How To Select and Plant Fruit Trees

Everything you need to know for a sweet harvest
Photo by jeanhoffmann / Getty Images Plus

January and February are the best months for planting most trees, and it’s the ideal time to start a food forest in your yard.

What’s a food forest? It’s a mix of trees and shrubs that produce edible fruit and nuts.

Of course, the first rule of edible gardening is to plant what you like to eat.

The second rule is work smart, not hard: It’s easier on you and the trees to plant in cooler months.


1.  Deciduous fruit trees, meaning those that lose their leaves in winter, should be planted now.

They include figs, persimmons, chestnuts, pecans, apples, pears, peaches and plums. It’s also a good time to plant blueberries.

Make sure you select varieties that do well in our area. Local nurseries and your county extension office can guide you on the best varieties.


2.  Make sure you plant the tree no deeper than it was in its pot and loosen the root ball if it has become wound around itself.


3.  Build a berm of soil about two feet out from the trunk all the way around to create a basin so the water will drain into the root zone.

Keep the soil uniformly moist but not soggy. An inch of water every other day for several weeks should help it get established but watch the weather.

If it turns hot early, you’ll need to water more.


4. Wait until mid-April to plant citrus trees, or else be prepared to baby and protect them until all danger of frost has passed.

Even citrus labeled “cold hardy” must be protected for the first two years to get established.


Categories: Gardening