When Do You Plant Fruit Trees and Where Should You Plant Them?

by HollieT

Covers all aspects of where and when you should plant fruit trees. Includes links to planting zone maps and video footage.

Growing fruit is an enjoyable and rewarding past time for many people, and this is hardly surprising when you consider the amount of fruit which can be obtained from just one tree. In addition, the blossoms produced by fruit trees encourage an array of beautiful and beneficial insects into your garden.

Nevertheless, a recurring question asked by many would be gardeners is not 'How do you plant fruit trees?' but 'When do you plant fruit trees and where should you plant them?'

So, when do you plant fruit tress?

The usual response to this question is late fall, early winter or early spring. Having said that,those in countries which experience varying climates such as the US, should first establish which planting zone they reside in. Once the correct planting zone has been determined the young tree can be planted before the possibility of any ground frost occurs.

Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of planting their fruit tree during the long summer months. Summer is not a good time to plant your fruit tree as it is highly likely that new growth will appear before the onset of winter. Sprouting new growth can cause a great deal of stress to a young tree due to the amount of nutrients required for the new growth.

A new tree needs a substantial amount of nutrients to become established, therefore, when nutrients are used to sustain new growth, the health of the tree becomes threatened.

The importance of cross pollination and fertilisation.

In addition to considering when and where to plant fruit trees, you will also need to think carefully about the varieties that you choose because of cross pollination and fertilization. In other words, some fruit trees, such as many apple varieties, require cross pollination. Therefore, saplings need to be planted in groups of two or more, which are different varieties but must be compatible.

You may be surprised to learn that not all varieties of apple tree are compatible. The trees must also bloom simultaneously, as some varieties will bloom earlier than others.

Bees are responsible for much of the pollination process, so great care must be taken when using insecticides, they can harm the bees, your natural pollinator.

Planting citrus trees.

Citrus trees should be planted after the possibility of any ground frost has passed, spring is usually ideal. Choose a sunny position with well drained soil. Many citrus tree varieties thrive in climates which have long warm summers, however, they are only likely to survive if they are planted in regions that experience mild winters.

How to choose a fruit tree

Having considered pollination and the need, should you consider planting apple trees, to choose compatible varieties, you will also need to think about the height and spread of the tree. As well as ensuring that you have adequate space in your garden to accommodate a mature, well established tree, you will also need to consider accessibility for harvesting and pruning.

Where should you plant fruit trees.

In order for a fruit tree to thrive it needs to be planted and grown in the right conditions. Consequently, deciding where to plant your new sapling is of paramount importance.

There are a number of factors that need to be considered before eventually deciding on the ideal location to plant fruit trees which include, the size of the tree at maturity, proximity to buildings, drainage, quality of the soil and sunlight.

The size of fruit tree.

To plant fruit trees successfully, you will need to consider what type of fruit tree you have and think about the size it will eventually reach. For example, dwarf fruit trees will eventually reach up to eight feet in diameter and a semi dwarf fruit tree can reach up to fifteen feet in diameter. A standard fruit tree on the other hand, can grow up to thirty feet wide.


Like most plants, a fruit tree needs sunlight to survive, again however, this needs to be carefully considered. To plant fruit trees in a spot which is too often shaded, perhaps by a building, will threaten its survival, as will planting the tree in an area which receives constant sunlight. Try to find a spot which receives an adequate amount of sunlight but is also shaded for short periods during the day.

Watering, pruning and harvesting your new fruit tree.

Watering, pruning and harvesting are important aspects of caring for your fruit tree, therefore, after establishing which area in the garden receives the right amount of sunlight, you will need to decide if this area will also be practical for watering, pruning and harvesting. if you plant your fruit tree too near to a fence or building, then it may be difficult to reach particular parts of the tree when you need to.

Find a spot for the tree where it can be reached by a sprinkler system or hose, whichever you may use. Likewise, ensure that where you have planted your tree will give you suitable access to all of its branches when pruning.


Type of soil and nutrients.

Establishing what kind of soil you have in your garden is probably one of the most important considerations . It is pointless considering all the other aspects of where to plant fruit trees if the soil in your garden does not contain the correct nutrients required for the tree to grow. In addition, there must be enough drainage to ensure that the fruit tree does not 'drown.' The best way to establish the suitability of the soil is to have it tested at a garden center or nursery. When the soil has been analysed, you will be advised as to what nutrients may be lacking.

If the soil is lacking in essential nutrients, fertilizer can be obtained from a nursery or garden center which will supplement any deficiency. It may also be the case that the soil in your garden may contain high levels of some other nutrients. You can therefore, use this information to decide which type of fruit tree will be most suited to your garden.

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Treegator Junior Pro 15-Gallon Slow Release Watering Bag for Trees and Shrubs

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Updated: 03/04/2013, HollieT
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HollieT on 12/14/2012

Hi Sheri,

You are so lucky, I'd love to grow more exotic types of fruit in my garden. But living in the UK, we're really limited as to types we can grow because of our often appalling and very unpredictable weather. And thank you very much for linking to Squidoo article, that's very kind of you. :)

HollieT on 12/14/2012

2uesday, I have made the same mistake myself. A few years ago I had to have the fencing removed on one side of my garden (it was 6 ft high) and have it replaced with 4ft fencing panels because I could not get to back of the bush( it wasn't a fruit tree) to trim and prune and it and it wasforcing the fencing to lean into my neighbours garden, it was unsafe. So, much of this article is born from bitter experience! :)

Sheri_Oz on 12/14/2012

I love having fruit trees in my yard. Since moving to Israel I can get great exotic types. This is a good reference you have put together here and I'm linking it to my squidoo article on fruit trees.

HollieT on 12/11/2012

Thanks Katie,

Just wait until they start to bear fruit- there's nothing like eating fruit ir veg which you have grown yourself. :)

katiem2 on 12/10/2012

This is very helpful. My daughters talked me into buying a few apple, cherry and plum trees this past spring. We planted them in the spring.This is a helpful guide for future planting and care of fruit trees. :)K

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