Can I successfully transplant fruit trees in mid-May?
Answer: Mid-May is really late to transplant. The issue is transplant shock: the leaves are transpiring moisture before the roots are adequately established–remember, it’s the little root hairs that do the work of sucking up water, and those little roots are almost always damaged during transplanting. It’s practically unavoidable. The large mail-order nurseries will keep their stock dormant in large, cooled warehouses, and you can often get what you want from them. Still, though, the temperature will be warm in mid-May and the leaves will soon emerge and the roots aren’t likely to be well established.The next best situation is to plant potted stock from a local retail nursery, which will almost certainly be leafed out. But if you do everything possible to keep the root ball undisturbed, you can often get away with it. Don’t let late-transplanted trees like that go thirsty! You don’t need to soak them every day, but don’t ever let the ground get dry. Mulch and check the soil regularly and keep it moist but not waterlogged.For more information on fruit trees, consult the following ATTRA publications:Fruit Trees, Bushes, and Vines for Natural Growing in the OzarksNative pawpaws, persimmons, and muscadines, as well as other non-native species and lesser-known varieties of well-known species, can be grown in the Ozarks naturally, without pesticides. This publication discusses how to overcome common challenges of growing fruit trees, vines, and bushes in the Ozarks and suggests what to look for when choosing a variety that will thrive locally.Community OrchardsThis publication introduces community orchards and discusses the history of the community orchard movement and the motivations behind producing fruit in a community orchard. It offers a step-by-step guide to starting a community orchard and advice on choosing fruit trees and plants most likely to provide successful harvests, including apples, pears, grapes, brambles, and other, unusual fruits. A profile of a community orchard program and a list of further resources are also included.