HOW TO PLANT A FRUIT TREE
A guide for beginners
Preparing the site
Dig a hole large enough to take the roots. Size will vary according to the type of tree and whether it is bare root or pot grown. 18-24 inches is usually enough. Discard the top layer/turves and keep the subsoil. Break it up well and chip away at the sides of the hole to loosen the surrounding earth. This makes it easier for the new roots to spread out into the new soil and grow.
Planting the tree
If the tree is bare root trim back any broken roots and shake off loose soil If it is in a pot lossen the outer compost just a little so that the rootball does not become institutionalised in the new hole. Set the tree in the hole and make sure the grafting pojint will sit just above the soil level. The grafting point is usually easily identified as a bulge or kink in the stem, or a scar, usually a few inches above the roots. If in doubt just make sure the uppermost roots are covered by about 2 inches of soil.
Make sure the tree is straight and then infill with the topsoil you saved.Make sure it fills all the cracks between the roots as you don’t whan any air pockets. Firm well as you go and finish up so the soil is level with the surrounding soil.
Water it in well, even if it is winter. This helps settle the soil around the roots. If it is summer and a pot grown tree you will need to continue watering every day, or every other day if it rains, for the rest of the growing season.
It’s a good idea to stake unless the area is well enclosed or protected. Insert the stake about 15” away from the trunk and tie with a rubber tree tie. Or length of rubber strip.
For the sake of 60p a spiral plastic rabbit guard is a good investment to prevent damage from these and other rodents.
Mulch the tree
This helps conserve moisture and prevents weeds from growing around the tree. Well rotted manure, grass clippings, leaf mould or proprietary mulch mats can all be used.