Now is the perfect time to plant fruit and citrus trees in the garden or in containers. Cooler temperatures will allow the roots to become well-established before hot weather sets in.
To make it easier and faster, many varieties of fruit trees and berry bushes such as blueberries and raspberries come in large containers that are ready to be planted. For small-space gardening, look for dwarf varieties that you can plant in pots and other containers.
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 Fruit Trees AND BERRY BUSHES
- Go dig. Dig holes 2 to 3 feet in diameter, depending on the size of the pot, and 18 to 24 inches deep. Remove any rocks from the soil and amend with organic matter.
- Make a soil mix. Fill the hole halfway with a mix of peat moss and soil. Use a potting soil if planting in containers.
- Encourage rooting. Use a garden hoe to mix the peat and the soil well and score the sides of the hole to encourage roots to move outward.
- Keep graft above ground. 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 the lower trunk, called the graft, is above ground level.
- Create mud. 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.
- Make an impression. Fill the hole with the remaining soil, making sure to leave a “dish” impression so the water runs toward the tree or bush.
- Add water and mulch. Water and mulch with 2 inches of compost. Follow the contours of the dish; do not mulch up the tree like a volcano or you risk killing the plant.
- Hold off on fertilizing. Don’t fertilize at planting. Wait 4 weeks.
- Use stakes. 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.
- Fruit trees and berries in 3- to 5-gallon containers
- Gardening gloves
- Peat moss and soil
- Twine for staking
- Shredded pine bark mulch