So, you bought a tree online – or, if you live in Wales, perhaps you collected your free tree from the respective Welsh local authority. Now what do you do?
Ordering the tree was the easy part. Now the tree is on its way to you. It is different from most online purchases because it is alive. So it deserves extra special care. Here in the northern hemisphere, the tree is now in its winter sleep. It has no leaves. This is the right time to plant fruit trees. Not in the spring! That would be too late.
So the fruit tree either arrived in a pot in which the roots are covered with compost, or it arrived bare-root. In the latter case, it will have to be planted as soon as possible. If not, the roots will dry out and the tree is more likely to die. How do you plant the tree? You can find comprehensive information on planting trees here, and there is a video here.
Let’s assume that you have found a good place to plant the tree. The most important factor is light: the tree needs to be in full sunlight. So, what are the main points to take care of when the tree starts showing signs of life in early spring?
- Right from the start, water the tree weekly with a gallon of water. Without water the tree is unable to re-establish its root system.
- Mulch the tree either with a coco mulch mat or with wet hay or straw.
- Finally, do not plant into grass, because grass is a killer of young fruit trees. Weeds and grass together near the trunk of the tree are even worse. The size of the area around the trunk of the tree to be kept free from grass and weeds needs to be 1 metre in diameter. Not just in the spring. For good root establishment, this area needs to be kept clean throughout the growing season during the first 3 years.
If you do all this, then the tree will do well, and fruit will follow in due course.