Bare Root Fruit Trees

Before Planting:

If you cannot plant your fruit trees immediately make sure the roots stay moist by packing them into damp wood shavings, bark mulch, compost, peat moss or soil.

Pruning to Shape and Repair:

With sharp, disinfected hand pruners, cut back any extremely long branches (cut up to 1/3 off) to promote a bushy, well balanced shape.  Always cut away a branch that crosses or rubs against another; cut any branches that grow into the centre of the shaped tree; cut any damaged branches to a healthy bud.  Make a slanted cut just above an outfacing bud.  Prune the roots if there are any frayed ends, split sections or crushed roots.  The tree will heal quickly and protect itself naturally from bacterial or disease infections if the cuts are made clean and sharp.  Ken-Dor nursery staff are willing to do this pruning task if you prefer.

Where to Plant:

Select sunny, well-drained positions.  Plant your trees no closer than 15 feet apart, and no further than 50 feet apart (no other trees or buildings should be in between).  Plant your apple trees in an area together; also plant your cherries together and so on.  This planning is to aid the insects in their pollination of the spring blossoms and to provide an optimal site for the orchard to thrive for years.

Dormant Spray

If planting in late fall, spray your fruit trees with dormant spray (horticultural oil and lime sulphur) three times during the winter to clean off fungus diseases and over-wintering insect eggs.  Doing this reduces the potential amount of spraying that is required in spring and summer.


After the new, spring leaves are open, a very light application of (organic) fruit tree fertilizer will help to generate more foliage (careful! – too much fertilizer will burn the tender roots and leaves).  Repeat light applications of fertilizer every two months throughout the growing season (April to Nov.) Dolopril lime should be sprinkled around the tree once every fall or spring to counteract our acidic soils.  Remove the fruit that tries to develop as this commitment is an added strain to the tree while trying to establish a root system and branches.  Keep the weeds and grass 2 or 3 feet away from the young tree; they will rob nutrients and water.  Your new trees should be bearing fruit by the 2nd or 3rd summer after planting.