Here are some general steps in planting and caring for a new tree. You first need to decide what kind of fruit tree you want to plant, and where you want to plant it. If you buy a young tree from the nursery, take care when you are transporting it on the way home. Once you have gotten the tree safely to your home premises, inspect the root plate to gauge how large the hole you need to dig will be. Also, make sure you double check the leaves and branches to rule out any signs of disease.
You should dig the hole twice as wide as the diameter of the root plate and just a little less deep to allow enough room for the soil that you dug out earlier, to be put back in. Otherwise, you could end up with a large amount of soil, with which you have nowhere to put it. Before putting the soil back in, it's a good idea to sprinkle some fertilizer or compost into the hole just so that the soil gets some buffering. Your tree will also need the extra nutrients during this transitional period. When all is ready, set the tree into the hole, and spread the roots out evenly, making sure the tree is stable and secure. If necessary, prop it up for a week or so using some wooden stakes so it doesn't topple over.
If you do use wooden stakes, tie the tree to it with some rope, being careful not to tie the rope too tightly, since the tree needs room to grow. How long the stakes should be left on? When the tree appears stable and sturdy enough to hold its position through most types of weather conditions, you can remove the stakes. After the stakes come off, you should mulch around its base. If you live in an area where there are frequent wildlife sightings, consider putting up a fence around your tree, because some animals can strip the bark off your tree!
The fact of the matter is that pests can ruin your plantings if you're not vigilant enough. Pests can be large or small, seen or unseen. Bugs, caterpillars, raccoons, moles, certain species of birds, and deer, all these can turn out to be pests, given the moment. The most destructive pests are certain kinds of bugs and moth larvae; these usually eat the leaves of your tree, and in heavy infestations, can kill your tree within a couple of weeks. To help keep these pests away, keep the surroundings of the tree free of decaying plant debris, as these can breed bugs that may consider your tree a much more attractive option, and perform regular inspections for any tell-tale signs of infestation. Some spraying of chemicals may be carried out, as long as you use them very sparingly, and only if the threat or infestation is serious.
To make sure that your tree always stays healthy, try pruning it during winter or early spring. These are the times when your tree is not really expanding a lot of energy to grow, and so the impact is lesser. When it comes to watering your tree, stick to once a week, although when you first plant it, you may water it once every few days, especially if the weather is hot, and the soil drainage is good. When mowing your lawn, be careful not to hit it with the lawn mower; your tree may suffer irreparable damage!
If you planted a fruit tree, remember that it takes on average, 3 to 5 years before you actually get to see any fruit. This is certainly the case with apple trees . It's not really such a long time to wait, and if you tend to its needs now, it will grow strong and healthy, and thus capable of bearing good fruit later on. You should not worry if your tree takes a while to bear fruit, because some years, healthy trees may not seem to bear as much fruit as other years. This is perfectly natural, and not something to be alarmed about. Just don't forget to enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Jamie Woo is a prolific writer and designer who is very much into gardening, bonsai, and healthy lifestyles. He guests blogs for a number of blogs and is also a co-writer on Gardening Site