GROWING GUIDE: Bare Root Fruit Tree Care

Bare root fruit trees offer an excellent, cost-effective way to start your orchard. However, proper care is crucial for their success. Follow these tips to nurture your bare root besties into fruitful companions.


Before Planting:

  • Timing: Plant when dormant, usually late winter or early spring in colder climates.

  • Inspect: Check for damage or disease on arrival. Keep roots moist and cool until planting.

Preparation: Choose a sunny, well-drained location. Dig a hole 2-3 times wider than the root spread, but only as deep as the roots.



  • Hydration: Soak roots in water for 2-4 hours before planting.

  • Pruning: Prune any broken or damaged roots. For smaller trees, consider a “whip” pruning, leaving only 3-4 buds.

  • Positioning: Place tree in the hole, spreading roots naturally. Ensure the graft union (bump on trunk) is above soil level.

  • Backfill: Fill the hole, gently firming soil around the roots. Create a berm around the base to hold water.

Watering: Water deeply and thoroughly after planting. Mulch around the base (but not touching the trunk) to retain moisture and suppress weeds.


Ongoing Care:

  • Watering: Water deeply and regularly, especially during the first two years. Aim for 1 gallon per week per square foot of canopy during the growing season. Adjust based on rainfall and soil conditions.

  • Pruning: Prune in late winter while dormant. Follow specific pruning techniques for your chosen fruit tree variety. Aim to create a strong, open structure that promotes good air circulation and sunlight penetration.

  • Fertilizing: Start fertilizing after the first year of growth. Use a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for fruit trees. Follow package instructions and avoid over- fertilizing.

Pest and Disease Control: Monitor your trees regularly for signs of pests or diseases. Address issues promptly with organic methods whenever possible.


Additional Tips:

  • Protect Your Trees: Use netting or cages to deter pests, especially young trees. Consider providing winter protection in harsh climates.

  • Pollination: Some fruit trees require a pollinator of a different variety to produce fruit. Research your chosen variety and plant accordingly.

Patience: Don’t expect immediate fruit production. It can take several years for young trees to mature and bear fruit.



By following these tips and providing consistent care, you can enjoy the delicious rewards of your bare root fruit trees for years to come! Remember, each variety may have specific needs, so research your chosen fruit tree for additional recommendations. Happy planting!