Planting fruit trees in the garden
Fruit trees can be planted more or less all year round. Our young fruit trees are delivered bare rooted and are best planted immediately upon receipt (as long as it’s not below freezing). Young trees establish themselves faster than a larger, more mature tree.
- Plant your fruit tree in a sunny spot (needs at least 6 hours of sun every day) and give it enough space so it can absorb enough moisture and grow well.
- The soil should be permeable – check this by digging a hole 50 cm deep. Fill the hole with water and see how long it takes to drain. If too long, you will need to dig the soil over and enrich it with well-rotted, organic manure.
- Dig a hole at least twice as wide as the roots spread (fruit trees root sideways). The hole shouldn’t be too deep and the soil should be nice and loose. The top of the root ball should come to just below soil level.
- Add fertiliser pellets to the soil and improve sand or clay soil with some compost. Check the plant’s label for more planting instructions.
- Form a small mound in the centre of the hole, place your tree on it and spread the roots in the hole.
- Fill the hole with improved soil and heel well in. Carefully press the soil. Make sure the trunk is nicely above soil level and the roots are well covered with soil.
- Water generously and add more soil. Heel in and water again, repeat until the plant hole is firmly filled with soil.
- Place a sturdy stake of some sort next to the tree and attach the trunk to it without over tightening (string should not chafe). This will help the tree grow nice and straight.
- Cover the ground around the base of the tree with a layer of leaf litter, gravel, or bark chippings, leaving the trunk free. This helps to keep weeds at bay.
Potted fruit trees
Duo-fruit trees, columnar forming trees and dwarf trees can also be planted in pots (⌀ 45-50 cm). Fill pot with potting soil up to 2-3 cm below the rim to avoid (rain) water flooding the pot and running over.
Caring for fruit trees
• Regularly weed around the base of the fruit tree by hand, as fruit trees have shallow roots and a hoe might disturb them. This prevents weeds from extracting nutrients from the soil and damaging the roots.
• Repot your potted fruit trees every year or every other year as soon as they have lost their leaves (in the dormant period). When the fruit tree has reached its mature size, its roots can be cut every two years and 30% of the potting compost can be renewed. In the intermediate years, renew only the upper layer of potting soil.
• Water your potted fruit trees sufficiently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Better to add a whole watering can 1 x a week, than just a little each day.
• Potted fruit trees need extra water when new shoots are forming. Spring and summer are also times to water more frequently.
• Only give fruit trees planted in the garden extra water if it hasn’t rained all week.
• Feed/fertilise fruit trees once a year.
• Potted fruit trees should be stored in a sheltered spot (even indoors if weather severe) for the winter.
Pruning fruit trees
Bakker fruit trees will need pruning after a year. If getting too tall, prune the top in winter. Remove all dead branches. Don’t prune if frost is predicted. Each fruit tree has its own ideal pruning time. Check the plant’s label for specific instructions.
For more tips on planting and caring for fruit trees, see our gardening advice pages online.