There are countless reasons for growing fruit trees – harvesting homegrown fruit, being in control of your food supply, the sense of pride of growing your own, and so on.
When learning about how to grow fruit trees, there are some key things to keep in mind. In this portion of the four-part growing guide, we will go over caring for your plants and trees until you are ready to plant them.
Acclimating Potted Trees
Since our potted fruit trees and plants are grown in the controlled environment of our greenhouses, they may arrive to you already sporting tender new growth. This growth can be sensitive to things like direct sunlight and sudden changes in temperature, so acclimating your plants to their new environment will help provide a great start.
Things that may cause injury to tender new growth in transplants:
- Temperatures (below 50ºF or above 90ºF)
- Frost snaps
- Strong/direct sunlight
We strongly recommend following the acclimation process prior to planting trees that are leafed out and not dormant.
- Upon arrival, keep your trees in the pots they arrived in and place them in a sheltered, shady spot outdoors — like on a back porch. Leave them there for 3 to 4 hours and gradually increase the time spent outside by 1 to 2 hours per day. Bring them back indoors each night.
- After 2 to 3 days, begin transitioning the fruit trees from their shaded spot to one that provides some morning sun. Return them to the shade in the afternoon. If this conflicts with your schedule, try moving the trees to an area that receives filtered sunlight instead, which is less intense than direct sun. Be sure still to bring them indoors again overnight.
- Water regularly as needed to keep the roots from drying out. If the soil in the pots is dry to the touch, then you know it’s time water. You may occasionally mist the leaves with water since the environment indoors is drier than outdoors.
- Observe foliage daily. If signs of leaf injury appear prior to planting, move the trees back into filtered sunlight and start from the first step again. Proceed to the second step when conditions improve.
- After 7 days, your trees should be able to handle the outdoor conditions, as long as temperatures are expected to stay between 50ºF and 90ºF. If daytime temperatures are expected to drop within the next day or so, continue to repeat the second step. Monitor your trees, and the weather, until conditions are more suitable for planting outdoors.
- After 7 to 10 days, and if the weather conditions are right, your fruit trees are ready for planting in their permanent location.
For best results, try to plant on a cloudy day.
What to Do If You Can’t Plant When Your Order Arrives
It’s not always possible to plant immediately when your order arrives. Here are some tips for how to delay planting your trees and plants.
When your Stark Bro’s order arrives, it’s best to be prepared to plant your new additions within a day or so. We understand, however, that sometimes you’re simply not ready to put them in the ground right away.
If the weather is unfavorable, or you don’t have time or help to plant right away, still be sure to open the box containing your order. Potted plants and trees can be placed by a sunny window and treated like a houseplant until you are ready to put them in their permanent location.
When opening bare-root packaged plants, you will see strips of damp paper around the roots. Make sure the paper remains damp but avoid drenching it. Wrap the bare-root plants and trees in the shipping plastic and store in a cool, dark place, like an unheated basement, cellar, garage or shed.
It is ideal to store bare-root trees at a temperature of 40ºF, but anything under 60ºF should work for a short period of time. This method will help keep your bare-root trees dormant so you can safely delay planting for up to a week.
*Note: This is part 1 of 4 Articles*