The key to successful back yard fruit trees all happens from now through the first summer so read the below CAREFULLY and follow.
THE DAY YOU BUY: Be sure that you keep the roots of your fruit trees well moistened between the time you pick it up and get it planted. Cover the roots with damp soil. You may also put them in a bucket of water but only for up to 24 hours.
1) Check you soil: If you have clay soil do the water test first. Dig a hole about a foot or so deep and fill it with water. After it drains fill it again. If it takes more than three hours your drainage is not good enough. Make a raised bed or build a raised box for planting. Go to davewilson.com for pictures. It's usually best to use your own soil. You can add a little mulch or some of our soil if your soil is really bad.
2) Make the hole: The hole for your fruit tree should be wide and deep enough that you can plant without bending the roots. It is ok to cust back a long root if needed. Average size will be about 1 ½ foot deep and the same width. It is ok to make your hole a little tapered in at the bottom. Make a little mound of soil in the center of the hole. Use your hands to tamp this mound until it is firm. Save the soil so that you can shovel it back in. If your soil is quite hard scrape the edges of the hole a little to make it easier for the roots to move out into the soil .
3) Place the tree: If you want to keep your tree at the new shorter style you will cut it off to just above your knees or about 3 feet. Center your tree above the mound turning your tree so that the graft union (the knot near the base, is facing north (away from the stake). See #6. Lower it until its roots rest on the mound of soil in the bottom of the hole. Check to be sure that the line on the trunk showing how deeply the tree was planted in the field is about an inch or two above the level of soil at the sides of the hole. Your tree will settle a little after you've planted it. Have somebody else hold the tree while you adjust the mound by adding or removing soil until the level is right.
4) Filling in around the tree: Begin placing additional soil in the hole until the roots are covered. Add water to settle the soil around the roots. Repeat the process, filling and watering, until the level of soil in the hole is equal to that of the surrounding ground, and the roots are covered. Planting too deeply can injure or kill your tree, so plant a little high rather than a little low.
5) Build a berm: Using any leftover soil, or soil brought from nearby, build a circular ridge (berm) surrounding a freshly-planted tree two feet away from the tree. This will hold water over the roots while it soaks into the soil. To ensure that your tree has enough water, very slowly pour about five gallons into the circle within the berm, and allow it to soak in. Make sure your berm holds water. Cover the area inside the berm with a 3-6" layer of wood chips or shredded bark mulch. Mulch is placed around plant to prevent water from evaporating, to insulate the roots from cold weather, to keep the soil from becoming too hot during the day, and to prevent water from evaporating so rapidly that the soil cracks and breaks fragile roots as it dries.
6) You will want to stake the tree: Using any kind of soft material, nail or tie it to the stake. Then make a loose figure 8 loop around the tree and the stake. Then tie the strip to the stake. Be sure that the tree can move a few inches back and forth in the wind. You can stake your tree now or wait until later but don't wait too long. One of my customers said that the second year she had so much fruit on one of her branches that the tree just split!
7) Protect trunk from sun: If you live where it is hot you may want to prevent sun damage to the trunk of your tree. Paint it up to the lowest branch with white latex paint, diluted with one part water to four parts paint. This is like Sunscreen for fruit trees.
Congratulations! You've finished!
Spraying and Pruning: When the time comes to prune your tree or if the need arises to spray for those "unwanted" visitors, here is link that will take you to some helpful hints.
You can choose the new lower tree style where all of the branches are easily available by pruning your new tree to 3 ft and then pruning again at the end of summer.
Sun (at least 6 hours per day)
Feeding and Watering:
Keep a berm around the tree and water deeply at intervals.
Season(s) Carried at Weidners:
Pre-order for bare root in Jan/Feb. Planted trees available spring until all are sold.
Container or ground?
Best in the ground.
The links below are to the instructions we give out at the nursery. This page contains additional and expanded information.