I’ve been waiting for this moment to arrive for quite some time. October to be precise when both my husband and fabulous in laws gifted me money to purchase an orchard.
I researched several tree companies but I was looking for two things: product reviews and guarantee on the trees. Stark Nursery was ultimately who I went with. They had great product reviews. You can tell when a tree company sends bad trees because the customers will say, they sent twigs and all of them died. Stay away from the bargain tree company. I also liked how Stark has a growing guide on their website. It shows you how to plant trees and care for each variety of trees from nits to fruit. I also found their customer service department to be very knowledgeable.
My trees arrived in two boxes. the first was a small box holding my olive tree and the second holding eleven trees. They were wrapped and moist when they arrived. I kept them in my house overnight and planted the next day.
I soaked the trees for four hours. Stark recommended between four to six.
My husband then dug holes with the dozer. The holes are supposed to be two foot wide by two foot deep. Ours were a bit bigger but at least there was no digging in the hard ground.
My amazing son and I took two trees at a time from my kitchen sink. We filled a bucket with water and kept them submerged until they went in the ground. It was pretty cool, in the 40s so we wanted to protect the tender roots. We filled the hole with peat moss and natural red dirt from Oklahoma. Stark recommended not to use fertilizer for fall plantings. Once the tree had a healthy pile around the roots, I back filled the holes with a tractor. My son raked the major distortions of loose ground. He didn’t even read a sweat.
We repeated the process until all eleven trees were in the ground, lightly tamping the ground down around the roots to remove air pockets. Then we gave each tree water.
We tapped in three post per tree for protection from horses and staking. We will keep the trees staked for two years until the roots can hold the trees in the Oklahoma wind.
Overall it was a simple process because I had flagged out each tree before digging and it only took three hours with machinery. Let me know how your orchard experience went and what company you recommend below!