I have 3 apple trees and 2 cherry trees that are about 6 to 7' tall in the original plastic pots. The plan was to take them to our land over an hour away last spring but then we decided to hold off because we couldn't get down there enough to keep them watered and we also have a lot of deer on the land.

We have decided to hold off until next spring when we can deal better with these issues because we will be living much closer. Can I dig a hole in our back yard for each and put the pots in the ground then do some heavy mulch to store them for the winter? How often should I water them in the winter months (if at all). They are watered daily now but if I skip a day they look sad for sure!

  • Your profile says that you're in Cincinnati Ohio, so USDA zone 6a or 6b. Is that still correct?
    – Niall C.
    Oct 11, 2016 at 0:20
  • Yes, Cincinnati. Our land is in Northern KY. Oct 11, 2016 at 8:48

1 Answer 1


Baby trees are actually best if they are planted in the fall. I would take them to your land, construct cheap cages around them with wire fencing for the deer, make sure that you do not plant too deeply or mulch near that trunk or you'll have happy voles with warm housing and food.

Dig only as deep as their root ball, this will ensure they don't 'sink'. They need to sit on undisturbed soil. Water really really well. Perhaps a bit of fertilizer (check to make sure the last time they were fertilized first) and mycorrhizae.

No need to stake as there is nothing to catch the wind and the ability to move is what creates a strong support system and thicker, less breakable trunk.

Be nice to get more information; where you are planting them, the micro environment characteristics, wind situation, how you imagine watering them, what type of soil, how much sun exposure, your zone and the species/varieties of your trees for more detailed and precise answers/advice.

Send pictures of your trees and of your site if possible. This fall would be the best time to get your trees a good start as it is wetter (usually), the leaves fall off so not very appealing to deer (make sure you fence them anyway), they will be putting down more roots, more stabilization and then in the spring they should be able to last on their own between waterings (every 2 weeks, every week during warm weather, sorry). When they start leafing out you'll need to strengthen and widen the wire barrier or the deer will be able to reach the leaves. Use T-posts and field wire. Don't take chances, make those barriers strong enough to deter a huge elk from bodily knocking it down. This would also be a good time to try some deterrent spray. 'Liquid Fence' for deer and rabbits. Wild animals are very sensitive and cautious with weird smells. Not so much near human habitats.

If you use a little fertilizer use a slow release product, lower Nitrogen (the first number of the three)...10-14-14 for example. You do not want to create any vegetative growth before winter! Do not use too much...those tree fertilizer stakes might be a good plan!

Send more information with which to understand more detail that might change what I've said. And yes, digging holes and putting pots in the soil at your home and mulched...(not too close to the trunk) is a good solution. BUT, if you plant these trees next spring, plan on watering (depending on weather and soil type) every other day. Planting them now so they can acclimate to their new home, put down roots, not have to deal with providing water to tender new spring growth will give them a far better head start!

I've got a great idea for watering technique if there is no water as yet available on your property.

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