Plant Trees Not Sticks

Last spring Jon and I started discussing and had decided that we wanted to plant some fruit trees. While our grapevines and blueberry bushes have done quite well, nothing else in the long list of bare root vines and trees had any success. We watered and mulched and watched them all year, but absolutely none of the bare root trees survived!

We left all the “sticks” planted until this season just on the chance they were some how still dormant, but it is evident they are dead.

Dead Not Dormant Peach Stick
Dead Not Dormant Peach Stick

Dead Not Dormant Apple Stick
Dead Not Dormant Apple Stick
We even scraped the bark and cut deep into the trees and they were definitely dead. There was no green life to be found.
So, we decided this year we would buy live bonified trees and plant them. Being that we were trying to buy locally and get real live trees we were unable to find dwarf trees like we had ordered online. We were able to find some semi-dwarf trees that we were happy with. We bought the following live trees.


From Tractor Supply Company:
  • 1 Reliance Semi-Dwarf Peach Tree
  • 1 Majestic Semi-Dwarf Peach Tree
  • 2 Honeycrisp Semi-Dwarf Apple Trees
  • 1 Gala Semi-Dwarf Apple Tree
  • 1 Jonathan Semi-Dwarf Apple Tree
  • 1 Golden Delicious Semi-Dwarf Apple Tree
  • 1 Burbank Semi-Dwarf Plum Tree
With the recent purchase of the land, we have discussed that we do not want to put too much into our current one acre property as it is temporary. Therefore, we chose not to plant as many at our current home but we still would like a few for convenience. We will plant 2 peach trees, 1 plum tree, and 2 apple trees at our current location. Our future goal is to have an entire orchard at the new property. We will plant the other 3 apple trees there as a start as soon as we can prepare a location.
Last Saturday we started planting the trees at the house. Because last year we had planted dwarfs and this year we had semi-dwarfs, we needed the spacing of these new trees to be different than the spacing of the old “sticks”. We reused some of the holes removing the old “sticks”, but of course that means we needed to dig a few new holes.
Hole dug for tree in clay soil
 Our Soil is Very Hard Clay
We removed the trees from their pots and tried to loosen the root ball some. The roots were quite compact. It was difficult, but we did the best we could without damaging the roots. We then filled the hole partially with bought topsoil and then used the soil dug from the hole for the remainder.
tree root ball
Very Compact Root Ball
After watering the tree we covered with some pine needles. Our Majestic peach tree is gorgeous! It was already blooming when we transplanted it and it continues to blossom more.
Young Majestic Peach Tree in Bloom
Majestic Peach Tree
We repeated the process for the Reliance peach tree and the Burbank plum tree. The plum tree looks so funny to me. It is so straight with a few very short limbs and there are blossoms all over the top really close to the trunk.
Young Burbank Plum Tree With Blossoms
 Burbank Plum Tree Beginning to Bloom
A couple of days later Jon and the boys planted the Gala and one of the Honeycrisp apple trees at the house. All of them our either blooming or have green signs of growth at the tips.
The lesson is…..
As Jon now says, “If you want sticks plant sticks, if you want trees plant trees”.