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Compost for planting fruit trees

Compost for planting fruit trees



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Early on in my garden writing career, I visited a man who had been growing apples and peaches for 50 years. As we toured his orchards planted with ancient trees and vigorous young ones, he stopped to talk about individual trees and their nutritional needs. Since then, I have grown many tree fruits myself, and slowly realized the truth of Mr. When fruit trees are first planted, the priority is to encourage them to grow roots by maintaining even soil moisture in good-quality soil.

Content:
  • Plant fruit trees!
  • Compost Considerations
  • Planting Trees Correctly
  • Planting Fruit Trees on Mounds: A Complete Guide
  • Growing healthy fruit trees
  • Types of Soil for Growing Fruit Trees
  • How to Fertilize Fruit Trees
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Composting your fruit trees

Plant fruit trees!

This article describes how to plant a new pot-grown or bare-root fruit tree in open ground. If you are planting in a patio pot or against a wall or trellis, you will still find some of this information useful. Don't dig holes in advance, they will just fill with water. Dig them on the day you intend to plant the trees if possible. Planting is best done on a dry day.

Do not try to plant your trees if the ground is either frozen or water-logged. Planting fruit trees is a 2-person task, so the first step is to find a willing helper. At least one of you should be fit enough to shift a bit of soil with a large fork. You may also want to wear protective clothing, the biggest risk is a poke in the eye from a stray branch.

Start by digging over the ground do a diameter of 1m around the planting position.It is best if you can do this a few weeks in advance of the tree arriving, but if not then do it on the day. The idea is to loosen up the soil to make it easier for the tree to establish.

Try to dig down at least one spade depth. It is important to dig the whole area, rather than just the planting hole. If the soil is sandy or has a lot of clay, improve the structure by mixing in well-rotted farmyard manure or compost, but do this over the whole of the planting area.

Most - but not all - new fruit trees will require supporting with a post or stake. See our article on supporting a new fruit tree. Now dig the hole. It should be a bit wider and deeper than the size of the roots. If possible. Try to make the hole square rather than round, as this helps to stop the roots staying in the planting hole as the tree establishes.

We strongly recommend that you do NOT add compost, bonemeal, or fertiliser to the planting hole, as these additives will at best stop the tree establishing, and at worst may prevent the tree coming out of dormancy.

This applies to all fruit trees, but especially plum trees. It is always best to just use regular topsoil. You want to encourage the tree roots to grow outwards, not stay within an artificially nutrient-rich area within the hole. If you are planting beside a permanent stake, dig the hole for the tree on the south side of the stake more sunlight.

However if your site is exposed to a strong wind prevailing wind, put the hole on the downwind side of the post. If in doubt, avoiding a prevailing wind is more important than planting on the sunny side of the post. If your tree is in a container, make sure it is well-watered add water and leave for an hour or so if necessary. Then remove it from the container see notes below. If it is a bare-root tree, remove any protective packaging from the roots and soak the roots in a bucket of water for hours, positioned in the shade.

We package our bare-root trees to survive a journey of up to 10 days but if the roots look very dried out, leave them in the bucket for longer - hours - before planting. Make sure that the tree is planted to the same depth as it was in its container or at the nursery, with the graft union above the soil line - an easy way to do this is to lie a plank or bamboo cane temporarily across the top of the hole to indicate the soil level. The first person should then hold the tree dangling into the hole so that the soil line on the stem of the tree is level with the plank.

The second person should then start to refill the hole by mounding soil up under the tree until it rests at the correct height. The soil should be firmed down as you go but not compacted - this process removes air-pockets from around the roots. Once the tree is positioned correctly the rest of the soil can be moved back in, again taking care to firm rather than compact.

It is generally a good idea to shape the soil into a slight bowl around the tree - this will help with watering as the water will be retained in the area around the tree. Note that some trees may have the remains of a plastic-like wrapping near the base of the tree above the roots.

This should be left as it is - it is grafting wax and will decay naturally as the tree grows. For 1-year bare-root dwarf trees i. Make two notches in the ground with a spade in a 'L' or 'T' configuration , lever the soil out slightly, drop the tree into the gap making sure the roots are spread out into the gap , and lever the soil back and firm down.

This method may seem almost too quick and casual, but it has the great advantage of minimising damage to the soil structure, and provides much better anchorage for the tree than is possible with a conventional planting hole.

However it only really works with maiden dwarf trees, and the ground needs to be light or cultivated earlier in the year in readiness.Never backfill the planting hole with compost, as this will almost certainly kill the tree - the hole will be waterlogged all winter and then dry all summer, and the over-rich compost can be harmful, particularly to plum trees.

If you needed a temporary stake, now is the time to plant it. Again this requires 2 people. The stake should be banged in past the tree at an angle of 45 degrees - this means that the stake goes into the ground well outside the root circle. Whereas a permanent stake is designed to take the "weight" of the tree for its entire life, the purpose of a temporary stake is just to help the tree as it gets established, and after years it will be able to support itself. The action of the wind on the growing tree is what encourages it to thicken its trunk and eventually become self-supporting.

The last step is mulching and watering. If you are planting in the spring and the ground is dry water the tree with a large bucket of water. Apply the water slowly so that it has time to sink in. It might help to firm down the soil again at this point. If you are planting in the autumn or winter, watering is probably not necessary. Next apply a mulch. A mulch is a layer of organic material which will suppress grass and weeds, which provide far too much competition for water and nutrients for a young fruit tree and will stop it establishing properly.

The best mulch material is well-rotted farmyard manure or compost but decorative gravel also works. Unless you are in an area prone to water-logging, it is a good idea to build the mulch up at the edges so that water naturally flows into the tree. Mulching is almost always beneficial for new fruit trees, but in very hot dry climates the mulch layer can act as a home for various undesirable insect bugs and pests.

This is perhaps the one situation where mulching becomes counter-productive, and bare-soil and good irrigation may be preferable.The day after planting you should water the tree again with another bucket of water. Water it once a week more frequently if it is hot and dry , but try to avoid over-watering as most fruit tree roots are unable to survive in flooded soil.

The first spring is the key time for your new fruit tree, as it establishes itself in its new surroundings. Weeds will stop your new tree establishing, and must be removed.

However do not apply herbicides around a young tree. Instead make sure your mulch is dense and preventing weeds from growing near it. Apply a general fertilizer in early spring before the tree starts to produce shoots. This is important for bare-root trees, but optional for container-grown trees since they already have adequate nutrients from the compost we supplied them in. Check your tree regularly to monitor the growth during the first spring and summer whilst it is getting established.

Container-grown trees are prone to drying out if there is a prolonged dry spell, so please make sure you tree is watered but not drowning. After the first year the roots will have settled in and you don't need to be quite as attentive, although for the first years when the tree is still growing it is a good idea to keep an eye on it.

Dwarf trees always benefit from regular watering in spring and summer whereas those on more vigorous rootstocks will increasingly be able to manage for themselves as they get older unless you have a prolonged period without rain. In general it is better to apply a bucket of water once a week than a small amount daily. We will now comment on some aspects of planting which are specific to container-grown or bare-root trees. Pot-grown trees are not designed to remain in the containers they are delivered in permanently, and should be planted out as soon as it is convenient.

Even if you intend to grow the tree on a patio, you must still transfer it to a proper pot or tub.However unlike bare-root trees, you can leave container-grown trees in their containers for a few weeks before finally planting them out provided you look after them of course , giving you more opportunities to get your garden or orchard plan just right.

However make sure that the trees are planted out by the end of spring, and avoid planting in the period May-August as it is very difficult to transplant fruit trees over the summer. We recommend that container-grown plum trees are planted within a week of delivery. If you decide not to plant your container-grown tree immediately, place it in a sheltered part of your garden, and make sure it cannot be accidentally blown over.

Do not under any circumstances keep the tree indoors. If the weather is exceptionally cold then store it in an unheated garage, but move it outside as soon as the weather improves. If the tree is dormant i. This is particularly helpful for pot-grown plum trees, which can struggle if they are surrounded by too much compost.

However if the tree has leaves or buds on it i. Instead, if the roots appear to be circling the rootball which is a very common issue with container-grown trees simply get a sharp knife and make vertical scoring cuts 1cm or so into the rootball, which will encourage new root growth to spread outwards. In the UK and Europe bare-root trees are supplied during the winter, in the USA they are supplied in fall or early spring. In either case they will be dormant.

Bare-root trees must be planted as soon as they arrive , preferably the same day - but do not attempt to plant them if the ground is frozen. If you cannot plant the tree in its final position straightaway, you can keep the tree for up to 3 days in a frost-free shed or garage, but do not uncover the roots, and make sure the tree is not exposed to frost. Do not keep the tree in a heated house.If you think the roots look dry, you can stand the tree in a bucket of cold water for hours, which will help to re-hydrate it - but only do this immediately before planting.

This is not always necessary if you plant the tree as soon as your receive it, but it is helpful if the tree has been left for several days.

If you need to store the tree for longer before planting, you should dig a shallow hole, remove the covering from the roots, and lie the tree on the ground so that the roots are in the hole. Then cover the roots with soil or sawdust and press firmly - this removes the air and prevents frost damaging the roots.

This method is known as " heeling-in ". After planting in many cases it is advisable to carry out an initial pruning of your newly-planted fruit tree. This initial pruning, where required, is a very important step in getting your fruit tree off to a good start.


Compost Considerations

Growing your own fruit has to be the easiest, most satisfying and most joyous gardening pursuit. Yes, I am delighted when I fork out some nice straight carrots or creamy skinned potatoes but do they compare with a mouthful of zesty raspberries picked and eaten straight from the cane? Summer and Autumn in the garden is made much more fun with gooseberries, raspberries, plums, apples and and all sorts of other stuff dotted around the place and available for a quick snack. Most fruit varieties were originally woodland plants so will happily produce in partial shade; your fruit does not need prime garden real estate so can make excellent use of marginal areas. Fruit is also very easy to grow and requires far less of your time and resources than growing vegetables. Most fruit only needs to be planted once and will provide delicious harvests for over 10 years with some simple pruning and a Spring feed.Unlike many vegetable crops which we are trying to prevent from bolting or going to seed your fruit is allowed to run full cycle so only needs a little helping hand to get there.

Thoroughly mixing compost or fertilizer with soil will prevent the burning of roots. Most soils contain sufficient fertility for fruit trees, but soil pH is too.

Planting Trees Correctly

Fruit trees are not only beautiful additions to any landscape but once they start producing! How wonderful to walk to your backyard and pick delicious, organic fruit for your family! This guide shows how you can properly plant and care for fruit trees to keep them healthy, happy, and productive. Also important is well-drained soil. Certain varieties are more forgiving of less-than-perfect conditions. Pears, plums, and apples will put up with somewhat poor drainage and less than full sun. Fruit trees that drop their leaves every year deciduous trees are usually sold in containers during the growing season and bare-root during the dormant season. Make sure to fill in the hole with a mix of native soil and the soil building compost. Cover the top with inches of compost or mulch.

Planting Fruit Trees on Mounds: A Complete Guide

C ustomer Notice — Due to current courier demand , there may be a delay in delivery , we apologise for any inconvenience. Planting advice. Container grown fruit trees can be planted at any time of year providing there is not a frost and the ground is not waterlogged, although autumn planting is preferable, as they need less watering than ones planted in spring or summer. Bare root trees can be planted from late autumn to the end of winter as this is when the tree is in its dormant stage. If the ground is frozen, or you can't plant for some other reason, 'heel' in your fruit tree in a shallow trench, angling the trunk and covering the roots at the bottom of the trunk with moist soil.

Thriving Yard is an affiliate for companies including Amazon Associates and earns a commission on qualifying purchases. Having fruit trees in your own backyard can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Growing healthy fruit trees

March 17, General. Over a decade of research on application of compost to a variety of fruit crops shows range of benefits, including disease suppression and better crop use of nitrogen. Photo by Tom Forge. Forge first began trials comparing compost with raw poultry manure as a replacement for mineral fertilizer on raspberry canes on the Lower Mainland raspberry canes, Trial 1 box on p. The compost, from poultry manure and greenhouse residues, was made at his research station but was similar to material that could be produced commercially. The tests compared the performance of the compost against raw manure and chemical fertilizer, as well as untreated control plots.

Types of Soil for Growing Fruit Trees

Many fruit trees are available year-round, but winter is when the widest variety will be available in store. Choose an open, sunny position for your fruit tree. It is a good idea to find out how big the tree is going to grow to ensure it will have enough room. Small dwarf varieties of many different fruits including apple, citrus, olive, guava and peaches are good options if you have a small space or are planting in pots and containers. Depending on what you like to eat and what you want for your garden there are a wide range of common and heirloom varieties to choose from. You can also buy bagged or bare rooted trees. Before investing in a fruit tree do a bit of research into how long it is predicted to last, how resilient to pests and diseases it is, and what growing conditions it prefers, as this will affect how much maintenance it needs. Once you have selected your tree, it is time to get the soil prepared - the better the soil, the better your fruit trees will grow.

Hi HappyEarth, Apply the mushroom compost as you would fertilizer, a handfull to the sq metre under the canopy of the trees. Sprinkle it with a.

How to Fertilize Fruit Trees

Bare root trees and plants can be planted any time during the dormant season usually from mid November to mid March. You should plant bare root trees and plants in their permanent position as soon as you can after receiving them. While it is always best to plant the trees as soon as you can, it is sometimes better if conditions are not right to wait longer and plant when conditions improve.

RELATED VIDEO: How to plant a fruit tree using the Ellen White method

The many benefits of growing fruit trees include attractive greenery around your home, shade during hot weather and tasty fruits. Gardeners in many climates can grow fruit trees, but the right type of fruit tree soil will ensure healthier growth and a plentiful amount of fruit production. In general, fruit trees grow best in soils with good drainage and plenty of nutrients. Fruit trees grow best in well-drained soil with a sandy, loamy texture.

While in this day and age we are treated to having fruit of any kind available year round, fruit grown locally in season is incomparable in deliciousness! You can grow it in your backyard to enjoy for years to come.

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Updated: JanuaryDownload PDF. Compost can help improve soil quality and nutrient, water, and pest regulation.