Years ago, every home had a few fruit trees and berry bushes for baking or preserving. Today more and more home gardeners are adding fruits and berries back into their landscape and gardens for the same reason.
To make it easier and faster, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and small fruit trees are available in large containers ready to be planted. When selecting plants, be sure to check whether the type of fruit you’re growing is self-fruiting or whether you need to plant two different varieties to produce fruit. If you’re unsure, ask your Garden Center associate for help.
Fruit trees and berries like lots of sun and well-drained soil. Be sure to allow ample room for growth.
How to Plant Small Fruit Trees and Berry Bushes:
- Dig holes 2-3’ in diameter, depending on the size of the pot, and 18-24” deep. Remove any rocks from the soil and amend with organic matter.
- Fill the hole halfway with a mix of peat moss and soil.
- Use a hoe to mix the peat and the soil well and score the sides of the hole to encourage roots to move outward.
- Pull plants out of pots, center in holes, spread roots outward and then fill holes with the removed soil. Position trees so that the bump on lower trunk, called the graft, is above ground level.
- First, fill in around the roots with topsoil and pat firmly. Then, fill about half the hole with soil and add water until the soil gets muddy.
- Fill the hole with the remaining soil, making sure to leave a “dish” impression so the water runs toward the tree or bush.
- Water and mulch with 2” of compost. Follow the contours of the dish; do not mulch up the tree like a volcano or you risk killing the plant.
- Don’t fertilize at planting. Wait 4 weeks.
- If planting fruit trees, drive 1 or 2 stakes into the ground outside the root zone. Stake the tree using flexible tubing or strong twine.
Blueberries require acidic soil, high in organic matter, which is well-drained and moist. Test soil to be sure the pH level is 5 or lower. If not, lower the pH by digging ammonium sulfate or soil sulfur into the top 3” of soil. (See more on soil testing.) Mulch with 2” of wood chips or pine needles to keep shallow blueberry roots moist. Apply 2” of water a week.
Fruit trees require lots of water the first month, 5-10 gallons per day. Then water 2-3 times a week for another couple of months or during dry weather.