As summer draws to a close and the cool weather drifts in, it’s easy to think that gardening season is over. However, did you know that fall is the best time to plant fruit trees? With a simple planting process, you can set your fruit trees up for success.
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Why Add Fruit Trees to your Garden?
Growing apple or cherry trees, for example, can produce high yields with very little maintenance. Budget conscious? Fruit is a high value crop, and the taste of fresh-picked fruit can’t be denied.
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Why Plant Fruit Trees in the Fall?
Fall is a better time to plant fruit trees in climates with hot summers and ground that doesn’t freeze until December or later.
That’s because summer heat and dry weather can be taxing to a newly planted tree. In a hot climate, summer-planted trees need more water to get established, and rarely get enough to establish a strong root system.
On the other hand, a fall planting of fruit trees follows the natural growth cycle of the tree. During the fall and winter, a tree draws into a dormant stage, and it’s far better to transplant a tree during this stage.
I like to plant fruit trees using a permaculture technique called a fruit tree guild, in which the fruit trees are underplanted with plants that benefit them. For example, the under-plantings might naturally fertilize the soil while also providing mulch. Or they might provide nectar for pollinators and attract beneficial insects.
Read more about how I planted my cherry tree guild for pest control.
If your fruit trees will be fairly neglected and won’t be planted with compost or supporting plants, I recommend adding fruit tree fertilizer at the time of planting.
See my 5 steps to planting a fruit tree over at The Herbal Academy, and discover some of my favorite tips to help fruit trees thrive.
Hint: Plant them anytime! Though fall plantings are the best, planting fruit trees in the warmer months is still okay. Plant them on a cloudy day and keep them well-watered during their first season.
What fruit trees are you planting this year?
Looking forward to reading more of you blog. I have client who wants to grow fruit trees so was researching varieties and pests when I stumbled across your nicely written and thoughtful musings. I will forward to others
Thanks for reading! I’m glad you’re finding the info useful 🙂
Ashok .P .Shah says
To grow fruit in every garden must.one can only eat fruit directly when good need to cook. In time of drought or flood or any other natural calmites only fruit will feed human beings. When no gas or electricity one can eat fruits to satisfy hunger so one must grow fruits tree in Garden . Thanks for helping to grow fruits.
Please encourage to family to grow fruits every available place. No inflation and good for health and less medicine.
Todd Charske says
Love fruit trees wish I’d seen this earlier
Would I follow this advice for planting pecan trees too? Thanks!
Yes, these suggestions will work for pecan trees. Additional information can be found here.
How can I start a pomegranate tree my son love’s them and I have tried but nothing come from the seeds. I live in Lampasas tx.
Mikey Stein says
I love your newsletter: I do have 1 question now, we planted 4 apple trees 4 yrs ago, they are growing really nicely but as yet we have never harvested 1 apple. I pruned them in the late winter but did not cut enough off. ( a different question for later) right now do I need to buy 1 more apple tree that is a pollinator. Is this my problem?
It is not uncommon for an apple tree to take 4-6 years to bear fruit, depending on if it is a dwarf, semi-dwarf, or standard size tree. That said, I would look at the varieties you’ve planted and make sure that they are either self pollinating or that they are compatible with one another for pollination. If all of that checks out, I would suggest planting a fruit tree guild to attract more pollinators to your trees. More pollinators = more successful fruit set.
I have two apples I grew from seed- 2 years in grow bags, and they have recently been planted. Yes, I wont know exactly what fruit I’ll get, but if it’s anything like the harvest I will have from my 2 pip-grown peach trees this summer, it will all have been worthwhile.
I love to prove the know-it- all’s wrong. Believe me, you can grow your own fruit trees from the seeds you spit out, and eat their fruit too.
Laura Fleming says
My goal is to start a community garden with my visiting syblings my mom and dad who both still live on island.
We live on the island of Anguilla and we have a tenth of an acre to start this garden with hopes that the land owners of decades of unused valley land once used to grow corn and peas will be granted to bring the community garden to one full acre.
Anguilla is flat and made of limestone Caribbean Island with minimal rainfall. But the land in the valleys are rich red soil and support large mango groves and the like. I would like to introduce several American plants bushes, berries and herbs to the island.
Can I grow apples if I supplement the water here? Or even Almonds we have a local Caribbean Almond that is about a 1/4 the size of the Almonds commonly eaten in US. I need help and lots of it. This will be what my family and I leave behind to benefit generations to come.
I highly recommend growing native and tropical edibles that are well-suited for your climate rather than importing mainland American edibles. For the garden to succeed, you want crops that will thrive without constant maintenance and coddling.
I’m not entirely familiar with the climate and soil of Anguilla, so my recommendations will likely not be much use. What about date palm, mulberry, papaya, plantain, avocado, coconut, jackfruit, lychee, macadamia, cashew, guava, jujube, locquat, persimmon, pomegranate?
I love your article. I have a question: I am planting six fruit trees on a parking strip 200’x 5’. They will have to go in a row from East to West. Should I stagger the row or plant in a straight line down the middle? They will all be kept to dwarf size through pruning.
This sounds wonderful! I would probably plant them in a straight line if it were me. Find more tips in my article about planting in a parking strip. 🙂