Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Planting Fruit Trees

As Spring is quickly blossoming and memories of freezing temperatures are quickly fading, we decided it would be a good time to start planting.

One Saturday's project was to plant four dwarf fruit trees along the edge of our driveway. We do not have much land since we live near the middle of the city, so the trees we picked had to be small. We will still have to prune them to keep their size in check if they survive and grow past these next couple of years.

Here are the steps we took to plant our sapling trees:
  1. Carefully decided what types of trees we wanted and if the space we had to plant them was large enough, got the right amount of moisture, and had enough sun exposure.
  2. Spaced the trees 10'-15' apart.
  3. Dug a hole the depth of the tree's roots (the depth of the pot) and about 3 times the width; used a shovel to break up any large clumps of dirt.
  4. We added some Peat Moss and Cow Manure/Humus Mixture into the hole for fertilizer.
  5. Used a shovel to mix the peat moss and manure blend with the dirt.
  6. Placed the tree into the hole with the base of the trunk at ground level.
  7. Gently spread the roots out and loosened the root ball soil.
  8. Filled the hole up with dirt and stepped on it to compact it and remove any air pockets.
  9. Liberally watered the area around the tree. Placed more dirt around if necessary.
  10. We still need to add mulch around the base of the tree. The mulch should be 2"-3" thick but should not touch the tree bark.
The best time to plant trees is in the Spring or Fall. Try to plant them when it is overcast or either early or late in the day.
We were lucky as it rained all day long and was overcast the day after the trees were planted.

An Afternoon of Planting Dwarf Fruit Trees
We planted a peach, apricot (ours is supposed to only get about 10' tall, not like this apricot tree, the largest in Nevada), and two plum trees. The plum trees were slightly different varieties but were recommended for cross pollination. We both cannot wait until they start producing fruit! (It can take a couple of years before they will produce anything, but when they do, they will pay for themselves very quickly.)

Here are some photos of our afternoon of fun in the dirt.

Four trees, peat moss, and 200 lbs. of cow "moonure" & humus mixture ready to go.

Hopefully within a few years there will be four fruit producing trees along this fence.

Everything is set in place.

Digging the hole.

Adding the peat moss and manure/humus. Does this qualify as a dirty job?

Mixing the soil, peat moss, and manure/humus.

Tree in the hole!

Filling the hole with top soil.

This peach tree has a new home (I hope it likes it)

Here's how the row looks now (it's hard to see a difference since the trees are so small)

Looking down the row of trees. I can imagine when they are 10' tall and producing all kinds of delicious fruit!


Anonymous said...

DIYer & DIYerette -

You may have some problems with the trees - at least the peach tree. My neighbor has a peach tree and it requires lots of room to spread its limbs. Also, if it takes hold and is a good producer, you will need to hit your wood shop to build braces to support the branches and prevent them from breaking due to an abundant harvest. A watchful eye is also required as well as both furry thieves and other univited guests love to make off with the crop. However, there is nothing like fresh peaches :~)

good luck!!


The DIYer said...

I remember growing up having problems with feral kids eating apples off our tree - and that tree was in the far back corner of our property! But, I'd rather have a few missing peaches taken by wandering youth than no peaches at all.

According to the information label, the tree is supposed to only get 7-8' tall and have a maximum spread of 8'.
If not, we'll make sure it stays in line... pruning saw here we come!

Desert Survivor said...

I've never tried the dwarf fruit trees, so I'll be curious how yours do. It makes sense to have them grow smaller--the ones that get really big make it impossible to pick so you just have to wait for the fruit to fall and then beat the dog to it.

Glad you got to play in a little cow manure!