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Bareroot Fruit Trees Arriving This Week...

 
Posts: 17
Location: New England, Zone 7a
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Hi everybody, my first post here though I've been lurking around a while. I have 7 fruit trees arriving this week that were delayed with shipping. I'm in Coastal New England (Zone 7a though our Spring arrives late and our falls tend to stick around due to the water surrounding my island).

I have apples, pears, and cherries arriving later this week and I;m still debating how I want to handle this. I know planting bare root trees this late in the season can be difficult as their underdeveloped root systems will have a hard time sustaining them. If I do plant them immediately, I think lots of irrigation and pruning their leaves (to reduce water needs) will be helpful. I also have access to large fabric pots, so I could plant them in those and keep them in a shadier protected spot for the summer and plant them out in the fall, though I've heard that Cherries MUST be planted in the spring. I'm a relative noob to fruit trees but I consider myself a fairly accomplished gardener. Any advice  on how to tackle this?

On the side, I have bare root strawberry and blueberry arriving too which I think I could get away with planting directly... let me know if this is a bad idea!

I appreciate any advice or knowledge you all can share, this forum is awesome. Thanks all!
 
pollinator
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My opinion is that in almost all cases it's best to plant the trees as soon as you get them. If your area gets scorching hot, irritation and a layer of wood chips on the surface can help.

For what it's worth, I've planted bare-root cherry trees in the fall, and they did just fine.
 
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I've never pruned the leaves on trees I plant late, so I can't comment on that.  I've never had a problem planting trees any time of year as long as I make sure they get plenty of water.  Spring is best because it gives them lots of time to get established, but I have planted trees all different times of year in Wisconsin and they are all growing well.  If I plant late in the year, I stake them to give them extra support to get through storms or the like.  I don't usually remove the supports until the following fall so that they have a full growing season to get good roots out, but other than that, I would get them in the ground and give them good deep watering twice a week until winter.

I planted bush cherries last year in late summer and all are doing well.  I have another Ranier Cherry that is supposed to be here next week, so I hope the spring planting thing doesn't hold true.
 
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Hi Aaron, welcome to Permies!

If those were my trees, I'd plant them immediately. A little supervision this summer and water when necessary is all that is needed to keep things from drying out. I have planted a number of fruit trees over the last four or five years, and here's what I've learned. My best results and happiest trees are the ones that I planted and refilled the hole with the same native soil that I dug out, and watered in with a mycorrhizal inoculant. No added peat moss, no mulch, no compost, no worm casting, no bagged soils, no organic matter, no fertilizer,.... you get the idea, no soil amendments. I just use the same soil and a bacteria/fungi soil inoculant (I use MycoGrow). I have in the past added all sorts of things to the soil I refilled the holes with, and the trees just never did great, which sounds counterintuitive, but that's been my experience so I abandoned what wasn't working well.

I see in your post you are considering pruning leaves, and I advise against that. While less leaves does indeed mean less water transpired, it also means less photosynthesis, less sugars manufactured, less energy gained from the sun, and less resources to get established. Those trees need those leaves to get the energy needed to grow roots. I planted new trees this spring and last fall, and while they have leaves and look good, right now my trees don't appear to have grown any, which is deceiving. They are growing, underground, harvesting sunlight and carbon from the air, making sugars and sending those back down the trunk to the roots, where they are using some of the energy to grow new roots and also sharing some of those sugars with the mycorrhizal fungi living in the soil, which in turn are helping the tree by accessing and handing over minerals in the soil. It's still somewhat early in the season here in the northern hemisphere, and maybe my trees will grow a little bit above ground later this summer.

I think you're trees (and other plants) will do just fine summer with a little watering during times when the rain doesn't come soon enough to do the job for you. Hope this helps!
 
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Aaron Lowe wrote:Hi everybody, my first post here though I've been lurking around a while. I have 7 fruit trees arriving this week that were delayed with shipping. I'm in Coastal New England (Zone 7a though our Spring arrives late and our falls tend to stick around due to the water surrounding my island).

I have apples, pears, and cherries arriving later this week and I;m still debating how I want to handle this. I know planting bare root trees this late in the season can be difficult as their underdeveloped root systems will have a hard time sustaining them. If I do plant them immediately, I think lots of irrigation and pruning their leaves (to reduce water needs) will be helpful. I also have access to large fabric pots, so I could plant them in those and keep them in a shadier protected spot for the summer and plant them out in the fall, though I've heard that Cherries MUST be planted in the spring. I'm a relative noob to fruit trees but I consider myself a fairly accomplished gardener. Any advice  on how to tackle this?

On the side, I have bare root strawberry and blueberry arriving too which I think I could get away with planting directly... let me know if this is a bad idea!

I appreciate any advice or knowledge you all can share, this forum is awesome. Thanks all!




I would put them in pots and keep an eye on them. I would make sure they get some sun, but some shade. I've planted potted cherries in the fall with no problem.
 
pollinator
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I would plant them in the ground but with temporary shade. As much shade as possible for around 5 days then gradually less.

Plastic lawn chairs and cardboard boxes make good temporary shade.
 
Aaron Lowe
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Location: New England, Zone 7a
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Wow thanks everyone for the inputs! Four of my 7 trees arrived this evening and they looked a little dry around the root balls (the sphagnum they were packed with was still damp though). I was caught off guard as the shipping said it would be another 2 or 3 days... So I quickly potted them into 5 gallon pots and gave them a good soak. Based off most of your recommendations it sounds like I should get them in the ground as soon as possible though! My planting site for them is mostly full sun (at least from 10-5), right now I have them in pots in a shady area to get acclimated.

Would I be best served to transplant them soon into their final homes? I figured to temporarily home them in a shady spot since they had already broken dormancy and had some small buds opened on the branches. I guess my big question is "can I get away with replanting them twice within a month?"

Thanks you guys!
 
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Ken W Wilson wrote:As much shade as possible for around 5 days then gradually less.

Plastic lawn chairs and cardboard boxes make good temporary shade.



I'll often tack up a quickie shelter of four posts and a piece of shade cloth, with it draping over the west side to shade the tree from the hottest sun in the afternoon.  Avocados are prone to sun-scald their first year in the ground.  I leave the structure up for the hottest part of year, and then take it down around Thanksgiving.

It doesn't have to look pretty -- just effective.
 
Trace Oswald
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Marco Banks wrote:

Ken W Wilson wrote:As much shade as possible for around 5 days then gradually less.

Plastic lawn chairs and cardboard boxes make good temporary shade.



I'll often tack up a quickie shelter of four posts and a piece of shade cloth, with it draping over the west side to shade the tree from the hottest sun in the afternoon.  Avocados are prone to sun-scald their first year in the ground.  I leave the structure up for the hottest part of year, and then take it down around Thanksgiving.

It doesn't have to look pretty -- just effective.



Good advice.  I do that with my Paw Paw trees.  They don't like sun much for a few years.
 
Trace Oswald
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My bare root Ranier Cherry tree arrived yesterday, so it will be going into the ground tonight.  We'll see how it turns out.
 
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