Twelve Steps to Successfully Planting Fruit Trees

If you're thinking of planting fruit trees, have a look here so you'll know how to do it right.

| September/October 1980

  • 065 planting fruit trees - heeling in
    "Heel in" your new tree—if you can't plant it right away—by placing it in a 45 degree angle trough. Cover the roots with soil to prevent them from drying out.  
    ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 065 planting fruit trees - placing the tree
    Put a little topsoil in the bottom of the hold and place the tree on the mound.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 065 planting fruit trees - underground vertebrate pest control
    If gophers, moles, and other subterranean vertebrate pests are a problem, line the hole with chicken wire.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 065 planting fruit trees - digging
    Dig a hole that slightly exceeds the width and depth of your tree's root cluster. Place topsoil and subsoil in separate piles.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 065 planting fruit trees - painting
    Apply white interior latex paint to the trunk to a point below first branch.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 065 planting fruit trees - filling the hole
    Put the rest of you topsoil in the hole, then subsoil on top of that.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 065 planting fruit trees - filling
    Finish filling the hold with subsoil. Build up a mound around the trunk and a shallow trench around the perimeter.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 065 planting fruit trees - staking
    Tie the tree to a stake for support if it has been grafted to dwarf or semi-dwarf rootstock.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 065 planting fruit trees - screening
    Set up a fence around the trunk about 24" high to protect it from rabbits, deer, cats, and puppies.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 065 planting fruit trees - mulching
    Surround the base of the tree with mulch - crushed rock, leaf mold, wood chips, or freshly cut grass if its free of herbicides.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • 065 planting fruit trees - heeling in
  • 065 planting fruit trees - placing the tree
  • 065 planting fruit trees - underground vertebrate pest control
  • 065 planting fruit trees - digging
  • 065 planting fruit trees - painting
  • 065 planting fruit trees - filling the hole
  • 065 planting fruit trees - filling
  • 065 planting fruit trees - staking
  • 065 planting fruit trees - screening
  • 065 planting fruit trees - mulching

Following these steps when planting fruit trees and with any luck your labors will bear fruit.

1. HEELING IN: If you aren't able to plant your tree as soon as you buy or receive it, you should "heel in" the newcomer. To do so, dig a trough—at a 45° angle—that's deep enough at its lower end to completely contain the tree's roots. Put the fruit-bearer-to-be in the trench, and cover its roots with soil. (This step isn't necessary if your tree has a wrapped soil ball around its roots when purchased.) The important thing is not to let the roots dry out!

2. PREWATERING: A full day prior to planting, thoroughly soak the area where the tree's hole is to be dug.

3. DIGGING: Measure the depth and width of the root cluster, then—separating the top soil and subsoil as you go—dig a hole that exceeds (slightly) those dimensions. When the pit is dug, rough up its sides with your shovel or fork (to give the plant places to grip as it spreads underground ... if this isn't done, the new growth may simply circle in the hole causing the plant to become rootbound).



4. VERTEBRATE PEST CONTROL: If gophers, moles, or the like are a problem in your area, you can line the pit—on its sides and bottom—with a "basket" made from chicken wire.

5. PLACING THE TREE: Build a small mound of loose topsoil in the bottom of the pit, and drape the spreading root structure over the hill. Turn the tree so that the bud union (if your tree has been grafted to a different, usually dwarf, rootstock) will be facing toward your area's prevailing winds ... and—if your locale is often visited by really hearty gusts—position the trunk to lean slightly into the wind.






Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters