How to Plant & Care for a Bare Root Fruit Tree


Trees may be kept in a cool place packed in the box they arrived in safely for at least 48 hours. (Do not allow to freeze)  If trees cannot be planted soon after arriving, they may be heeled in and then later moved to a permanent location while still dormant.

Site selection

Select a planting site that receives at least 6 hours of full sunlight and is not subject to flooding (standing water lasting more than one day).  Mark tree locations before planting.  Semi-Dwarf Trees should be planted 12’ to 18’ apart.  Dwarf Trees should be planted 8’ to 12 ‘apart.  Remove sod 2-3 feet around planting site.


Soak roots in a bucket of water for a few hours while at the planting site.  Our trees tolerate a wide range of soils.  We recommend you contact your local state extension office for a soil test and site specific recommendations.  Soil amendments / organic fertilizers are generally not necessary at planting unless the planting site is very poor (high percentage of clay, sand or Rock).  Do not add chemical fertilizers at the time of planting.  Only fully composted organic matter may be used as fertilizer at the time of planting.  The hole needs only be big enough for full root system.  If the soil is hard and compacted it will be helpful to loosen the soil in the sides and the bottom of hole.  The graft union must be between 1” -2” ABOVE ground.  Fill hole with firmly packed soil to eliminate air pockets.  Water generously immediately after planting.  Remove tags from trees (especially metal tags) so they do not become embedded in an expanding trunk.  Dwarf trees may require ongoing support to prevent breaking at the graft union in high wind or while bearing fruit.  Semi dwarf trees do not require support, but it may be beneficial to train the tree to grow straight.

Protecting trees from animal damage

Mice, voles, Rabbits and deer will kill your fruit trees unless, you protect them.  Placing 4” corrugated perforated drain pipe around the trunk will protect your tree from rabbit and mice damage.  A 4’ to 5’ welded wire fence 4-6 ft. in diameter around your tree secured with T posts will effectively mitigate deer damage.


Water trees weekly if soil is dry for the first year.  Remove competition for water and nutrients by removing grass / weeds and mulching around tree.  Dwarf Trees may require ongoing irrigation after the first year.


Water trees weekly if soil is dry.  Trees should be inspected every few days for insects such as Japanese Beetle and Leaf Eating Caterpillar that can be fatal to trees in there first or second year.  Leaf eating insects are easily controlled with well-timed applications of Sevin, insecticidal soaps or neem.