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Care Guide: Care for Pillar Fruit Trees

Pillar Fruit Trees

Planting a Pillar Fruit Tree

We suggest planting a pillar fruit tree at a distance of up to 8ft or more apart for these trees. They can be planted closer, but you will need to prune more regularly to keep them in hand so they do not become too large once they start growing away well.

After deciding where to site the tree, dig a large hole, up to 30cms deep and 60cms wide. Place the topsoil in two piles and any subsoil in a separate pile.

Be careful to keep the sides straight so that the hole isn’t narrower at the bottom than the top. Lightly fork the edges and bottom of the hole to let the roots grow out more easily and provide air holes.

All of our fruit trees are grafted on a special root stock. It is important that the stock of the tree is not planted too deeply and covered up with soil. It should be easy to see the graft mark, and keep this above the soil when planting. The correct depth will avoid the stock sending out shoots, place the tree in the hole to check it is deep enough so that all the roots will be covered, but the grafting point of the stock will be above the ground, and make the hole deeper as required.

It is important to keep the tree well-watered every week with a heavy soaking on a regular basis, more so in hot dry weather so it does not dry out. Keep the area free of weeds that will compete for the trees water and feed. Mulching may be beneficial to retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. Learn more about fruit trees here.

Planting in pots

We often get asked if a fruit tree can be planted in a container and the answer is yes. This follows very similar steps to planting in the ground. Make sure to soak the roots in a bucket of water before planting. It is important to find a large enough container for them to grow in, we recommend the Twist ‘N’ Lock Grow Pot. Place a layer of Compost King compost at the bottom of the container, high enough so that the rootstock will be above the container level. Once there is a deep enough layer of compost, place the tree into the container and fill the rest of the pot with more compost (this may require someone to help you keep the tree stable). After planting the tree, water considerably to settle the compost.  

How to care for an established pillar fruit tree

The tree will need frequent and large amounts of water until it is established.

Use special fruit tree fertiliser as directed by the manufacturer to get the most out of your trees.

If planting in large patio planters, follow the steps above, except, you will be using a high quality Tub and Basket compost, and will not need to dig any holes! It is especially important for patio trees never to dry out, and get stressed. Plants should always be allowed to drain, but we suggest using a saucer with your pots in summer so that this can be kept full in hot weather to prevent the trees ever becoming dehydrated.

Feeding weekly with a good quality liquid plant food will also be essential in the growing season, as the trees roots cannot grow to find more nutrients, so must have everything they need provided to their pots.

When can I expect fruiting?

It is possible you could see some flowers and a few fruits this year, our pruning will have removed much of the initial fruiting buds however, and we would suggest removing any fruits that may form this season in order for each tree to concentrate on becoming fully established. Next year, you should get more flowers and fruit forming.

If you want the best long term cropping, we would again remove any fruits that form next year, as the trees will become further established and produce bigger and better crops from year three as a result, and every year thereafter.

Removal of fruit in the initial years of establishment is of course down to personal choice, but it is what the commercial orchards do for the first few years when they plant new trees, as they crop better for longer in the future.

Top Tip

Dig a channel around the edge of the dug area to stop water running away from the root area.


How high do pillar fruit trees grow?

A fully grown and matured pillar fruit tree can grow up to 8 to 10 feet tall, but this requires lots of care to ensure the growth.

Compost King

Twist ‘N’ Lock Container

Download Care Guides

We have created two care guides to help you grow a happy and healthy plant. We have an In-depth Care Guide and a Simplified Care Guide.

Shop Pillar Fruit Trees

Disclaimer: Although we do sell fruit trees/ edible plants which are typical consumable. We can not advise you to eat them due to various problems, such as contact with chemicals, animal-related diseases, allergy-related issues etc. Any consumption of these plants is solely down to your own judgement and we hold no responsibility for any negative outcomes.

Updated on April 12, 2023

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