Storing fruit trees for Christmas presents

If you have ordered a fruit tree which you want to give as a gift at Christmas or a birthday or other special occasion, it is likely that you will have to store the tree for a short period. Here are some simple guidelines:

Pot-grown trees

Remove all the delivery packaging and stand the tree in its pot in a safe place in your garden, making sure it can't be blown over. If the weather forecast is very bad (e.g. snow or very low temperatures) you can put the tree in a shed, cold greenhouse, or garage. Do not under any circumstances store the tree in a heated house.

Bare-root trees

Things are a bit more complicated with bare-root trees, as it is very important to keep the roots protected. For this reason it is often best to choose pot-grown trees if you are giving them as a gift.

As soon as you receive the bare-root trees remove them from the delivery carton, dig a small trench in a safe place in your garden, and lie the trees on the ground with the roots in the trench. Then cover the roots with soil and firm it down over the roots. For more details see our article on "heeling-in". The trees will keep quite happily like this until the recipient is ready to plant them.

Do not leave bare-root trees in the delivery carton, as they may not survive. Also, as with pot-grown trees, never store the trees inside a heated house.