In the absence of a soil test, lime a 10-by-10-foot area where each tree will be planted. Dig each planting hole wide enough to accommodate all of the root system without bending or bunching it, and deep enough so that the bud union of grafted plants will be no more than 1 to 2 inches above the ground line after the soil settles. Space the planting holes according to Table 5.1.
Keep root pruning to a minimum, but cut off all broken or mutilated root parts with pruning shears. Even though many stone fruits do not have dwarfing rootstocks, it is still best to set the plants with the graft or bud union no more than 1 to 2 inches above the soil line (Figure 5.1). Work the soil in and around the roots. When the hole is half full, you should firm the soil with your feet before filling the rest of the hole. When the hole is full, be sure you pack the soil firmly. Do not leave a depression around the tree. Also, do not place fertilizer in the planting hole or fertilize the soil immediately after planting. Fertilize only after the soil has been settled by a drenching rain.
After planting, apply sufficient water to thoroughly soak the soil around the tree roots. This watering will help to bring the soil into closer contact with all sides of the roots and eliminate air pockets around the roots.