planted on mounds or hills.
Pre plant - 3 months before planting, prepare soil by adding mulch and pelletised poultry,
or cow manure to the site. For pots a good premium potting mixed with about 10-20% of a
good loam soil will give the mix extra body and assist with holding water and nutrients. The
use of water crystals or a good soil wetter will assist in retention of moisture also.
Ensure the soil pH is between 6.0 and 6.5 for best results
Planting - Dig a hole twice the size of the nursery pot, do not tease the root system of
potted plants. If planting in a large pot we suggest 50 cm diameter minimum size. Do not put
fertiliser in the hole. A closed handful of blood and bone fertiliser mixed into the bottom of
the hole is fine.
If planting winter bare root trees look at the dirt mark on the base of the nursery tree and
plant this at the soil or potting mix level. For potted trees purchased in summer, plant the soil
level in the nursery pot level with your soil or potting mix and add a sprinkle of soil to cover
the roots in the nursery pot.
Fertilising young non bearing trees- The focus for the first 12-18 months is on building a
strong framework capable of bearing heavy crops. A good complete fertiliser or
composted manure is ideal. Give the tree a closed handful of fertiliser every 3 – 4 weeks
applied in a wide band from the drip line to within 30cm of the base of the tree. For pots use
half a closed handful. Do not apply fertiliser against the base of the tree as this may cause
tree death. An addition of a good trace element fertiliser twice a year is also important.
Fertilising bearing trees - From spring in year two from planting the focus now shifts back to
fruit production. Avoid fertilising during flowering and early fruit set with fertilisers high in
Nitrogen (N).( up to 15% is ideal). A good balanced fertiliser with high potassium (K) above
12% is ideal. Give the tree a closed handful of fertiliser every 3 – 4 weeks applied in a wide
band from the drip line to within 30cm of the base of the tree. For pots use half a closed
Watering - Fruit trees peak water demand is from when the first full leaf forms after trees
break dormancy. Not enough water at this time will cause poor fruit set and fruit
development. Continue to apply water in hot periods after harvest. Water needs will decrease
from April on and trees may only need a third of what is required during the growing season.
Be aware potted trees may need water more often than in ground trees sometimes every day
in hot dry periods.
Leaf removal - If leaf fall is not completed by mid June, strip leaves from trees. This is so the
tree achieves strong, even bud break in Spring, leading to larger fruit.
Pruning – Dwarf fruit trees require minimal pruning and only shaping of the tree is necessary
in winter time. For more specific information go to the pruning page on the PlantNet website.
Fruit thinning - For strong young trees up to 2 years old leave one fruit per lateral or twig.
For trees 3 years and older leave 1 fruit on small laterals and 2-3 fruit on thicker laterals. Aim
for 40-60 fruit per tree for strong healthy trees in year 3 and increase fruit numbers each year.
Pests and disease control information can be found on the www.plantnet/plant care page on
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