Spring is the best time to plant fruit trees. Nurseries and garden centers have both bare root and potted trees ready to plant. Either type of tree is equally good, but bare root trees are typically less expensive to purchase. For apple trees, choose trees that are on a dwarfing rootstock.
These trees will take much less space and are easier to prune, spray and harvest. Once you bring your tree home, plan to plant it right away unless the forecast is for very cold weather. Keep the roots of bare-root trees moist. Keep the soil of bare-root trees moist until planting.
A suitable location for fruit trees is where the tree will receive full sunlight for most of the day. Sunlight is essential for good tree growth and production. Do not plant fruit trees directly beneath powerlines.
Once the site is identified, dig a hole wider than deep and one that will accommodate the root system of the tree. Set the tree in the hole and orient so that the trunk is perpendicular to the soil.
The graft union of the tree must be two to three inches above the final soil line. Do not bury the graft union in the soil. Backfill the hole with the original unamended soil and water the tree immediately.
Fruit trees benefit from a stake placed adjacent to the tree to prevent wind whipping and protect the trunk. Spread mulch around the tree to a radius of three feet to keep the soil moist and prevent weed growth.