Planting Your New Trees
Spring planting is recommended in zone 5 and colder. Warmer zones can plant in the fall as well. Trees can be planted in the spring as soon as the frost has left the ground.
Plant trees only deep enough to cover the topmost root with an 1-2" of soil. Planting trees too deep can result in poor growth and even kill the tree. Dig a hole large enough to spread out the roots horizontally away from the trunk of the tree. Even with well-established trees, most roots are located in the top 18" of soil. If soil is fairly compacted now is a good time to loosen the top 18" of soil extending out past the roots, to allow for easier root growth in the future. Do not amend the planting hole with "better" soil or other organic amendments. Replacing the native soil often gives better results than trying to create better soil just around the roots.
Fruit trees require soil that drains well, do not plant in low areas that remain overly wet for extended periods of time. Do take the time to fully water in trees at planting time, even if the soil is already wet. This initial watering helps to settle the soil and remove larger air pockets around the roots.
Full sun is preferred for fruit trees. A minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight is required for fruit trees to be the most productive. If you have to choose between early day sun or later in the day, the early morning sun is preferred. Morning sun allows the tree to warm quicker when frost is present and reduces the incidence of disease on the trees leaves and fruit when they are wet from dew.
If conditions require a delay in planting keep the trees in a cool place, preferably colder than 50 degrees. Make sure roots stay damp and do not allow them to dry out prior to planting.
Make sure to use screen and/or fencing to protect young trees. Rabbits and deer can cause serious damage to unprotected trees.
Healthy root ball on a ready to plant apple tree.