Because they’re dormant and leafless, they’re sold as bare-rooted trees at this time of year – with their root system all bundled up in a plastic bag – and these are cheaper to buy than the potted alternative. It also makes them easy to transport, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for at the nursery, check out mail-order nurseries and order direct.
Deciduous fruit trees need a nice sunny open spot – don’t stick one right next to the house or in a shady corner.
Remember they’re pretty and practical, especially when smothered in springtime blossom, so you can make a fruit tree a focal point of your backyard design.
Handle bare-rooted trees with a little extra care. Dig the hole about 30cm deep, and a little wider, then form a mound of soil in the base. When you un-bag the tree, shake off all the surrounding mix and rinse off the roots in a bucket of water.
Sit the tree in the planting hole and spread the roots out and over the mound of soil – then carefully backfill. Add a little manure as you go, to enrich the ground in preparation for the tree’s spring growth surge.
Water well and, if it’s in a wind-exposed spot, hammer in a stake so you can support the tree as it grows.