How to Establish Fruit and Nut trees in a Harsh Environment

Gardeners, who live on farms large or small, or in country towns, or on exposed hillsides, all know how difficult it can be to establish new trees. The wind, heat and bony soils combine to repel the fruit tree gardener’s best efforts. When next you plant a fruit tree try it like this.


  1. Plant hardy deciduous fruit trees when they are dormant in the winter. June or July are the best months.
  2. Select trees that have big root systems. Trim the branches substantially to get the right balance between bud number and root mass.
  3. Plant the trees so that there is at least 20cm of soil below the roots. The roots should be covered by 50mm of soil at the completion of planting.
  4. Plant your tees early in winter and they will make a lot of root growth while the top is still dormant. Then when leaf-out occurs in spring your tree will already have a good toehold.
  5. When spring growth begins apply water and fertiliser:
  6. If water is limited, use it accurately. Place one 8 litre or two 4 litre per hour drippers very close to the trunk of the tree. Use pressure compensated drippers, but not adjustable drippers.
  7. Use a timer on the tap. Measure the flows at a few sample drippers and set the timer so that each new tree gets at least 30 litres once a week, every week.
  8. Put a peck of complete fertiliser under the drippers from time to time and watch your tree go!

4 thoughts on “How to Establish Fruit and Nut trees in a Harsh Environment

  1. Do you have any Australian finger lime trees at present, I would prefer the newer variety that will grow in a tub, this was shown on “Gardening Australia” recently.

  2. What lemon would you suggest for clay soil ph 8.0 – 8.5 in the Adelaide hills (Meadows) and when best to plant?

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