Have you heard, the 2024 Bare Root Fruit Tree shipment from Dave Wilson just came in!
Whether you are testing the waters this year with the idea of Bare Roots or a seasoned grower, here are a few reminders and tips for how to plant and tend to these sticks.
- Dig a hole about a spade’s depth and around 3ft (1m) wide. A square hole is better than a round one as it encourages the roots to push out into the surrounding ground. Keep the soil you have removed in a wheelbarrow or on a large plastic sheet.
- Add a few inches of good garden compost and work it into the base of the hole using a garden fork. Mixing is important so that the tree’s roots don’t meet a sudden boundary between compost and regular soil. Also mix some compost into the soil you removed.
- Look for the slightly darker ‘watermark’ on the tree’s trunk that indicates where the soil level was when it was first grown. Place the bare-rooted tree in the center of the hole and a cane across the hole so you can check that this line is level with the soil around your hole as trees shouldn’t be planted deeper or shallower than they were first grown. If necessary, add or remove soil to achieve this. Most fruit trees will be grafted onto a rootstock and the join should always be above ground.
- Remove the tree and put in 2 or 3 thick wooden stakes about one foot from the center of the hole. Be sure to secure one on the side where the prevailing wind comes from. Hammer this firmly into the ground using a mallet.
- Place the tree back in the hole in the center of the stakes and start to shovel the soil-and-compost mix back around the roots. Gently firm this in with your boots, being careful not to damage the roots. When it’s half full, pull the tree up an inch and then let it drop again as this helps the soil to fill in around the roots.
- Once all the soil has been added and firmed, fix the stakes together with ties. The idea is for the tree to grow strong on it's own without the need for stakes... the stakes are there simply to help secure it during rougher weather & wind.
- Water the soil well to stop the roots drying out and to further settle the soil around them.
We also highly recommend applying a thick layer of composted mulch once the tree has been planted and watered in. Not only will this layer help hold moisture in during the dryer months, it is a fantastic way to give the newly planted trees a slow release of nutrients.
Stop by the nursery and we can further address questions and concerns regarding the trees, we are always happy to help!