How do you plant a fruit tree?

Harvesting and tasting your own fruit at the base of the tree is an incomparable pleasure.

You have a little space in your garden, Consider planting a fruit tree.. or better yet several!

But before we see how to plant a fruit tree, let’s think about the types that can be planted in your home…

Which fruit trees to plant?

The region where you live will have to determine your choicesKinds fruit trees (an olive tree is adapted to the Mediterranean climate, let alone to cold Nordic weather…) varieties (old breeds that are well established and adapted to the region will be chosen as priority).

Look for old orchards near you, inquire with the owners… you can discover real varietal richness!

Small nurseries with a passion for their trade will also be able to give you the best advice on the choice of species and varieties adapted to your home (avoid the big brands that sell alone, etc.).

l’available space, is also an important criterion for the choice of fruits to plant. Small trees (peach trees) should be 3 to 4 m apart, trees with medium development (apple trees, pear trees, plum trees, persimmons, etc.): 5 to 8 m and trees with strong development (walnut, cherry trees) from 10 to 15m.

Imagine your cherry tree in 20 or 30 years. Will there be enough space? don’t his roots risk lifting a slab?

What to choose: grafted tree or not? 1 year old scion, tree formed? Low-stem, half-stem or high-stem?

Some fruits can be sown directly, faithfully representing the varietal type; This is the case, for example, with vineyard peaches or certain types of plums or walnuts. Direct seeding provides good initial conditions for development by eliminating the trauma of transplanting. Do not hesitate to sow the pit of a peach offered by a neighbor that will have delighted you.

But in general, pome fruit species, but also many stone species, can only be propagated by grafting.

Of course you can do the grafting yourself, but that’s another topic.

There remains the purchase of scions or trees formed in low, half or high trunk:

the scions (1 year old graft trees) are inexpensive and recovery is easier. The gardener will have to prune it (or not) and give it the shape he wants. A tree from a scion will produce its first fruits on average 3 years later than an already formed tree (normal, it is 3 years younger…) but will often behave better over time (more resistant, longer productive…)

trees sold ready to produce are therefore already formed in low, half or high stem. These trees are more than 3 years old after grafting and their recovery will be more difficult. Plus, they cost a lot more…certainly, we’ll have fruit sooner…but I don’t think we’ll win in the long run.

When to plant a fruit tree?

Vine peach tree planted near the house

Many readers tell me that they planted a fruit tree in late spring or mid-summer… and are surprised that it dies…

So yes, it is definitely more pleasant to garden in the summer…

But now is not the time to plant a fruit tree. The high temperatures and lack of water then simply risk destroying the chances of recovery.

Vegetative rest (i.e. from the end of autumn to the end of winter) is undoubtedly the best time to plant a fruit tree.

Traditionally, we plant on Saint Catherine (November 25), obeying the ancient sayings “All wood takes root at Sint-Catharina”.

And it is certainly a very good period; however, the exact date is, I think, of little importance…

However, it seems appropriate to plant in waning moon, period of the lunar cycle when the sap retreats to the roots.

Also plant fruit trees fruit day (see the lunar calendar of the month).

An ideal business cycle would also include a growing moon phase (from new moon to full moon)…

Preparing to plant fruit trees

  • A good month before planting, dig a hole that is wide (50 cm to 1 m for an already well-developed tree) and 50 to 70 cm deep. Lay the topsoil on one side and the (often heavier) soil from the depths on the other.
  • put some mature or semi-ripe compost (or a commercial organic fruit fertilizer) at the bottom of the hole. Mix with a little soil.
  • Form a small mound in the center of the hole. You spread the roots of the tree over this hill.
  • Set up a stake (this will prevent the roots from being injured with the stake if it is planted after the tree).

Learn more about fertilizing fruit trees

Plant a fruit tree

  • Cut off the damaged roots neatly just before planting. If that is possible, praline the roots in a slurry of clay soil, fertilizer and water. This pralination promotes recovery.
  • Plant the fruit tree outside the frost period, preferably on a nice, slightly cool but sunny day…
  • Spread the roots on either side of the mound.
  • First cover with deep soil (set aside when the hole was dug) mixed with a little compost.
  • Fill the hole with topsoil also mixed with compost.
  • Keep the root neck or grafting tip just above soil level.
  • Grab with your feet just around the plant.
  • Water abundantly after planting, even if it rains.
  • chopping wood.

Many cut off the scions when planting… Not me! The formation of fruit trees, this is undoubtedly the subject of a future article… See you soon.

Your comments and encouragement are always a pleasure.

Come on, I’ll let you plant a fruit tree in your yard (well, when it’s the right time to do it…).

And if you need advice, specific and adapted to your growing conditions, for planting or maintaining your fruit trees, click here.