Planting a fruit tree
'One generation plants the tree, another gets the shade' – so goes the Chinese proverb. The fruit trees you plant today will grow for many decades into the future, though luckily you don't have to wait till your kids take over to enjoy the fruit.
When choosing your tree, think carefully about where you hope to position it. Think about its ultimate size and spread and whether you're planting in the ground or hoping to grow in a pot. For many trees - for example apples or pears - it is possible to choose the variety you want AND the height and spread you'd like. Our plant team will be able to help you with this.
Other considerations include:
- Will my tree fruit in partial shade or will it need a sunny spot that's reasonably sheltered?
- When planting in the ground, the size of the pit is important. Make your pit a third wider than the rootball, and the same depth as the container the tree is growing in. Never plant the stem deeper than it is in the pot.
- Use a garden fork to lightly loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole to let the roots get through easily.
- Advice about staking varies, from those who want the tree to grow without support to those who favour double stakes. Have a chat with our plant team as the ultimate decision will be influenced by the conditions in your garden. If you do use a stake, make sure it is driven into the bottom of the pit to give stability.
- Now place the tree in the pit.
- Back-fill the hole with a good compost - we'd suggest a loam-based one such as John Innes No 3 - treading it in gently as you go so the tree is well anchored in the soil, and the roots make good contact so they can absorb water and nutrients.
- Water thoroughly, so the moisture sinks right down into the root zone, and top with a nice deep mulch of well-rotted farmyard manure, pulled back from the trunk so it doesn't encourage rotting.
- If you're using a stake, now's the time to tie the tree to the stake with a rubber tree tie. You'll find these in our garden centre: use it in a figure-eight between tree and stake to prevent rubbing and allow the tree trunk to expand.
As always, the Merryhatton plant team will be delighted to offer you more information and advice about choosing and planting the best fruit trees for your family and garden.