Posted by Kyle
One of the first projects we took on when we moved to the country (aside from an extensive interior reno) was planting fruit trees. We did this because on average fruit trees take about 3 years to bear fruit and we didn’t want to waste any time.
Since we moved here mid-June we took advantage of end of season sales at our local Canadian Tire and Home Depot stores and picked up 10 trees to start. Being that we live in Manitoba (growing zone 3a with temps as low as -40C/F) our options for fruit trees are limited to 5 varieties: Apple, Pear, Plum, Apricot and Cherry. So we got them all.
Fruit trees need a partner to cross pollinate with so we got two trees of each variety. This is very important if you want to have fruit! We planted them on what we call “the other acre.” This will be the site of our garden beds next year so we wanted to keep the food in one place (if you look at our site header photo it is the area on the left of the pic). It will also make it nice and simple for our bees to find when we take delivery of our colonies in the spring, CAN’T WAIT!!!
As I discovered while trenching a line for our in-ground dog fence – our soil is very dense clay. Not ideal for growing but does tend to hold moisture so the drought risk is reduced. Our plan is to add to these trees next year so fingers crossed that they take to their new home!
The planting process itself is pretty simple. Grab your trusty spade and dig a hole about twice as wide and as your pot. Make sure it is deep enough to take the root ball and I usually dig it down a little further and backfill with fresh soil. Your soil conditions might not require this but mine definitely did. Plop your tree in the hole, fill with soil and then pack it down in there. Sometimes it can be helpful to break up the roots a bit if they are very densely packed. If you don’t push it down the wind can actually blow them right out. Finally you will have to give the tree a solid soak right after planting and every day following, especially if you’re having a hot summer like the one we just had. I babied these guys for a solid month before I was satisfied they weren’t going to wilt and die.
I will post an update in the spring on how they fared this winter. It is supposed to be a “Classic Canadian” winter which I’m pretty sure is media speak for cold and snowy. Wish us luck.