously. Make sure all soil around plant is moist
- Do not fertilize the day you plant, wait 2-4 weeks. Young, freshly transplanted roots are incredibly fragile and sensitive
- Mulch plants
- Water new plants deeply at least once a week. Never let the new young tree dry out
Once planted in the ground and moisture is added, the plant will begin to grow again. Planting fruit trees is the easy part, the hard work is the maintenance. Horticultural oil, fungicides, and insecticides will become your best friends. Don't worry there are organic approved options.