Planting trees and shrubs correctly enables them to take root and build a stable foundation.
As a general rule, fruit trees should be planted 15-20 feet apart, blackberry & raspberry plants 2-3 feet apart, and blueberry plants 5-6 feet apart.
You may plant your tree during cold weather, but daytime temps should be above freezing.
First, dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as needed. Use your shovel to roughen the bottom and sides of the hole so that the roots can easily penetrate the soil. Avoid smooth surfaces that can prevent root growth.
Next, remove the tree from the container and untangle any long roots that are wrapped around the root ball. Trim and position them outwards.
Combine 25% compost or planting mix with 75% of the soil you dug out for your tree and then mix the two together. Now put them back in the bottom half of the hole. Fill the hole 3/4 full of water first, then place the tree in the hole, making sure the soil level matches the base of the roots and below the graft.
Fill the hole up with the remaining soil/compost mixture and then add more water to prevent air pockets. Tamp the soil gently as you fill to remove any air gaps.
TIP: During the first year, you will need to water your tree more often than a well-established tree. The first two weeks after planting will be the most crucial to survival, so keep your trees properly irrigated. Before watering, test the soil with your finger to see if it is dry. Too much water can prevent root growth and drown the tree just as too little water will dehydrate it. It is better to let the first few inches of soil dry out and then water deeply and thoroughly between watering rather than keeping your tree on a drip system.
Finally, spread some natural materials like wood chips, pine needles, leaves, etc. over the planting area, leaving a small gap around the trunk. This will help to conserve water and prevent weeds and grass from growing near the tree.
TIP: If the wind is too strong, you may need to support your tree with a stake for a while. Otherwise, a stake is not required.
TIP: Your tree is already fertilized. You will not need to fertilize for several months. Optimal times to fertilize are in early spring when the tree begins to leaf out. And again in late summer after fruiting. Be careful not to add too much fertilizer, which will burn the tree. Slow-release fertilizer is best in the first year.
As your tree grows, you may encounter challenges unique to your area. We suggest reaching out to your local agricultural extension agents to get expert advice for your pest, weather-related issues and soil questions. They can advise and give you the best recommendations for your area.