Wherever summer watering is necessary, fall preparation can make a tremendous difference with the success of your fruit trees. Choosing the location and digging the hole are very important in considerations for planting fruit trees. Determining how the trees will be cared for will ensure many years of bountiful fruit production.
At the top of the list is an irrigation system. This is essential in low water climates and is not as expensive or difficult as one might think. Irrigation tubing, drip lines, emitters and a timer (clock) are your basic requirements. The system you create goes together like a child’s toy, pushing connections together, punching holes for drip lines and setting your clock as you would to bake a cake. Your system need not be a work of art, rather a work that functions.
The initial set up costs should be less than $100 to do a simple system. Once in place, adding additional trees to your yard will be a fraction of the set-up cost, requiring nothing more than the materials needed to reach the additional plantings.
Your fall planting will also require a layer of mulch be applied. Again, this is a water saving application that is best done at planting time. Four inches of mulch applied to 3 feet of the diameter around the tree should provide all the benefits. It keeps the soils warmer in the fall and winter to help promote root development and then provides cooling and eliminates surface evaporation in the warm spring and summer. Mulch should be applied to within 2 inches of the trunk and tapered quickly to 4 inches deep and 3 feet outside the trees canopy, keeping the mulch from contacting the tree's trunk.