Fruit Tree FAQs

We get asked questions about growing fruit trees every year by novice and experienced gardeners alike. Here are some of our frequently asked fruit tree questions and our answers:

How do I plant my new fruit tree?

Dig a hole roughly approximately twice the width and depth of the root ball of your plant. If you find any clay when digging we recommend adding in some clay breaker – this will help break it down and prep the soil for your tree. Mix compost and sheep pellets or poultry compost into the soil. Give your fruit tree a soak in a bucket of seaweed tonic to help prevent transplant shock. Place your tree into the hole, fill soil back up, and gently compact around your tree. Stake your tree as soon as it is planted. It can take a few years for a fruit tree to anchor itself so be sure to replace your stakes whenever they fall over for the next few years.

How do I care for my tree once it’s planted?

Your fruit trees will have a better chance of fighting off pests, disease, insects, etc if it is healthy. Make sure you are watering regularly and deeply (particularly over the summer months) to ensure you have juicy fruit. Feed your fruit trees with a citrus and fruit tree fertiliser once in spring and a second time in summer.

Can I grow fruit trees in containers?

Absolutely! We recommend choosing dwarf fruit trees for pots to help keep them contained and a manageable size. The biggest issue you will face growing in pots vs the garden is that your soil will dry out quicker, especially in warm or windy weather. Consider using water-absorbing crystals such as Saturaid in your pot to help retain the moisture your tree needs. It is also a good idea to apply a layer of mulch, we like Tui Mulch & Feed, to help conserve the moisture in the soil and protect the roots from temperature fluctuations.

Can I use any soil to plant my fruit tree in?

Your fruit trees require rich and fertile soil in order to grow well. They particularly hate heavy, clay-based soils. If you are planning to plant your tree in a spot with heavy soil we recommend adding Garden X Compost and sheep pellets to help enrich the soil.

Do I need to prune my fruit tree?

We do recommend giving your fruit tree a good prune! Pruning your fruit tree helps to remove damaged wood and thin out branches, allowing more light in and encouraging new growth. Check out our guide to pruning fruit trees here.

My fruit falls off before it is ripe!

This can be caused by poor nutrition or a lack of water. To manage this we recommend feeding your fruit tree with high-quality fertiliser such as Tui NovaTec Premium or Tui Enrich Fruit, Tree and Shrub controlled release fertiliser which is perfect for fruit trees in pots. We also recommend mulching to assist with water retention. Be sure you are watering your trees deeply and regularly especially through the summer months.

Are there specific pests or diseases to look out for?

In winter your tree may start to grow moss or lichen, to control this we recommend using a lime sulphur spray (this will also help with leaf fall.) As the buds form during the springtime it is best to keep an eye and spray with copper about a week before the flowers open. If you are using chemical sprays on your tree it is essential you know the ‘withholding period’. This is the period of time that must pass between when you spray and when you harvest (it will be on the label of the spray). If you spot any of the above, or if you see anything out of the ordinary come in and have a chat with our in-store experts. Where possible try to bring a picture in to help our team identify the problem and come up with a solution.