Last week I discussed pruning your peach tree. Many people enjoy having their own backyard fruit tree. Not a fruit grower, but want to be? When is the time to plant a tree? The time is NOW and I will tell you how!
Here's my how-to on planting a fruit tree:
1. Decide on the peach variety that suites your geography best.
2. Visit your local nursery or use our tree supplier, Vaughn Nursery. Trees will be bought in-store or mailed. The nursery stock will be ideally 30 - 36 inches tall.
The trees we ordered came in last week and are still currently heeled in. Plant trees while dormant from December through early March. This gives good root establishment before bud break.
3. Keep roots from freezing or drying out by heeling the trees in soil (as pictured above). Dig a trench, lay the trees at a 45° angle, cover the roots with soil and water in. Trim and soak the roots in water one hour before planting.
4. Plant in a sunny location. Fruit needs sunlight, so consider site location and accessibility to water. Once you've found the spot, dig holes large enough for the root system. Only prune back diseased or damaged roots, and don't prune the roots to fit a smaller hole.
5. Firm the soil around the newly planted tree and water to help settle the soil and to eliminate air pockets around roots. Add water as needed.
6. Wrap aluminum foil on the lower 18 inches of the trunk leaving six inches of the trunk exposed. This is done to reduce sun scald, inhibit low buds from limb formation and aid in weed control. Don't forget to remove the foil after the first growing season to prevent trunk girdling in later years! Continue to give your new tree some TLC!
Those are my six steps to planting your fruit tree. Consult a fruit tree veteran, a local Master Gardener, or Aggie Horticulture if you need more information!