How to choose The Right Fruit tree from your local nursery

When choosing a tree from your local nursery, it's most important to look carefully at its features. Trees are commonly sold as 'bare root', meaning the roots are exposed, and the young tree is 3' to 6' tall. Here's what to look for:

Strong, straight stem. 

Fruit trees do best when they grow straight. A slight lean in a young tree, if left unstaked, will develop into a large lean when mature and laden with fruit. The tree is susceptible to blowdown from wind, or can fall under its own unbalanced weight. 

Defined leader.

One central branch should be the obvious 'leader', which leads the growth straight up. A tree with no clear leader will require frequent pruning to keep the shape in balance

Well balanced branches. 

Look for the 'candelabra' shape with branches extending evenly in all directions. This even growth will keep the tree balanced and growing straight, as well as maximizing fruit yield.

No low branches. 

Branches should be starting from the same general area along the tree stem. Avoid trees with one lone branch, low down. This is out of balance, and low-lying fruit encourages pests like raccoons. Low branches also get in the way of lawn care beneath the tree.

Several feet of stem. 

You don't want your tree to start branching too low - it will be hard to walk under when harvesting, and it encourages pests.

Plentiful, undamaged roots. 

Roots should be well protected and kept damp. Avoid trees with roots exposed too long in the sun or damaged in any way.