Most deciduous fruit trees are grown by nurseries in the field, being dug or lifted during dormancy (in Winter when the tree is not growing and has dropped it’s leaves). This is also the best time for planting as there is little stress placed on the tree while they are dormant.
Dig a large hole, twice the diameter of the root mass. Loosen the sides and bottom of the hole, especially if the soil is heavy. Add gypsum and compost as soil conditioners to heavy or clay soils to improve drainage. Inspect the tree before planting. Note where the soil line was on the plant so that you can plant it at the same depth. When ready for planting, put about 1/3 of the soil mix back into the hole, forming into a mound. Remove the tree from the pot (or use a sharp knife to cut away the planter bag). Place the tree with the roots spread over mound. Put the rest of the soil in the hole and press down gently to eliminate air pockets and to ensure the soil is firmed enough that the tree remains upright.
Insert a strong stake if necessary, using a soft fabric tie to loosely secure the tree to the stake. A tree that is too strongly staked will not develop roots well to support itself, relying on the stake for support. Water the tree in well to provide moisture for the roots but do not overwater to the point of sitting water. If planting during Winter, as the roots are not taking up moisture during dormancy, sitting with ‘wet feet’ will cause root rot and possibly disease, so do not over water. If planting in any other season, water regularly as necessary, especially during dry Summer periods. Plant with a good slow release fertiliser that will release nutrients to the newly developing roots in Spring.
After planting try to aim for 2-3 applications of Copper spray. This is a great preventative fungicide that will aid in infestations of Leaf Curl, particularly in Nectarines and Peaches. If the first leaves appear curled apply a stronger fungicide spray such as Super Copper or Bravo
In the first year do not allow the tree to fruit too heavily by removing blossoms in spring. Trees need to develop strong root systems in the first 12-18 months for their long term well being. They can’t do this if trying to produce fruit as reproducing is always a plants first priority.