The aim of these instructions is to make sure you end up with a strong healthy tree that grows a main frame fast and is capable of producing high brix crops for many years.

Our heritage fruit trees have all been organically and regeneratively grown. We are growing soil in a measurable way, which means we are increasing the mineral levels, the microbe levels, and the humus levels in our soil and growing high brix super healthy trees at the same time. All of our open ground, bare rooted trees have white dots painted on the North side of the tree, to make it easy for you to plant your trees facing the same direction. The roots of trees align with the earth’s magnetic poles and they grow better if replanted in the same direction they began in the nursery.

  • Dig a hole 50cm x 50cm minimum for each tree. If you are on heavy clay try to make it 1m x 1m.  If you can’t do that then accept the best you can do, but do your best effort, you will be rewarded! If you are on heavy clay or soil that does not drain, you will have to put drainage out the bottom of your hole, and if you are unable to do that you may have to build your tree space partly up above the existing soil surface.
  • As you dig out the soil, separate topsoil from subsoil.
  • Mix your topsoil 50/50 with good compost or you could use well composted hay or well rotted bark, rotted wood chip, cow manure or other animal manure  etc.
  • Read the information in the link about Silverleaf. You can choose to build an environment that will protect your trees or wait to see if they get infected and then use Tricho dowels. If you are using ramial wood chip and wish to create an environment that build soil and tree health, I would recommend dipping tree roots in Tricho Flo before planting, then placing some Trichopellets in the tree hole before planting (near the surface where the feeder roots will be) and then watering in with TrichopFlo. 
  • Plant your tree into the hole so that it is sitting in the soil at the same level as it was in the nursery or pot previously, and make sure it is on a small mound, so that as the soil in the hole settles your tree will not be in a hollow!
  • Your tree will also grow better and perform better if you plant it so that the strongest roots face into the South. Tree roots will have aligned already in the nursery with the magnetic field of the earth, which means the strongest roots will face south, so if you can also plant it facing this direction, your tree will perform better and be happier! All Kōanga fruit trees have a paint dot on the North side of the tree so you can also check how to plant it.
  • Make a berm at a radius of 1m around the tree to hold all the nutrients, mulch and moisture inside it. You may have to breach this berm in the winter so that it does not hold water inside and drown the tree! After year 2 it won’t be necessary to maintain the berm.
  • Mulch heavily to suppress weeds and help maintain moisture over the Summer. If you use a ramial wood chip, this mulch will also serve as food for the fungi in the soil, and the fungi will make available to the tree roots the nutrients held in the ramial wood chip, they have balanced minerals for tree growth, especially when combined with appropriate support species and forest garden management.
  • Tree roots are like water pumps, one of their jobs is to pump water up into the tree branches, after planting your  trees you must prune them back so that the short roots can support the size of the tree, if the tree is not pruned back, the roots may  not be able to support long branches and those will die back. Prune the trees so that when they regrow they develop branches and growth where you want it- thinking of the main frame you want your trees to have years from now.
  • Feed your fruit trees each year in January as it is this time of the year that nutrition determines the size and quality and health of next year’s crop. If you are using a ramial wood chip I would prune support species,  chip, and mulch  in Winter for some trees, and in Spring and Autumn for others.. ( See management chart) This will ensure your heavy feeding fruit trees have nutrients available in January when they need them for next year’s crop.
  • We put our Winter wood ashes around the fruit trees and the whole forest garden, as heavy cropping fruit trees require a lot of potash.  2-5 litres per tree depending on the size of the tree.
  • If your soil is naturally low in available calcium, adding garden lime will be useful.
  • Our advice is to plant only as many fruit trees as you can take care of in this way. Your rewards will outweigh the effort required!
  • It may help young growth to use Fish Hydrolysate as a microbe feed, or BioFert as a foliar feed… the online workshop is well worth doing if you plan on making your own fertiliser.

We make our own regenerative fertilisers, you can participate in our online course Making Regenerative Fertiliser.

There is further, in-depth information available in our publications, Design Your Own Orchard and our Designing & Managing Forest Gardens. These are available in both printed and digital formats.

We offer an on-site Forest Garden Masterclass for individuals seeking an in-person, comprehensive and in-depth learning experience.

You can purchase our beautiful wall chart from here –  designed to support you at a glance with your forest garden management. Keep on track with all of those essential tasks to get the best from your Forest Garden.

Silverleaf is a common fungal disease of trees, we have information and products available to help you prevent and cure this disease.