Today I planted the first of my fruit trees: a Greengage/Golden Drop Plum combo. While the cherry, apple, apricot, plum and nectarine trees are going to be planted along the southern fence in my backyard, I thought I'd plant the mini plum tree out the front for a bit of variety (plus I kinda ran out of space along the boundary fence in the backyard but still wanted a greengage).
I read quite a bit about planting fruit trees - many of them say things like 'start preparing your soil early, 6 months is best' (!). Despite my best intentions, I haven't had time to even so much as weed the area out the back and the front year patch has only had a bit of minor digging in of mushroom compost. However, I've spoken to a few v successful gardeners since then, and they all say that as long as you mix some good compost or well-rotted manure into the soil when you dig the hole for the tree, that should be more than enough. In fact, if you believe some of Peter Cundall's recent articles in the local paper, fruit trees are pretty resilient and can actually benefit from a little neglect!
I mixed in some compost with the soil, and planted the tree in an earth mound for drainage as I have very dense clay soil and plum trees appreciate good drainage apparently. I then laid wet newspaper over the soil and spread sugar cane mulch over the top. I've got a lot of crazy little annoying weeds in the area and the newspaper coupled with mulch will stop the weeds from making home in the area and also keep soil damp come summer (that's if the black birds don't dig it all up like they do the pine bark). I'll also extend my front yard watering system next weekend to include the tree.
I did a wee bit of remedial weeding as well. As a result of my 3 week leave, I've got a mini weed jungle in the back yard including some very irritating, quick-spreading weeds that have a clover like leaf and a root that stems from a bulb like thing at the bottom. It's quite hard to pull up the plant without leaving the bulb. Additionally, if you leave it more bulbs grow on the root stem, and so it spreads.... ergh!