Planting tips and tricks

Whether it’s a lime tree in the back corner or a blueberry in the front garden, planting fruiting trees is its own reward.

Plant them as hedges, or use them feature trees in your garden. They will provide you with delicious home-grown fruit, and bring ornamental value to the garden too.

Growing your own orchard is easy. Here’s the five most important things to consider when starting a home grown orchard:

  • Location
  • Soil
  • Planting
  • Staking
  • Maintenance

light-bulb-icon@2x.png Growing fruit tree basics


Give your fruit trees the best possible start and you’ll be rewarded with strong, healthy productive trees.

Here are our top tips for growing an orchard at home:

Choosing the right location

Most edible plants require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.


  • Watch your backyard throughout the day to ensure you select an area with adequate light.
  • Remember that the sun is lower in the sky in Winter and the shadows will be different to Summer. Try to position your fruit trees so they receive year-round sunlight.


Preparing the soil

To ensure fruit trees establish well, you need to prepare the soil for planting.


Staking a fruit tree

Staking is an important part of planting fruit trees.


  • Hammer in a stake either side of the tree (at least 30-40cm from the trunk), being careful to avoid the bulk of roots
  • Put stakes in at planting to minimise root disturbance later and to provide plants with much needed support while their roots establish in the soil
  • Use a 'figure 8' to loosely tie the tree in place, allowing a little movement while still providing good support
  • Use rubber or wide soft material to minimise damage to the main trunk through rubbing


Caring for newly planted fruit trees is the same, regardless of which planting method you use.


  • Apply a controlled release fruit & citrus fertiliser when new shoots and leaves appear in Spring and repeat in Autumn. Supplement throughout the growing season with an organic fertiliser solution
  • Water regularly, especially while trees are establishing and fruiting. Automatic irrigation systems are usually the best as fruit trees prefer a regular supply of water
  • Prune regularly to keep trees compact and easier to harvest.
  • Spread bird netting over trees as soon as fruit begins to develop (not usually needed for citrus)
  • Check for signs of pests and diseases and treat accordingly

exclamation-icon@2x.png Planting

Let's get planting!

Fruit trees may be planted in one or other of two ways and at two different times of the year, depending on whether they are deciduous or evergreen.


Bare root (deciduous) fruit trees

  • They are available in winter when they have no leaves and are dormant
  • They are not potted - instead, the roots are clean and may be either completely bare or covered in moist sawdust and wrapped in plastic or hessian

This is the most common way to buy deciduous fruits trees like apples, pears, plums, peaches and nectarines.

Bare root fruit trees are often less expensive and faster to establish than potted trees.

  • Prepare the soil and dig your planting hole.
  • Create a small mound into the centre of the planting hole so you can spread the roots out evenly
  • Make sure the graft or bud union (where the fruit variety has been grafted on to the rootstock) is well clear of the soil
  • Check the final depth (refer to the soil mark that will be clearly visible on the trunk) and carefully hammer in a stake either side of the tree, making sure you don't damage the roots
  • Backfill then carefully firm the soil around and over the roots

Potted fruit and citrus trees

  • Can be planted out at any time of year
  • Citrus fruits are available in pots all year round

Autumn and Spring are usually the best times to transplant them into the garden - avoid planting in Summer when it's too hot or in Winter when growth is minimal.

  • Dig a hold slightly larger than the pot and position the plant so that the top of the potting mix is level with the surrounding soil
  • Hammer in a couple of stakes (one either side of the root ball), and backfill. Press the soil down firmly to make sure the tree is secure
  • Water in well with Scotts Pure Organic Premium Seaweed Plant Food

Tips, tricks & advice

Choosing the right fruit for your climate

Grow healthy productive fruit trees suited to your climate by looking at:

Read more

Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants

When it comes to home-grown crops, it all starts from the ground up, including:

Read more

Other products you might need

Scotts Osmocote® Professional Compost & Soil Improver


An organically enriched compost that improves and revitalises garden soils, boosts plant health and encourages stronger, more productive growth.

Scotts Osmocote® Plus Organics Liquid Fertiliser & Soil Improver


An easy to use all purpose fertiliser that combines the long term feeding benefits of Scotts Osmocote® and organics with the simplicity of a liquid fertiliser

Scotts Osmocote® Plus Trace Elements Organic Garden Soil


The smart way to fertilise the entire garden - one easy application feeds continuously for up to 12 months

Scotts Osmocote® Boost+Feed Citrus & Fruit + Trees & Shrubs


Easy to use, double action liquid fertiliser feeds through the roots and leaves for an instant boost to your fruit and citrus.

Scotts Pure Organic Premium Compost & Soil Improver


A premium quality certified 100% organic compost and soil improver that keeps things simple for growing tasty food and gorgeous flowers and foliage. It improves the overall vitality of your soil so plants grow better and stronger.

Scotts Pure Organic Premium Seaweed Plant Food


A nutrient-rich, pure organic smart liquid that gently releases fertiliser over 4-6 weeks. Your garden will flourish with this premium seaweed product that comes in a handy Hose-on as well as a Concentrate