Asked by: Denis from Durham, 05-Jan-2020
Can I plant into ground that I have just removed old diseased trees from?
It is best not to plant a new trees in the hole from a previous old fruit tree as the new tree may be affected by "replant syndrome", which stops it establishing and growing away properly. Basically the old tree will have attracted a colony of soil organisms, pathogens, and fungal infections with which it is has been co-existing for many years. These will initially overwhelm the new young tree.
This replant problem is a particular issue for apple trees (including cider and crab-apple trees) when planted in the same location as a previous apple tree. It does not seem quite as harmful for stone fruit, and an apple following a stone fruit tree or vice versa is also not quite as difficult.
If you have no choice but to plant in the same location then dig out a 1m diameter area around the old planting hole, and replenish the soil in the hole with fresh soil from an undisturbed area elsewhere in your garden.