Every year Utah farmers and gardeners plant new fruit trees. Some are planted as bare root trees and others were planted from pots. Hopefully, by now your small tree has leaked out and is showing good signs of life. Following our six precautions to take with your tender new fruit trees.
One- make sure the graph union is above the final soil line. If the graph union was placed below the soil line, it is not too late to loosen the soil and pull the tree up so the graft union is two to three inches above the soil.
Two- make sure your little trees get adequate water. Watering them twice per week should be enough. Each time gives each tree two to three gallons of water in reservoir built around the tree.
Three- protect the base of the tree from mowers and string trimmers by keeping any other vegetation away from the trunk. Adding a layer of mulch and a doughnut fashion around the tree will help keep weeds from growing and will retain water and reduce soil heating.
Four- young trees need an initial pruning and it isn't too late to prune. Remove any very weak or damaged branches. You may need to reduce the tree height by making an initial cut about 40 inches above the soil line. Choose four to five strong side branches to keep as permanent scaffold branches. Remove any branches below about 30 inches.
Five- trees that are smaller than a half-inch in diameter will benefit from staking. Place a stake or post about two inches from the tree on the windward side and fasten the tree loosely to the post or stake.
Six. If your tree produces flowers this year, remove them. Young trees do not have the resources to grow both fruit and branches.
Paying attention to these details now will pay huge dividends down the road.