Plant a bare-root fruit tree

How to plant a bare-root fruit tree

Lots of fruit trees can be bought bare-root. We show you how to plant them.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

Fruit trees need to be grown in the right conditions if they’re to flower and fruit to their full potential.

Bare-root fruit trees are generally cheaper to buy than potted trees, and the time to buy and plant them is from November to March. When planting them, good soil preparation is vital, especially if you want your tree to give you years of enjoyment.

Check out these 10 top tips for the best possible fruit harvest.

Choose a site in full sun, making sure there’s room for the branches to grow and develop over time. To grow different varieties of fruits in a small space, consider a family fruit tree, which consists of two to three fruit varieties grafted onto one tree.

Get your tree off to the best possible start with the help of our step-by-step planting guide, below.

Discover more plants to plant bare-root.

To grow different varieties of fruits in a small space, consider a family fruit tree.

You will need

  • Bare-root fruit tree
  • Spade
  • Tree stake
  • Mallet
  • Saw
  • Rubber tree tie
  • Mulch
  • Watering can

Total time:

Step 1

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.


Step 2

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


Step 3

Dig a deep, wide planting hole and check that it’s large enough to accommodate the entire root system. It’s a good idea to have this done before your tree arrives.


Step 4

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


Step 5

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


Step 6

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


Step 7

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


Step 8

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.


Step 9

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


Fruit trees to buy and plant bare-root