Last Updated on September 23, 2022
Should we be planting fruit trees in fall? Yes, we should!
Planting fruit trees in autumn guarantees better tree growth and a bountiful fruit harvest for years to come.
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Many of us are accustomed to planting our vegetable gardens in the spring and harvesting late in the summer and early in the fall.
We know that planting bulbs and perennials before winter comes means that plants get off to a better start in the spring.
But what time of year is best to plant fruit trees? Is it better to plant fruit trees in the fall or spring?
Let’s learn when to plant fruit trees.
Can You Plant Trees in the Fall?
Unlike many other plants, fruit trees can be planted at any time during the growing season.
However, fall is the best time of year to plant your fruit trees.
When the fruit trees are planted in the fall instead of in the spring, your plant will have the chance to settle in before it begins flowering and producing fruit.
Advantages of Planting Fruit Trees in the Fall
There are many advantages to planting fruit trees in the fall, especially for those who live in a warmer climate. Some of these advantages include the following:
1) Roots have a chance to settle in
When fruit trees are planted in the spring, they are ready to flower and produce seeds. This means that the plants are using their energy to produce fruit instead of establishing roots.
The big advantage of autumn planting is that the tree roots are growing in the winter time as long as the soil is not frozen, so your tree has a better start in spring.
2) Less watering required
You can’t just plant a fruit tree and leave it to fend for itself. You need the right conditions, frequent watering is one of them!
When planted in the fall, the temperatures are cooler, which means the fruit trees won’t require as much water to stay healthy.
3) Less stress for the tree
When fruit trees are planted in the fall, they are less stressed because they aren’t trying to establish roots, produce fruit, and keep cool all at the same time. When the trees are under less stress, they are more likely to develop good roots and be healthy.
When is it too Late to Plant Fruit Trees in the Fall?
While the ideal time to plant new fruit trees is from Mid-August to Mid-October, that time frame isn’t strict.
Generally speaking, if there are still leaves on the trees in your area, you can plant new fruit trees.
A soil thermometer can tell you for sure. Measure your soil temperature where you want to plant the fruit tree for a few mornings in a row. If the soil is above fifty degrees Fahrenheit each day, then you are still safe to plant your new fruit tree.
Tips on Planting Fruit Trees in the Fall
When it comes to planting your fruit trees in the fall, there are a few tips that you should consider before you get started.
1) Choose the right trees
When you choose the varieties of fruit trees that you want to plant, ensure that they are hardy and tolerant of your growing zone.
The best place to find state specific information on suitable fruit trees for your area is the cooperative extension office. Click on this List of the cooperative extension offices in all 50 states and find a website that provides gardening information for your state.
You can also observe what fruit trees your neighbors are growing and ask them some questions about how productive those trees are, are those fruit trees are easy to take care for, do they have any pest problems, etc.
Choosing the right fruit trees for your climate will save you from frustration and disappointment in the future.
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2. Consider Pollinators
Many fruit trees require a pollinator to be able to produce fruit, so be sure that you plant more than one fruit tree, or you might find yourself disappointed when your tree doesn’t produce any fruit in the spring.
3. Space appropriately
On average, most fruit trees need to be spaced about eight to ten feet apart, with about twelve feet between the rows to ensure optimal growth. However, this can vary depending on the species, so read the label on your fruit tree to be sure you aren’t planting your trees too closely.
4. Dig the right size hole
When you dig the hole, you will plant your fruit tree in, ensure that you dig it two to three times the diameter and one and a half times the depth of the container that you bought your tree in. incorporate lots of compost into your soil prior to planting to help with root establishment.
5. Don’t fertilize
If you fertilize in fall, you encourage trees to produce leaves instead of setting deep roots.
It’s better to fertilize trees in spring to help with bloom and leaf production.
6. Don’t forget the mulch
When your tree is planted, add two to three inches of mulch to your plant’s base. This will help the freshly planted fruit tree retain moisture while also protecting the root ball from the winter cold.
Best place to buy fruit trees online for autumn planting
In my personal expirience, a good place to get your fruit bearing trees and bushes is Nature Hills nursery.
A lot of their fruit trees are 3-5 years old and will be bearing tasty fruit for you in no time!
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Wonder what else you can plant in your garden?
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Final thoughts on planting fruit trees in autumn
Planting fruit trees is not about getting instant gratification. It is a labor of love that requires a bit of work and planning to reap the benefits. When you spend time planting fruit trees in the fall, you are setting yourself up for years of delicious fruit in your future.
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