How to grow fruit trees
Planting full size or miniature fruit trees is a wonderful way to invest in your garden’s future. To help you get your plants off to the very best start, here’s a brief guide to planting and caring for fruit trees.
When to plant fruit trees
If you’re transplanting potted trees into the ground, you can do this at any time of year but autumn and early spring are best. Bare root trees arrive during the plants’ dormant period between December and March and whether you’re planting an apple tree, plum tree or any other fruit tree, you should aim to plant bare roots as soon as possible. Just soak the roots in a bucket of tepid water for an hour or two to rehydrate them first.
To plant a tree, simply dig a hole that’s around 15cm wider in diameter than the root ball. The hole should be deep enough for you to plant the tree so that the soil comes to the same level on the stem as it did in the pot. Dig plenty of organic matter into the ground, plant and firm down well to remove air pockets, and water in.
When to prune fruit trees
Prune all your fruit trees, apart from members of the stone fruit – prunus family – during dormancy. Plums, cherries and other such fruit should be pruned in the summer to avoid silver leaf infection.
To prune your trees, remove dead, diseased, and damaged wood, and open the canopy to allow air to circulate freely. If you’re planning to train your trees to a fan, cordon, or espalier, prune during August through September for best results.
Overwhelmed by choice? Read our guide on selecting new fruit trees for a few handy tips.