Planting a fruit tree is very easy. The hardest part is choosing what variety to grow if your space is limited. Once you have chosen your tree, follow the simple planting steps to enjoy your own homegrown, fresh, organic fruit.
- Dig a square hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball of the tree.
- Using the soil that came out of the hole, add 1 part cow manure or organic compost to 3 parts soil and mix in well. Note: If the soil from the hole is mainly clay base, mix 50/50 with sandy loam or chopped garden straw and combine well before adding compost.
- Place up to half of the composted soil back in the hole, making sure to create a small mound in the middle. Note: Trim off any broken or damaged roots before placing in the hole.
- Position the tree in the centre of the hole, making sure all the roots are spread out evenly and over the mound. Make sure the graft, which is generally 30–40cm above the root ball, is not sitting below the soil surface. The graft should be positioned about 20cm above the ground surface.
- Holding the tree steady, backfill the hole with soil. Don’t press the soil down with your foot. Using your hands, gently press down the soil to stabilise the tree in the soil.
- Create a well around the tree about 3–5cm lower than the surrounding garden. This will retain any water given to the tree and prevent runoff.
- Water the tree with about 9 litres or 1 bucket of water. This will also help remove all air pockets from the soil.
- Apply garden straw or mulch over the surface and add another 9 litres of water to moisten the mulch as well.
Tip: If your area is prone to high winds, use two garden stakes at opposite ends of the tree and tie in a figure-of-eight configuration. This will keep the tree from uprooting and help stabilise it as it grows new roots.