A friend of mine recently got me thinking about fruit trees. Robin and I are next door neighbors with adjoining backyards and a mutual interest in growing food; we quickly became sort of built-in garden buddies when she and her family moved in a couple of years ago. We regularly exchange plants, information and inspiration, and she recently brought up a wonderful idea she’s had for her back garden.
This summer, Robin and her husband welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. In celebration of their daughter’s birth and anticipation of the coming years, she decided that she would like to plant a peach tree. I marveled at the brilliance of this sweet concept. The young tree will grow along with the girl, and ought to start bearing ripe fruit around the same time that she is old enough to pick and eat them herself.
In the three years since Logan and I bought our house, I have experimented widely with growing various fruits and nuts. By now I’ve collected a sizable array of failures and successes, as well as reading materials, which comprise my understanding of the topic. Having little experience with fruit trees herself, and having seen much of my journey up close, Robin asked me for a few tips and tidbits. The types of questions she asked got me thinking that, while I am no expert, my observations and ideas may be useful to some of you, as well. Having been inspired, I started thinking of the many ideas I would love to share with you all. It soon occurred to me that there was no way for me, in one blog post, to wander far enough into the world of fruit and nut trees to be satisfied. For that reason, I hope you will ‘bear’ with me (pun intended) as I explore this exciting topic over the next few posts.
For today, I will answer Robin’s first question, “When should I plant the tree?”
As it happens, August is a very good time to ask that question. It gives time to plan and prepare without having to have too much patience. While there are certain considerations connected to the variety of tree and method of planting (which I will discuss next time), for now I will assume that you are planting a young, healthy, bare roots tree. One of the key ingredients to success is time. You must give the tree enough time to become somewhat established in its new home before it is subjected to extreme temperatures.
While the obvious concern for those in cold climates is to get trees in the ground well before the onset of winter, those of us with hot summers have to be careful not to jump the gun. Though we may have different difficulties, the solution is happily the same. Planting your new trees in the early days of autumn should give them enough mild weather to adjust to their forever homes, provided you take care to protect them from any sudden changes.
Though you can have success when planting at less than ideal times, you will be rewarded for your patience. Trees that are given the opportunity to establish a strong root system require much less fiddly attention from their patrons. Luckily, gardening is an eternal lesson in patience, so I’m confident the practice will not be unbearable. And while you wait for the perfect moment, you can keep yourself busy reading all the fun tips and articles here at Spray-N-Grow.