Fruit trees and bushes
Plant new, bare-rooted trees and bushes now. Prepare the ground in advance by clearing all weeds and digging in plenty of well-rotted manure or compost. December is your last chance for planting young, bare-rooted peaches and nectarines.
Secure newly planted trees to stakes with special belt ties. You may need two: one at the bottom and one at the top. The stake should remain in place for a few years – at least until the roots have established themselves firmly enough to support the tree.
Plant only if the weather is mild and only if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. Otherwise, wait until February or March.
Rhubarb is dormant now, so plant new sets or divide and re-plant old crowns. Rhubarb will tolerate the cold – in fact it needs a certain number of cold days – but doesn’t like being waterlogged.
Raspberries and blackberries
Plant new, bare-rooted canes of raspberries, blackberries, and hybrid berries if you didn’t do so last month.
Before planting any soft fruit, prepare the ground thoroughly. Remove all perennial weeds and dig in plenty of well-rotted compost or manure. Give your plant a good soak in a bucket of water before removing it from its container or wrapping.
Text and photographs copyright © 2010 Alan Buckingham.