Plan before you plant. If you get everything right now you’ll save yourself lots of time in the future. And in around 4 years you’ll hopefully be enjoying the fruits of your labour, rather than struggling to deal with trees planted in the wrong spot.
SITING AND PREPARATION
Correct siting is key. Growing fruit trees is relatively straightforward provided that they have enough space to grow, are planted in nice fertile free-draining soil, and get at least 6 hours of full sun a day.
But if you’re worried about your soil, as long as you put some care into the preparation you can plant into a wide array of soil types, including sandy, volcanic or clay. For more see the planting section.
Fruit trees planted too closely together often struggle as they are more likely to compete for water and nutrients, and are more likely to get disease. So for happy healthy trees, make sure you give them space to flourish.
- Dwarf Peaches & Nectarines 1.5 metres
- Dwarf Varieties of Apples 1.5 metres
- Apples on Dwarf (M9) Rootstock 2.5 metres
- Apples on MM106 Rootstock 3+ metres
- Peaches, Plums, Nectarines 3.5+ metres
Short of space? Growing dwarf trees or espaliering trees is a great way to save space. For more info ask an expert in-store.
Before planting check to see if your tree is self-fertile, if not you may need to plant a pollinator.
Peaches and nectarines are all self-fertile (except some dwarfing varieties). Some plums (Damsons, Santa Rosa, and Billington) and some apples (Royal Gala) are self-fertile, but if you’re not sure, check our pollination guide online or ask in-store to help you pick out the right combination of trees.
Pollination can also be improved by encouraging the insects that pollinate fruit trees (such as bees) to come into your garden. To attract bees and other pollinators plant a wide array of flowers, including lavender, rosemary, thyme, echinacea, bergamot, and alyssum.
Or for more ideas, ask in-store.
Dig a hole twice as deep and twice as wide as the pot that your tree came in. In heavier soils, digging a slightly deeper hole is recommended.
Plant the top of the root ball at the same level as the ground, or in heavier soils into a slight mound to improve drainage.
TRAINING AND PRUNING
Getting the shape right early makes things much easier in the long run.
Open Vase Choose 3 outward facing branches equally spaced around the tree to train into the main trunks. Having the centre open will allow lots of light and air in. The best shape for plums, peaches, and apricots.
Central Leader Single trunk with branches arranged around it. As the tree develops branches that come out near to horizontal will start to bear more fruit. The best shape for apples, pears, and quinces.
Espaliers Trees trained along wires. Great if you’re short of space.
WHEN TO PRUNE?
Prune on a dry sunny day. Prune after planting to establish the shape. Subsequent pruning should generally be done in summer after fruiting, though in most cases pruning when plants are dormant in winter should be fine.
For more advice on pruning ask in-store or click here
Prevent pests and disease by spraying existing trees with Yates Liquid Copper and Aquaticus Glow. Spray thoroughly, covering the whole tree until the mix begins to drip off the branches.
Mulch tree regularly to suppress weeds and reduce watering needs.
Keep your trees well fed using Kings Slow Release Fruit and Citrus Food. Or for a natural option, top dress every few months with a handful of sheep pellets and feed with Kings Ocean Grow.