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Planting this weekend. Need quick advice please!

 
Spencer Davis
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Location: New Castle, IN
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I ran across a deal and picked up over 40 fruit trees today and am going to try and get them in the ground this weekend. I am new to growing and need some help. All of the trees (apples, cherries, and peaches) are 5-7' right now. I have seen people prune them completely down to about knee height or others just prune them more conventionally. I'm not sure if it matters but these trees were last years trees that didn't sell but many of them are going to be budding soon. Also, some of these will be planted around the base of my new hugel/swale and others at random places around the farm. Thanks in advance for any quick tips!
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John Elliott
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I'd be inclined not to do any pruning but just get them in the ground. After they bloom and leaf out, you will know better what you are dealing with.
 
Miles Flansburg
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I am with John, Get them planted.
Let them grow at least a year to get established.
When you take them out of the pots be sure to look at the roots. If they are all coiled up you might want to try and break them up a little. There was a good post about that around here someplace!
I usually water them really well to try and get the air out from around the roots and settle in the soil.
 
Leila Rich
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I prune, while some don't prune at all-it's a very individual thing
I generally head trees back a bit when planting to stop them shooting straight up.
Cutting out the central leader pushes growth energy laterally rather than vertically, and scaffold branches grow quickly.

I'd also suggest shaking most of the potting mix off the roots before planting-
it's not for everyone, but I'm very much into starting the tree off in the native soil (with some added compost)
I think one of the most important tree-planting things is to to make sure that the planted tree's
at the same level it was in the pot (or nursery ground if it's bare-rooted)
 
Spencer Davis
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Location: New Castle, IN
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Ok thanks y'all. I didn't get them all planted but I decided the ones that went by my hugel/swale I pruned down to be able to reach the tops. All the others I think I'm gonna let go for now.
 
Ann Torrence
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By nipping the leader back, you are redirecting the apical dominance to encourage lateral growth-different plant hormones are involved, and the apical tip will dominate unless you intervene. Prune back to where you want the branching to start. If you want your first branches above your head, then don't prune. I don't want them that high, but it is heart-wrenching to cut back a new tree to hip height. I do it anyway. If you are going to do it, do it ASAP.
 
Spencer Davis
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Location: New Castle, IN
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Yes Ann, I would like for the ones to stay no more than 7' or so. It will just kill me to go cut them but I have seen others do it so I have to keep the faith I guess.
 
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