Planting fruit trees

All fruit trees need the right soil structure. The ideal soil for fruit trees is loamy soil. Trees on sandy soils are often faced with drought conditions, as such soil does not retain water. Sandy soils are more sensitive to changes in temperature and do not retain heat. In the spring they heat up and cool down quickly, which can cause problems with frost. Clay soils provide a good yield if we take care of water drainage, but in spring are slowly heated, what may influence on ripening time.

Limestone soils are quite problematic for the cultivation of fruit trees. Limestone soils regularly lack iron and magnesium that fruit trees need to successfully grow. Because of that chlorosis (discoloration) on the leaves appear. Very sensitive are pears and raspberries. In such type of soil plants that need more acidic soils do not flourish.Soil should be prepares at least two months before planting trees. Trees, which were grown in containers and are still in containers, can be planted all year round with the exception of periods when the soil is frozen. Trees that have been purchased bare rooted, can be planted in late autumn, winter and early spring, when they are dormant.

Soil preparation

Before planting trees, soil should be prepared properly. Soil should be turned up and loosened and, where necessary, chemical analysis should be made to find out its pH level.

Most fruit species correspond well to slightly acidic soil with a pH value between 6 and 6.5, only blueberries need soil with a pH between 4 and 5.5. If the soil is too acidic, then calcification is needed, if it is too alkaline (pH above 7), sour compost should be applied and regularly fertilization with ammonium sulphate is needed.

If the soil retains too much water or water even stagnates on its surface, then measures for water drainage must be taken. The first solution that works when a problem with the water is not too big is addition of organic matter such as compost or manure. Organic matter loosens soil, and makes it more permeable to air and water. If this does not help, soil should be mixed with sand or gravel. If there is too much water, then drainage system for draining water in drainage ditches should be build. Such system is suitable for areas where water often stagnates on surface. If the soil is too sandy and you have ongoing problems with drought, then add small quantities of clay.

Avoid fertilising the soil before planting trees to not encourage excessive growth of green parts. Fertilize only if the soil is really poor on organic matter.

Planting trees

If we plant a tree at support, then first prepare appropriate support, if we cultivate trees along the wall, then route wires, but if you use free-standing supports, then put columns and route wires.

Alone standing trees should be planted sufficiently far apart so they can smoothly evolve. The distance between the trees depends on the type, variety and growing form. When trees are planted against the wall, they should be at least 20 to 30 centimetres from the wall to have enough space for root development.

Before planting, dig a pit which is at least one third wider than the width of the root system. Depth of the pit depends on the height of the root system. It is important that the roots are not suppressed, and the root neck is levelled with terrain. If you will dug too deep and the root neck will be in the soil, the tree will have less fruits or even die eventually.

Trample bottom of the pit and fill some soil in the middle of it. 8 to 10 centimetres from the centre put wooden stake the height of which depends on the selected form. Stake will be removed after three years, unless it is a dwarf variety that can not be grown with other types of support. Place the tree in the hole so that the roots are pretty loosely and not suppressed or twisted.

Slowly put soil back into the pit and gently shake the tree to allow soil to distribute among roots. Every now and then gently squash or suppress soil with foot to avoid air pockets. When the pit is nearly full, use hoe to loosen soil at the edge of the pit.

At the end tie tree to a stake with a soft tape or other similar soft material. Put some soft material between stake and trunk, to prevent damages.

Fruit bushes such as blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are planted the same way as fruit trees, only stake is not used.