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Planting Bare Root Fruit Trees in Winter

a hand holding a pear


Have you ever thought of growing your own fruit at home? There are a huge range of fruit trees in smaller varieties that are fantastic in small spaces. Thoughtful pruning or creative espaliering are also both great ways of growing standard sized trees in a small areas around the home garden.

If you don’t have a yard, you can even grow fruit trees in pots! There are some great miniature varieties that are perfect for pots– there’s something suitably satisfying about watching fruit grow on your own tree and enjoying the delicious flavours of your own harvest.

Winter is the perfect time for planting fruit trees, and if you’re looking for the best price – then buying bare root trees is a great option. Bare root trees are exactly as they sound, they come without soil and typically become available in Winter when the tree is dormant.

It may sound daunting, but bare roots trees are really quite easy to plant – here are some top tips for planting your bare root fruit trees in winter.


Look at your space.

Plan where you want to plant your tree. If it’s a small area, then espaliering is a great option against a fence or wall, which involves training the branches to grow along a frame. If planting in the garden, you want to find a space with good access to the tree for pruning in the winter months.


Choose your variety.

Make sure you have researched the tree to make sure it’s suitable to your climate. Many species of fruit trees like a cold climate to thrive, other varieties prefer a tropical climate. There are many dwarf and miniature varieties that are great for small spaces and pots.



Fruit trees require pollination to produce fruit! Many trees are self-pollinating, however some require companion planting with cross-pollinating fruit tree varieties to produce fruit. Do your research before you buy.


Position your tree.

Ensure your hole is big enough for all the roots! You want to make sure the roots aren’t tangled -gently tease the roots to ensure they are all free.


Gather some Compost.

When planting your tree, you want to give it the best start. Mix some compost into the hole prior to planting to supply the roots with beneficial nutrients that will feed the plant.


Gently backfill the hole.

Make sure your soil is good quality and well draining. If you have heavy clay based soils, you can add some potting mix to improve the drainage quality. Ensure all soil is loosened when backfilled, so that no big clumps are tossed back into the hole. It’s very important for the soil to fill the gaps between the roots, for best results, crumble the soil back into the hole around the roots.


Water in well.

Watering your tree after planting is one of the most important steps! Watering helps settle the soil around the roots and give your tree the best start. Dilute some Seasol in a watering can and pour about 2-3 litres at the base of the tree. Water the tree 1-2 times a week or if the soil is looking dry.



It’s optional to prune your fruit tree after planting. There are many books and online resources on pruning that can guide you to the shape you want to achieve.


If you’ve been contemplating planting a fruit tree in your yard, this year is an exceptional year for planting. There is fantastic soil moisture thanks to the high rainfall, which means your fruit tree will have the ideal conditions to become established. What are you waiting for – get planting!

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