Planting Fruit Trees
Planting fruit trees should be done while the trees are dormant. We like to plant them in February to Early March in the Mid-South. Not only will the trees be dormant but the bucks will not be rubbing trees. Just be sure to check with your supplier that the trees have not budded out when they ship. They can also tell if they are about to bud out. Plant in full or nearly full sun. The tree may do well in the shade but the tree needs direct sun to produce fruit.
These instructions will be for trees from about 1/2″ to 2″ in diameter when planting.
First we obtain soil from an established wooded area preferrably along the banks of a small stream even if it is a wet weather stream. Soil from a wooded area will have the mycorrhiza present that will work with your new trees. This is a small soil organism that aids in tree fertilization uptake and is free for the labor. This can be gathered in buckets (hopefully carried by a UTV or ATV) or put in a tractor front bucket or UTV rear bed or even your pickup bed. Keep this soil loose and even mix in a bag of potting soil if the organic matter is not naturally high. For each 5 gallon bucket of soil add a 1/2 yogurt cup of our fertilizer and 2 cup fulls of lime. Mix all of this thoroughly. This will be soil material to replace rock, non top soil, or otherwise less than ideal soil when you refill the hole dug for the fruit trees.
When digging the hole for the soil save good topsoil to one side and the other soil material in a different pile. Your soil dug out and the pot or soil material that comes with the tree will need to be fertilized and limed (assuming that you are not planting in a limed field then skip this step) lightly. Mix your prepared soil with the topsoil that came out of your hole if any. Be sure to fertilize lightly. One way is to just put the fertilizer that fits in the palm of your hand on the new planting. Fertilize out to the drip line of the newly planted tree.
Dig your hole about twice the size of the root ball or pot if your trees come that way or deeper than the bare root and 3 times wider than the bare root tree width of roots. Place the soil line at the same height as the soil line from the nursery. If your soil is loose you might want to place soil material slightly higher on the trunk soil nursery line. This will allow for the settling of the loose soil.
We mulch with fine black mulch. The mulch is placed thin around the trunk for about 12″ diameter and then we bank up the mulch as a rim around the outside. See picture for this. A protection tube should be placed on the tree at planting. In addition, we water with enough water to wet the soil and mulch that is around the tree but not to the point of soaking. This helps if the tree buds out in a few days after planting.
Plant fruit trees about 20′ apart in each direction. Dwarf trees can be planted 15′ on center. Pecan and chestnut trees (We can give you a price to order) should be planted 30′ apart.
We plant new wildlife orchards in a perennial food plot containing chicory and clover. Keep the clover and chiory from growing within the mulched area.
Plant a variety of fruit trees and use trees that stagger the fruit production period.
Picture is a pear tree that fruited the second year.