Care on Arrival
Trees may be kept in a cool dark place out of the box with the roots in the bag for a week. Check that the roots are moist. If the soil is too sloppy or frozen, heel in the plants (cover the roots) with moist soil or sand in a shady place to protect the roots from freezing. It is particularly important to keep fig, pecan, persimmons and pomegranate roots moist, but not soggy! If the roots seem dry, soak them for a few hours before healing them in. Trees must be planted before they leaf out.
Where to Plant
Fruit, nut trees and vines require a minimum of 6 hours of the sun per day during the growing season; stone fruits do better with even more. In the hottest climates, partial shade during the warmest part of the day can improve the texture of apples; pruning for a denser canopy can achieve the same result. Trees to be espaliered (trained two dimensions) will give the best fruit if planted on the east or north facing walls in hot climates while in cooler climates a west or south facing wall is preferred. If fruit trees are planted in a lawn, be sure not to sprinkle the trunks and plant high to provide good drainage for the crown.
Experts advise not to add amendments to the native soil in the planting hole. This will avoid creating a clay pot in heavy soil that will impede root growth into the surrounding soil. If your soil is poor, fertilizer on the soil surface. High-quality compost is recommended. Chemical fertilizers or fresh manure in the hole can burn the roots. Apply a moderate amount of fertilizer such as fish meal or blood meal to the soil surface and water in before the growing season. Another light application in late June is desirable if growth is not vigorous. Fertilizing late in the season can delay dormancy.
Planting in the Ground
Dig a hole slightly larger than the root system of the tree. For maximum growth, do not prune the roots. Plant the trees with the graft line 2 or 3 above the surface of the soil. It is best to plant on a slight mound in high rainfall areas. This will prevent water standing around the trunk which can lead to water damage collar or root rot. Avoid air pockets around the roots by slightly tamping down the soil. (See planting illustration on back) Water trees thoroughly after planting. Do not water figs, pecans, pomegranates, almonds, cherries and persimmons again until they start to leaf out. One exception is if the soil has dried out prior to leafing out then add a supplemental watering. Use stakes to keep trees upright in windy areas, to anchor dwarf trees or to protect from weeding equipment. Staking a semi-dwarf or standard tree is often not necessary.