How to Plant Fruit Trees in Your Backyard

How to Plant Fruit Trees in Your Backyard

Fruit trees are best planted when they are dormant–in most locations that means somewhere between November and April.  The key to getting a great crop of fruit from your fruit trees is to have more than one tree, because most fruit trees require cross pollination.  If you don’t have enough space in your yard for more than one tree, try drafting off of your neighbors–think beyond the fence, another fruit tree next door will still provide pollination in your backyard.  Keep in mind, too, that most fruit trees take a couple of years to bear fruit.  So, while you might not get a crop this year, they are an investment in the future {shall we all hold hands and sing at that thought?}

After you have decided on a variety that will thrive in your climate, it’s time to put that sucker in the ground.  Most fruit trees prefer a sunny, well drained area.

how to plant a fruit tree in your backyard

First, dig a hole twice the size of the root ball.  It should be deep enough for the bud union to be slightly above the ground and the root ball to be covered completely.  Fruit trees have varying depth requirements, though, so use this as a guideline and check with your nursery for individual depths.  Depending on your area, you may need to amend the  soil.

Next, place your tree in the hole.  You can throw some bark and mulch into the hole around the root ball to deter weeds from invading your precious little tree’s turf, but it is not absolutely necessary.  Remember that the tree will settle a bit with time and water, so plan placement accordingly.

basket of apples

Finally, back fill the hole with dirt.  Break up back fill dirt as you place it around the tree.  Once you have back filled completely, you can compact the dirt back down with the back of your shovel.  Stake your trees for the first year while they are developing a strong root system.  Dwarf trees typically require support permanently, as the heavy fruit on their small frames can be too much.  Water your newly planted tree thoroughly.

Fruit trees {most trees, really} need religious watering as they establish themselves.  Water thoroughly every 7-10 days in the warmer/hot months.

Now, sit back and enjoy the “fruits of your labors”–ha!



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  1. Donna G says

    Perfect timing for this post. I’m considering a couple apple and a couple cherry trees. Live in Region 6.

    How is your Meyer Lemon tree. I”m thinking of getting one, but wanted to make sure you’re happy with it. Was considering fast_growing_trees for the purchase. Thoughts??

  2. says

    Mavis, what is your take on self-pollinating fruit trees? I have several that are self-pollinated (a peach, a fig, and a persimmon) and while I know you will get a better harvest if you have a second tree, I will supposedly get a harvest with just one. My trees are too young to bear fruit so I don’t know what a self-pollinating harvest will look like. Any ideas?

  3. Nikki says

    Hey Mavis,
    I’m sure this is a “novice” question, but are there certain trees that certain trees need to polinate with? Like do apples need another kind of apples to polinate with? or the same kind of apple? Or do apple trees need cherry trees to cross-polinate…?
    Hope that makes sense… 😉

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