If you want to be rewarded in the garden for years to come, plant fruit trees. They will reward you with a bountiful harvest for decades with only a little maintenance.
The most efficient way to start is with bare root plants — those sold without a pot or soil while the plants are dormant. You’ll save money and find a much wider selection of varieties and sizes available.
While the ground is still cold, it’s a good time to plant bare root edibles like blueberries, raspberries, grapes and rhubarb. It’s best to plant your root stock as soon as you get it; however if you are delayed a day or two, keep bare roots moist, cool, and in the dark. You can wrap or cover with damp newspapers until you are ready to plant.
How to Plant:
- Soak exposed roots in buckets of tepid water for an hour or two to hydrate them.
- Pick a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
- Dig a hole no deeper than the root system, but at least twice as wide.
- Don’t improve the soil with amendments, like compost. Why? Roots won’t venture out from fluffy amended soil, and the plant will become root-bound, meaning they’ll wrap around themselves and become tangled.
- Set the plant in the hole, spread the roots, and position them 1” under soil level. Fill in the hole with removed soil.
- Firm the soil gently to eliminate air pockets and water.
- Mulch with 2-3” of shredded pine bark or cedar.
When to Fertilize:
- Apply a slow-release fruit fertilizer 4 weeks after planting or when new, green growth appears.
- Scatter fertilizer on top of the soil, in a 3’ circle around plant. Scratch in with a cultivator.