Winter-tender trees best planted early fall, spring

Question: I have seven fruit trees, including some citrus, that I planted in half whiskey barrels about three years ago. They all have had fruit the past two years. I want to transplant them into the ground in order to get more fruit. Is it best to transplant them in the fall or early spring?

Fall is always the best time to plant things that are not winter tender. So in the case of fruit trees such as apple, pear, peach, nectarine, apricot, etc., it is best from mid-September to about mid-October.

It is a bit late now for fall planting unless you know the spot is protected from wind and has a warm microclimate. These are places with a lot of heat from reflecting walls, usually south- or west-facing.

In the case of winter-tender trees like your citrus, it is best to plant them in the spring, about mid-January through about mid-March. It does not mean you cannot plant them other times, but dates outside of these planting windows are more stressful to the plants. It then just depends on weather conditions, the microclimate and your skills as a gardener.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert living in Las Vegas and professor emeritus for the University of Nevada. Visit his blog at

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