Planning and preparation
1) The soil is the tree’s home. Only the best will do. Use John Innes compost number 3 as a soil improver, if necessary. Ideal pH 6.3-6.8
2) Choose a spot in full sunlight.
3) Do not plant the tree on the live roots of any other tree.
4) Stay away from any type of hedge. When planting several fruit trees, for every metre in height, calculate 1 metre’s planting distance from the other trees. For example, if the final height of the tree will be 3 metres, it should be at least 3 metres from any other tree.
5) Prepare the planting spot well before the tree’s arrival.
6) Moist soil is fine. Waterlogged soil is a no. If in doubt, plant the tree in a raised bed.
7) The tree should be staked at all times, from planting, right through its life. Use a 2” diameter, circular-section, treated stake, 6 feet in length.
8) First put the stake upright in the ground, to a depth of 1’6”.
9) Then dig a decent-size planting hole at spade depth. Loosen the sub soil with a rigid tine fork. Keep the union of the tree above soil level.
10) Put the top soil in a wheel barrow and mix it with blood and bone meal.
11) Always make sure crumbly soil is put back on top of the roots. Not big lumps of stiff clay. Firm the soil with your boot.
12) Tie the tree with a flexible adjustable tie. An old nylon stocking is perfect.
13) Put a rabbit guard onto the trunk.
Watch a video on how to plant fruit trees.
Maintenance throughout the tree’s life
14) Keep 1 square metre of soil around the trunk free from grass and weeds, during the growing season, from April to September, in every year of the tree’s life.
15) Water your tree weekly during the growing season, above all from May to September. The first 3 years are decisive for healthy tree development.
16) Prevent aphids from damaging your trees. This applies in particular just before flowering time and soon after that. Any garden centre will stock what you will need for this.
Read more on how to look after fruit trees.