Fruit Tree Planting & Care



When planting fruit trees, make sure you have proper planting site, planting items and spray items.  By making sure that you plant and care for your fruit tree correctly, you will enjoy fruit for years to come.


First, make sure you have a good place to plant your tree.  Most trees will need full sun and moist but well drained soils.  There should be adequate room for the fruit trees to spread.  If planting a single row of trees, you want to plant the trees 12-14’ apart.  If planting in a block, keep 20’ between rows with trees 12-14’ in the row.  This allows the trees to spread out and also allows for good air movement around the trees which helps reduce chances of disease/fungus. 


Once you have a good spot to plant your trees you need to plant them properly.  You want to dig a hole 2-3 times as wide as the pot.  Mix 2/3 of the soil you just dug with 1/3 Bumper Crop and use this mixture for backfill.  Take the tree out of the container and gently loosen the roots slightly.  If the roots are very tight and compacted you can use a pruner or knife and make three vertical cuts about two inches into the roots to stop any circling root and help them to spread out.  Place the tree into the hole, making sure the bud union (the bulged area near the bottom of the trunk) is at least two inches ABOVE ground level (this should be the same as planting the tree with the top of root ball at soil level.)   If you do not do this for dwarf and semi-dwarf trees they will grow roots from the trunk and will not stay dwarf.  Then backfill with the mixture of soil and bumpercrop and pack firmly.  It is best to form a small ‘dam’ around the outside of the planting area so water will stay and not run off.  We highly recommend using Esbenshade's Root Stimulator when first planting. It helps ensure the tree gets off to a good start. It contains humid acid, which promotes root growth and reduces transplanting stress. 


Water the tree after planting and once a week through summer.  The best way to water is to put a hose at the base of the tree and let it trickle in for about twenty to thirty minutes.  This will allow water to soak the whole root area and not just the top of the soil.  The following year you should not have to water the tree unless it is very dry.


Spraying Fruit Trees


Now that you have your tree planted and watered you want to keep insects and disease away.  Spaying fruit trees is important for good quality fruit. 


The following is what we recommend:


First spray – Dormant season (late February/early March)


Use dormant oil spray, for peaches also use copper fungicide to control peach leaf curl.


Second spray – (Peaches not needed) – sometime between green tip and flower buds showing color, make an application of Bonide Fruit Tree and Plant Guard. (not in bloom - NEVER spray when a tree is blooming, to protect pollinating insects)


Third spray – When fruit is established and clearly visible, make another application of Bonide Fruit Tree and Plant Guard.


Next spray 10 days after petal fall, then every 10-14 days until 2 weeks before harvest. NOTE: See label for when last spray before harvest should occur.


      We recommend Bonide Fruit Tree and Plant Guard.


Fruit trees will need a good pruning.  Depending on the type of fruit tree, you need different pruning techniques.


Apples and Pears- Best to prune when they are dormant (usually in late Feb. early March.)  You can also prune  some in summer to control aggressive growth and keep height in check.  You want to give the tree a somewhat pyramidal look, with layers of branching, and alternate positions as you move up layers.


  Cherries- Best to prune cherries when the weather is hot (usually late may.)  DO NOT prune in winter or early spring as you make disease infestation much more likely.  Prune in end of May or early June.  The shape of the tree will be upright rounded.  Cherries usually keep their shape fairly well.  One other tip for cherries is close to harvest you may want to put a net over the trees to keep birds away. 


Peaches and Nectarines- Best to prune these trees in early spring (Early May.)  These trees should have an open ‘bowl’ shape.  Pick out 3-4 main branches that are outward growing and cut off branches that are going to the middle. 


Plums- Best to prune in winter to take care of any broken branches and to shape up your tree.  It is probably easiest to shape in a vase shape similar to peaches.  Since plum are vigorous growers it is best to prune in summer to maintain the size. 


Thinning the fruit


It is best to take some of the fruit off your tree to help the remaining fruit get larger.  You can pick off some fruit when they are small to encourage this.  This helps not only to get larger fruit but also to get better fruit by letting your spray program reach all the fruit. 


            Lastly is harvesting and enjoying your fruit.  By planting and maintaining correctly thru-out the life of the tree you will enjoy fruit for a long time.