Fruit Trees - Deciduous

A 3 minute read by Peter Worsp

Cultural Requirements Soil and Position

  • Well drained soils - will not tolerate heavy or waterlogged soil
  • Improve soil by use of compost or peat
  • Open sunny position
  • Best to plant in June / July when trees are dormant
  • DO NOT let roots dry out prior to planting
  • When planting spread roots out carefully over slightly mounded soil at bottom of hole
  • Soak in Tui Seaweed Solution prior planting


  • Use a slow release fertiliser around roots at planting
  • When growth begins (spring) apply general garden fertiliser  or fruit tree and citrus fertiliser at rates of 200g-300g per tree as a top dressing
  • Water well again after feeding


  • Ensure soil does not dry out after planting (only if a dry spell follows planting – do not overwater as root rot could result)
  • Spring - summer water regularly to ensure plant does not dry out while establishing in it's first year
  • Water regularly during fruit development for juicy fruit 


  • Aim to regulate growth, allow light in, encourage flowers and fruit
  • Generally prune in winter but can be trimmed late summer if required
  • In years 1 and 2 prune hard to make sturdy framework and shape the tree
  • When planting select 3 or 4 strong branches and reduce by 2/3 to outwards facing bud. Remove all other growth

Once established, prune according to the fruiting habit as outlined below:


  • Bear fruit on spurs and 2 year old + laterals
  • Allow lateral branches to develop uncut until buds form
  • Then trim back about 2/3 each year
  • Thin out some if tree becomes overcrowded


  • Also bear on laterals and spurs
  • Treat as for apples


  • Fruit on spurs on 2 year old + wood
  • Require little pruning, apart from trimming and thinning
  • Prune in autum

Peaches and nectarines

  • Bear fruit on laterals produced previous summer
  • Laterals fruit for one season only
  • Prune to produce new laterals each year
  • Prune back to encourage new growth but don’t cut out all previous year’s growth


  • Bear fruit on 1 and 2 year old laterals
  • Require little pruning
  • Thin and trim back as required to maintain tree at reasonable size

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