How to plant a fruit tree orchard

There is a luxury to being able to pick fruit from your own backyard.  Spring is the best time to plant fruit trees.  This allows them to get established and gain strength before the winter.

potted fruit trees

The first step is to select the tree and location.  You will want to make sure that the tree will be in a sunny location and that there are no nearby trees that will grow up and shade it over time.  Your tree will probably come with information on its mature width and planting distance between other fruit trees.  This orchard is being laid out for three cherry trees, two peaches, two plums, two apricots and two nectarines.  These instructions for how to plant a fruit tree orchard apply to apple and pear trees, as well.


Next you will want to mark the location of each tree you are planting.  Use a measuring tape to mark the distance between trees.  Place stakes or flags in the ground as you go.  Take note of the mature canopy widths of each tree and measure accordingly.  If you are planting two trees will be 12 feet in diameter at maturity, they will need to be a little bit more than12 feet from each other to accommodate each of their canopies.  The photo below shows pink flags and then the pots were placed along side the.

mark tree placement for orchard

Once you have your layout complete, start digging the hole.

start digging the hole for a fruit tree

Make sure that it is wide enough to accommodate the root ball or the bare roots and as deep as the root ball.

remove soil

This can be checked by setting the pot right into the hole.

Check the root ball depth for a fruit tree

Gently remove the tree from its pot and loosen some of the soil around the root ball.  Check depth of the graft union (the graft union is the knee like knot in the trunk of the tree where the variety of fruit is grafted onto the rootstock).  In the photo below it is just above the shovel laid level across the hole.

check graft union depth for a fruit tree

Replace soil back into the hole, breaking up any clumps.

loosen root ball and plant fruit tree

Gently firm the soil on top by stepping in the soil around the tree.

gently step in tree soil

Keep all the roots covered and add more soil as necessary.

Last, give each tree a good, deep watering.  Check them daily in dry weather and keep them watered well.  This will encourage the roots to grow strong and deep.

how to plant a fruit tree


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