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Questions & Answers: Planting Fruit Trees

By on November 20, 2008

Bare Root Fruit Trees from

Dear Peaceful Valley,

I live on Long Island, New York.
I live in a pine wooded area
I have cleared land for my organic garden and would like to plant some fruit trees.
I have fenced it in to prevent deer access.
My soil is sandy.
Can I mix in dirt and compost in the sandy soil for each tree?
But how deep and wide do I need to add materials compensate for the sandy location?
What fruit trees would grow in these conditions?
What fruit trees will bare fruit sooner than later?
And…the ones you say are appropriate…do I need a pollinator?

Am I still in time to plant?

Thanks and….


Dear Eilleen,

According to the USDA zone map we have and considering your particular micro-climate, You are probably in zone 5 or 6. Sandy soil is usually better drained than clay soil and adding compost will help with moisture retention. I like to prepare the planting hole only deep enough to accommodate the roots and twice as wide as the existing root system. When buying bare root fruit trees, always have the graft facing North and 2-3” above ground level.

Before deciding on the varieties you want, perhaps you could check with your local County Ag Extension Office to see if they have information on how many ‘chill hours’ you get on average during the dormant season. For example, if you go to our website and look at Braeburn Apple, you’ll see that it is cold hardy in zones 5-9 and the chill hours are 700. This means that the tree is hardy enough to grow in your area but if the chill hours are not satisfied (if it’s not cold enough for long enough), you won’t have fruit.

Most of the bare root trees we sell are semi-dwarf. This generally means the tree will fruit in its 3rd year. The bare root planting season is usually from December thru March.

Now the choices…. Because some people like their fruit sweet and some like it tart, it is always difficult to make suggestions. You can look at our website, item by item or we could send you a catalog. Once you’ve determined a particular variety is good in your zone & you have adequate chill hours, then check to see if it needs a pollinator. If it does and you’re limited on space, you can always plant both trees in one hole.

Hope this information helps, thanks for growing organically!

Nursery Manager

  Comments (1)


How long does a tree seed needs to dry before planting?

Posted by Ana Plascencia on May. 30, 2012 at 7:02:42 PM

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