With spring around the corner, it’s the perfect time to put a plan together to grow a new fruit tree. At our Orchard, we choose early spring as the opportune time to plant due to the moderate temperatures in Oregon. Once the tree is planted, watering appropriately is important as is fertilizing and pruning your tree correctly. You can read more about my top three tips for successful sapling planting below.
Tip 1: Plant Your Fruit Tree Early
Choosing the opportune time to plant your new tree will give it the best chances of survival. Make sure you plant as early in the spring as possible. The temperature should ideally be above freezing but below 60 degrees. This allows time for the fruit tree to acclimate smoothly as it comes out of dormancy.
If you are located in a hot region, remember to water the plant more often to keep the roots from drying out. Dry roots will stress a young tree as it is trying to acclimate to its new surroundings.
Tip 2: Water Appropriately
Watering your new tree is a balancing act. You do not want your root system to get too wet and you do not want it to get too dry. Depending on your soil and climate, focus on keeping the roots consistently moist. Keep in mind, you do not want to see mud or standing water after you finish watering. All water should soak into the soil after 1-2 minutes. Next, you can focus on fertilizing and pruning your fruit tree.
Tip 3: Fertilize and Prune
When planting your tree, mix fertilizer with the soil that you will be covering the root system with. You may use your own organic mix or I recommend using a store bought product specifically for new planting of young fruit trees.
Do not forget to prune the very top ½ inch of the tree! If your tree already has limbs, cut them back to 3-6 inches from the trunk. Pruning is the best way to help your fruit tree with new growth. It sends a message to the tree and redirects that energy back to the roots, which helps reduce shock to the root system. Pruning also shortens the canopy of the tree so there is less structure for the new roots to have to support.
Follow These Tips and Have Fun!
Plan now for an early spring planting session. Remember to water and prune your new tree appropriately, while also using fertilizer. One final thing to keep in mind is the importance of keeping the area weeded. Weed roots will fight your tree competitively for both water and nutrients. Wishing you the best of luck this spring planting season!
Scott Webster is President & CEO of both Webster Orchards, Inc and TheFruitCompany.com. Webster Orchards has been growing premium fresh fruit in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area since 1942, starting with Scott’s grandfather, Roy Webster. The Fruit Company, an online gift retailer has been packing and shipping beautiful fruit gifts nationwide since 1999. Both headquarters are located in the Hood River Valley, nestled between Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.