Pin It

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fruit Tree Planting

We've enjoyed the early spring by cleaning up a neglected part of our yard. Overgrown long before we moved in, about a 1/4 of our yard is now ready to become a mini-orchard. Several mulberry trees are scattered throughout this space, and today, we added two pear trees and two apple trees.

Our fruit-tree-planting experience was next to zilch, so throughout this process we've learned quite a bit. One important piece of information which we acquired was that both pear and apple trees need cross pollination to produce fruit.  Put simply, an apple tree variety needs a partner of a different variety in order to cross-pollinate. For example, we bought a Honeycrisp apple tree; in order for this tree to thrive and produce fruit, it needs another  apple tree variety, so we also bought a Wolf River apple tree. As for the pears, we purchased and planted a Karl's Favorite pear tree and a Ubileen pear tree. Insects and bees will accomplish the cross pollination if the trees are planted close enough to each other. We planted both our pair of apple trees and our pair of pear trees 15 feet apart from one another.

We bought our trees in bareroot form, meaning that the roots are exposed and not bound in soil. We arrived home from Jung's Garden Store with a plastic bag of these four trees, and then decided we had better figure out how to plant them.

So, how does one plant a fruit tree? We did some reading and research, which gave us a wealth of information. The following lists some of what we found out and the steps we took in order to give our new trees a strong start to life and a future of fruit-bearing! 
1. Bareroots  need to soak in a root stimulator in water for 12-24 hours. We just soaked ours overnight.

2. Fruit trees like a well-drained, sandy soil. To assist in water drainage, we added a layer of pea gravel before placing each tree in the ground. Our soil is very thick and clay-like, so we added peat and sand to the existing soil and covered the tree roots with that mixture.
3. After planting the tree, it needs immediate water (around 3 gallons). Ours received 2 gallons each immediately following planting. We are to receive rain all week, so our trees will be getting plenty! 
4. Young trees need to be staked to provide stability.

We also learned that young trees need to be pruned in order to prevent moisture stress, which is what happens when there are not enough roots to get sufficient water to the very tops of the trees. Learning this was a bit disappointing! The young trees look so robust and proud in the yard; I hate to see them losing height and branches, but what's needed is needed, I guess. The pruning will happen tomorrow as we got rained out today.
Honeycrisp Tree

Wolf River Tree

Karl's Favorite Pear Tree

Ubileen Pear Dwarf Tree