Hi Emma, autumn/early winter is the best time of the year to get the deciduous fruit trees planted. This will allow the plant time to settle in and get their roots established before taking off at the earliest sign of spring.
To ensure the tree gets the best start, below are some helpful hints to follow when planting:
When buying new fruit trees you will find that when you take the plant out of the bag all the soil will fall off, this is perfectly normal as the trees have been grown “in the field” then dug up put into a bag with soil to ensure the roots don’t dry up in transit from the grower to you.
Dig a hole that will comfortably fit the root circumference of the tree but ensuring the hole is not too deep. It is important not to plant the tree any deeper than it was when it is was in the bag, preferably a little higher. If you are planting in heavy soils (e.g. clay) plant even higher again so it almost looks like you have planted on a little mound. It is important that water runs away from the tree. This will prevent the tree from getting waterlogged.
Mix Palmers General Garden Mix with the soil that comes out of the hole. It is important that these two get mixed well, this way the tree grows into a mix that is not too dissimilar to what it has been in. Using only garden mix will make it grow quickly for the first year but struggle after this, planting in existing soil will make it harder to get established. You can also mix in some sheep pellets as this will help with the soil quality and growth in spring. Ensure the soil goes around all the roots, especially if the soil that the tree was in has fallen off. Gently compact this soil as you fill the hole around the tree.
It is important that you use a good stake on the windward side of the tree (2”X2” pointed stake is recommended). In a really windy position it might pay to do a triangle of stakes to support the tree. It is important for the first 3 years that the trunk of the tree doesn’t move around as this will break off the new roots it is trying to develop.
Finish off planting by spreading some of the garden mix around the tree to keep weeds and grass away from the trunk. There shouldn’t be a need to prune a new fruit tree for the first year.
Finally, it is important to give the plant a good drink and this will remove any air pockets in the soil. We would recommend adding one of the BioGro certified fertilisers too as this will help improve the soil quality and ensure the tree gets that perfect start, guaranteed!!
Thanks, the Palmers team
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