How to Plant Fruit Trees
Plant Guide

How to Plant Fruit Trees

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Growing fruit trees on your landscape is a rewarding practice with many practical benefits. Edible plants attract wildlife and pollinators, and their fallen fruit helps fertilize your soil, improving the health of your lawn. Additionally, you are supporting a healthy and self-sustaining lifestyle by growing and harvesting your own fresh fruit. It can take 3 to 5 years for your tree or shrub to mature and produce fruit, so follow these practical steps to plant an orchard of your very own.

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Ground Rules

 Lighting Guide

Light

Plant your fruit tree in a location that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. If you are planting your fruit tree in a container so you can bring it inside in the winter, it will still need 6 to 8 hours of bright light while it is inside. 

 Watering Guide

Water

While your roots are being established, water deeply once a week during the first growing season. After the first growing season, your tree will be more equipped to withstand longer periods of drought. Monitor carefully during intensely hot weather or heavy rainy seasons, and adjust accordingly. 

 Soil Guide

Soil

Well drained, fertile soil is ideal. For heavy-clay or dense soils, till the soil to a depth of at least 2 feet and add compost or other materials that improve drainage.

 Food Guide

Food

Depending on the type of tree and the soil quality, you may want to add organic nutrients to the soil before planting. There are great starter fertilizers that will introduce beneficial elements to your native soil. After you see 6 to 8 inches of growth, begin a regular feeding schedule with a fruit or citrus tree fertilizer. 

 Temperature Guide

Temperature

Spring is the ideal time to plant fruit trees, after the ground has thawed from winter. This gives its roots ample time to establish before the next winter.

 Toxicity Guide

Toxicity

If you are planting an edible fruit tree, keep in mind many of the seeds of our favorite fruits are toxic when ingested.

 Mulch Guide

Mulch

It is a good idea to keep a thick mulch cover around your tree to diminish weeds and keep the soil moist. Arrange the mulch so that there are 2 to 3 inches over the drip line of the tree, and so that there is about 1 inch of space around the trunk.

Planting Process

  1. Consider your site location's needs and plan accordingly. Map out where you want to place your trees, and make sure there will be ample growing room for when they are mature. 
  2. Test the pH of your soil before you receive your trees so you have ample time to retrieve any necessary soil amendment materials you may need.
  3. When you receive your plant, unbox, place it outdoors in the shade and water thoroughly. You do not need to take it out of the nursery pot yet, let your tree acclimate to this new area briefly.
  4. Choose your location based on light requirements and mature size. Make sure you plant far enough from your property line and away from power lines to account for mature growth.
  5. Prepare the soil and dig a hole as deep as your pot or rootball and twice as wide. Do so the day before you plan to plant your tree. Amend your soil at the bottom of the hole to add nutrition or increase drainage. 
  6. Place tree in center of hole and backfill pit around root ball with 50% existing soils from planting pit and 50% enriched topsoil for best results.
  7. Brace your tree with a pair of wooden stakes on either side of the tree. Tie the trunk to the stakes to keep it safe from strong wind gusts. Your sapling should be strong enough to remove the stakes in about two years. Protect the young trunk from the staking ties by covering the ropes with peices of cut garden hose. 
  8. Water again thoroughly saturating rootball, and follow up water every other day for first two weeks, then 2 times per week thereafter during 60 day period of establishment.
  9. Apply a starter fertilizer at specified label rate.
  10. Topdress with 1 to 2 inches of shredded hardwood mulch or pine fines. Mound the mulch like a donut under the dripline, and leave 1 inch of space around the trunk.

Planting Fruit Trees


Planting fruit trees can be surprisingly simple if you follow a few basic principles. Choosing the right tree for your planting site, checking soil drainage, and preparing the ground will get you far in ensuring the success of your orchard.

As you choose your location in the early spring, it is a good idea to check your soil composition before planting. If you have heavy clay soil, till the soil and add in peat moss to encourage better drainage. We also recommend performing a pH test on the soil , in case you need to add an acidifier or make the soil more alkaline - check the care recommendations for your specific tree to see what they prefer. Planning your layout early is also the perfect time to map out any walkways or other hardscape elements, so that you can sit and enjoy your orchard for years to come.

When the tree arrives, unbox and place it in a shady spot and water if needed so it can acclimate to its new area while you prepare. Dig your hole twice the width of the rootball but no deeper. When you tree is in position and you have backfilled the hole, the top of the soil from your existing pot should remain visible so that the base of the tree can stay dry and get the air circulation it needs. Once planted, thoroughly water the site and add more soil if necessary. You want the roots to get a good, deep soaking but do not want to overwater and risk root rot. 

After staking your sapling and adding mulch, your next consideration is monitoring watering and deciding how to prune your fruit tree. Monitoring how much you water will entirely depend on the weather in your area, and on how quickly or slowly water drains in your local soil. A good rule of thumb is to water once the top 2 to 3 inches have become dry to the touch, and then water for a 5 second count for every gallon size your tree arrived in. A 5 gallon pot needs 25 seconds of water, a 10 gallon pot 50 seconds, etc. Pruning should not be necessary until the following year, unless there are any branches that block airflow or cross against another branch. 

The age a tree begins to produce fruit depends entirely on the type of tree. Some trees will have a small yield the very first year you have them, others will take up to 5 years before you see your return on investment. With time and patience you are now well on your way to enjoying your own food for 20 to 50 years or more. 


Can you plant different fruit trees next to each other?

How close together can you plant fruit trees?

I live in an apartment / I can only plant in containers. Can I still plant fruit and nut trees?

Fruit and Nut Trees for Sale Online

Tree Mature Height Hardiness Zone
American Persimmon Tree 12 to 15 feet tall Growzone 7-11
Dunstan Chestnut 40 to 60 feet tall Growzone 6-9
Chinese Chestnut 40 to 60 feet tall Growzone 6-9
Granny Smith Apple Tree 18 to 20 feet tall Growzone 5-9
Redhaven Peach Tree 20 to 25 feet tall Growzone 5-8
Red Gala Apple Trees 18 to 20 feet tall Growzone 3-8
Paw Paw Tree 20 to 30 feet tall Growzone 6-11
(3 - 11 in containers)
Sweet Southern Cherry Trees 10 to 12 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Monroe Avocado Tree 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Meyer Lemon Trees 8 to 10 feet tall Growzone 8-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Key Lime Trees 6 to 12 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Satsuma Tangerine Trees 8 to 12 feet tall Growzone 8-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Owari Satsuma Mandarin Trees 10 to 12 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Rio Red Grapefruit Trees 8 to 10 feet tall Growzone 8-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Navel Orange Trees 8 to 12 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Moro Blood Orange 10 to 15 feet tall Growzone 8 - 11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Red Navel Orange 7 to 10 feet tall Growzone 8 - 11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Seto Satsuma Orange 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Miho Satsuma Orange 10 to 12 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Hamlin Sweet Orange 8 to 10 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Sunburst Tangerine 12 to 14 feet tall Growzone 8-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Orlando Tangelo 12 to 14 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Clementine Mandarin 10 to 12 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Anna Apple 20 to 25 feet tall Growzone 6-9
Arbequina Olive 14 to 18 feet tall Growzone 7-10
(4 - 10 in containers)
Hass Avocado 20 to 30 feet tall
(Only 5 to 7 feet tall in containers)
Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Loquat 25 to 30 feet tall Growzone 8-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Sea Grape 35 to 50 feet tall, 4 to 5 feet tall in containers Growzone 10-11
(5 - 11 in containers)
Fuji Apple 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 5-9
Honeycrisp Apple 12 to 15 feet tall Growzone 3-8
Golden Delicious Apple 20 to 25 feet tall Growzone 5-9
Red Delicious Apple 20 to 25 feet tall Growzone 5-9
McIntosh Apple 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 4-9
Pink Lady Apple 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 5-9
Sweet Sixteen Apple 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 3-8
Winesap Apple 12 to 15 feet tall Growzone 5-9
Ponderosa Lemon 12 to 20 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Eureka Variegated Pink Lemon 10 to 15 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Kaffir Lime 8 to 10 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Persian Lime 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 9-11
(4 - 11 in containers)
Harvester Peach 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 6-9
Elberta Peach 12 to 15 feet tall Growzone 5-9
Belle of Georgia Peach 20 to 25 feet tall Growzone 5-9
Moonglow Pear 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 5-9
Kikusui Pear 12 to 15 feet tall Growzone 5-9
Kieffer Pear 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 5-8
Bartlett Pear 15 to 20 feet tall Growzone 5-8
Brown Turkey Fig 10 to 15 feet tall Growzone 6-10
Tanenashi Persimmon 12 to 15 feet tall Growzone 7-9
Fuyu Persimmon 12 to 15 feet tall Growzone 7-11
Suruga Persimmon 10 to 14 feet tall Growzone 7-11