How to Plant Bare Root Fruit Trees

Apple Tree

Enjoy bountiful harvests year after the year by growing your own fruit trees. From large apple trees to patio pot pear trees, anyone can grow their own fruit. Since the proper planting is critical for long-term success, discover when and how to plant bare root fruit trees below.

When to Plant Fruit Trees

The best time to plant bare-root fruit trees is towards the end of winter or the first half of spring, once the ground is no longer frozen so it can be easily dug but before new growth starts.

How to Plant Fruit Trees

For optimal growth, it is essential that fruit trees are planted correctly. Follow our step-by-step planting tips below.

Upon delivery

Open the packaging and put your hand inside the bag. If the roots feel damp you need to do nothing for the time being. Keep them in the bag and check them daily – if they feel as if they are drying out take the trees out and dunk the roots in a bucket of water for a few minutes and then put them back in the bag. Until planting, store the trees in their bags in a cool place out of the sun and wind.

Steps for Planting
  1. Dig a hole about a spade’s depth and around 3ft (1m) wide. A square hole is better than a round one as it encourages the roots to push out into the surrounding ground.
  2. Add a few inches of compost and work it into the base of the hole using a garden fork. Make sure to mix the compost in amongst the regular soil.
  3. Place the tree in the centre of the hole and a cane across the hole so you can check that this line is level with the soil around your hole as trees shouldn’t be planted deeper or shallower than they were first grown.
  4. Remove the tree and put in a thick wooden stake a couple of inches from the centre of the hole and on the side where the prevailing wind comes from. Hammer this firmly into the ground.
  5. Place the tree back in the hole close to the stake and start to shovel the soil-and-compost mix back around the roots. Gently firm this in, being careful not to damage the roots. When it’s half full, pull the tree up an inch and then let it drop again as this helps the soil to fill in around the roots.
  6. Fix the tree to the stake with the tie, leaving enough room for the tree trunk to grow but not so much that it wobbles about. Also add a protective tube around the trunk if animals are a problem.
  7. Water the soil well to stop the roots drying out and to further settle the soil around them.

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