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How to plant a bare-root fruit tree


Fruit trees need to be grown in the right conditions, if they're to flower and fruit to their full potential. Get your tree off to the best possible start with the help of our step-by-step planting guide, below.

The method for planting a family fruit tree is the same as for planting any tree. Good soil preparation is vital, especially if you want your tree to give you years of enjoyment. Choose a site in full sun, making sure there's room for the branches to grow and develop over time. As with all fruit trees, a family variety can be pruned to control its ultimate size and shape, making it particularly suitable for small gardens.

How to do it


If you're buying mail order, open the package straight away. The tree pictured is a bare-root and doesn't come in a pot.


Plant the tree immediately. If you can't, heel the roots into damp soil, firm well and water to prevent them drying out.


Dig a deep, wide planting hole and check that it's large enough to accommodate the entire root system.


Add compost to the base of the hole and fork it in, and also mix compost with the soil you removed to improve it.


Hammer a stake firmly into the hole and position the tree. Saw off the top of the stake just below the bottom branches.


Hold the tree so that the roots are well inside the hole and fill in around them with the improved soil.


Press soil down firmly around the roots as you fill, to remove air pockets and give good soil contact with the roots.


Use a plastic tree tie to secure the trunk to the stake. Ties come with a rubber buffer to stop the stake rubbing the trunk.


Water well, then mulch with compost to keep it moist but, to avoid rotting. Don't pile it against the base of the tree.

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Talkback: How to plant a bare-root fruit tree
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connie77 02/01/2014 at 16:41

I want to plant a fruit tree on my allotment but, it is very open on top of a hill and prone to wind damage, is there any chance i could plant one? and keep it small, connie

Dave Morgan 02/01/2014 at 23:08

If you choose a dwarf root stock to keep the tree small, stake it properly to stop wind rock and allow the roots to form properly you should be ok.

My garden is subject to a wind tunnel effect( westerly winds) but I have a large bramley apple tree at the top of the garden, which produces amazing numbers of of apples each year. Your tree may lean in one direction over time, but they are amazingly robust. I'd leave the stakes in place for a good few years to allow a good root structure to form.

Once it gets about 4 inches in diameter ( a few years) it should withstand almost anything we get.

Brenda Kirby 04/01/2014 at 22:38

can I plant a pear tree now to grow against a fence

Barrie Kempster 23/01/2014 at 22:46

What is the correct way to plant a dwarf grafted fruit tree in a container?

connie77 27/01/2014 at 14:40

Hi , thanks for all replies, been helpful

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