Early Bird Tips for Bare-root Fruit Trees

Author: Meera, February 21, 2015



Planted a year ago as a bare-root tree, this Blenheim apricot produces lots of fruit

This Blenheim apricot will produce a lot of fruit



Gardeners understand that appearances can be deceiving. For example, during bare-root season (starting now in the Bay Area), twiggy fruit trees with no leaves are becoming plentiful offerings in local nurseries.



Bare-root trees are so-called because their roots are bare and packed in moist sawdust inside a burlap wrap. This makes it easy for the gardener to estimate the size of the planting hole (make the hole twice as deep and wide as the tree’s roots).



Plant two or three bare-root trees (select those that will pollinate each other for best results) in a single hole if space is a consideration. This is called high-density planting.



This two-year-old apple has been grafted with five varieties of apples

This two-year-old apple has been grafted with five varieties of apples



Consider a multi-grafted tree if you desire several types of fruit. Because the grafted trees use a basic tree and graft on scions of other varieties (often the same type of fruit such as apples), some branches will blossom and leaf out before others.



Another space saver in the garden is the espaliered tree. Choose a sunny place against a trellis, fence, or wall to train your tree, using wires for support. You will be directing its limbs to grow in a horizontal pattern.



All plants need water and food. During the winter, you may need very little water but in spring and summer check the soil often and when it’s dry down two inches, be sure and water your plant.



Fertilize your trees three times each year: after blossoming, after fruiting, and in the fall.



This row along a gravel path has a peach, an apricot, and a pomegranate tree

Planted in a row along a gravel path is a peach, a tea rose bush, an apricot, and a pomegranate tree




Prune your fruit trees in early winter, when the tree is dormant. With these early bird tips, your bare-root trees will get off to a great start.





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