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Fruit Tree Planting Tips – Family Plot

All right, Mr. D.,
let’s talk a little bit about planting fruit trees. What do we need to
start with that? Is this the time of
year to be doing that? – This is the time of year to be really getting involved
in planting fruit trees. It’s not the time of year to
stick the trees in the ground. But it is the time of the year
to be preparing your soil, making sure your pH is right, and choosing the varieties
that you’re gonna plant, and choosing whether– Doing research on whether
or not you need pollinators, figuring out how many you
need to feed a family of five or whatever, depending on
what you want to do with them. Going out and choosing the site. Now is the time to do that. You can do some site prep. Burn down, control
some weeds and grasses, go ahead and get
ready to do that. I’ve got some information
that might help with that a little bit. Get my glasses on here. Auburn has a real,
real good publication. (Chris laughing) – Yeah, he knows all about that. – I’ve copied a few things
from the publication, and it’s entitled Fruit
Culture in Alabama. If you have a sloped area
and you’re planting rows, don’t plant your rows
up and down the hills. Plant them on the contour,
because you don’t want to increase the chances
of gullies forming and things like that. In a landscape situation,
you don’t have to pay a lot of attention
to the spacings that I’m about to mention
because you kind of strategically place
these trees around to kind of help the aesthetic
nature of your landscape. This is for a family of five. Tree fruits and nuts,
five to eight apples. They recommend the
semi-dwarf apples. Five to eight peaches if
you want to go that route. Five to eight plums,
two to four persimmons, three to five pear trees,
four to six pecan trees. I really don’t understand
that on the pecans. And the spacings on
semi-dwarf apples, 15 to 25 feet apart. Because they’re gonna spread
and you want to be able to get between them, especially
with your riding lawnmower or your mower or your
bush hog and your sprayer and all that. Peaches, 20 by 20 or 15 by 20. Plums, same as
peaches, 20 by 20. Anytime there’s a choice, if you’ve got the room, go
to more distance between it because it’s amazing how
fast those trees will– – (Chris)
Spread out. – Overlap. Pecans, 60 by 60. That’s some of the
older pecan trees. There are some
precocious varieties, some smaller pecans
that you can plant a little bit closer than that. Pears, 20 by 20 or 25 by 30. Some of the pear trees
get a lot bigger. On pollination, most apples
need to be pollinated. Some of the yellow delicious
varieties are self-fruitful. Pecans are wind pollinated. Pecans need pollination. You need a type one with
a type two pecan tree. Plums, peaches, and
nectarines are self-fruitful. You don’t need
pollinators for that. Pears need cross pollination. You need two varieties
of pear trees. – When it comes time
to planting them, how do you go about it? – Okay, we’ve done all that, you’ve chosen your varieties,
you’ve ordered them, you’ve got them coming, the smaller plants you can
get, the better off you are, in my opinion. Two year old plants
are plenty big. So go out, you want to
dig a planting hole. If you’ve got bare root plants, it doesn’t have to
be that big a hole. It doesn’t need to be that deep. But the most important
thing when you’re planting any fruit tree is
that you make sure that you plant it no
deeper than the depth that it grew in the nursery. If it’s a grafted plant,
usually two or three inches of root stalk visible
above the ground. You can see where the
graft took and came out. You don’t want to cover that up, because if you plant
it too deep, it’ll die. Not that it won’t
do well, it’ll die, because the above ground
portion of a plant is supposed to
stay above ground. Don’t mulch it, don’t
pile mulch up against it. The above ground portion
of a hardwood plant is supposed to
stay above ground. It needs air. If you put it below the
ground, it will die. I can’t repeat that enough. Do not use a post hole
digger to dig a planting hole (Chris laughing)
for a tree. I don’t care if it’s
a little bitty tree. Do not use a post hole digger
because you’re gonna be, you’re gonna want to dig it
deeper than it needs to be dug. Use a shovel. – Uh oh! – You like that dirty shovel? Use a shovel. Dig a wide planting hole,
not a deep planting hole. Dig a wide planting hole. Dig it the depth that, if
it’s in a container or pot, dig it, take it out
the pot, set it down, and if it goes down
an inch, take it out, add dirt to the bottom, and
get it so it is the same depth that it grew in the nursery. Then you bring the dirt
around, put the topsoil, if it’s got any grass or
anything, I’d crumble that up, put it down first, and try
to make a little kind of dam well out away from the stem
or the base of the plant so that when it rains,
everything’s gonna settle down a little bit. Keep that in mind and if
you dug it way too deep and then you had to add a
lot of soil in the bottom, that’s gonna settle down
and it’s gonna wash in on it again, so
keep that in mind. You’ll actually want
it up a little higher if you have a lot of
loose soil in the bottom of your planting hole. – Put the native soil
back in the hole, right? It doesn’t have to be amended. – Right, it doesn’t
have to be amended. Put the native soil
right back in the hole. Do that and you don’t
have to stake it. If the plant, if it’s a
peach, plum, or nectarine, cut them off at 20 to 25 inches. If it’s an apple or
pear, it’ll be 25 inches. All you’re doing is
you’re telling that plant where the first limbs,
you want them to come out. And then if you’ve
got a real tall tree, I’d bring it down. – Can I ask you this, though? How do you pick the
right tree for your area, for your landscape? – I go to choosing
varieties for Tennessee. Small fruit cultivars
for Tennessee, PB-746. Dr. Lockwood up in
Knoxville put together a great publication. in it he’s got peaches,
varieties that are good for Tennessee, and
there’s a bunch of them. I’m not gonna read them
all unless you want me to. – We can get them
on the website. – Okay, put them on the website. Apples, I’ve got three,
four pages of peaches. Apples, not as many apples. Apples do better in
higher altitudes. We’re here in west
Tennessee in the Mid-South. Our altitude is the
lowest it is anywhere in the state of Tennessee,
but we can still grow apples. The thing I like
about this publication is it’ll also tell you
about the problems. And there are problems, fire blight and brown spot, and brown rot in peaches,
plums, and nectarines. There’s one section on apples,
disease resistant apples. In a home situation, I would
probably recommend that. Keep in mind, resistance
is resistance. Resistance is not proof. This publication will
tell you what varieties have proven that will
work in Tennessee. – So Mr. D., when do
we plant fruit trees? – Late winter. Late February, early
March is the best time, in my opinion, to put
them in the ground. – It’s an opinion I’d listen to. – I would too. Thank you much, Mr.
D., appreciate that. – Thank you.

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