When it comes time to plant a fruit tree, patience pays for itself many times over. Most of the problems we see with tree fruits come from two sources: failing to select appropriate crops for a site and failing to prepare the site before planting. We dealt with crop selection in Tree Fruits: Crops to Grow. Now let’s consider site preparation.
Most fruit trees should not require staking when they are planted. As long as a tree remains upright, staking is usually not recommended for free-standing trees. Trunk strength develops as a tree sways in the wind and staking can actually create weak trunks that will not support crop loads. For special production systems, young apple trees can be trained to vertical poles for several years. The slender spindle production system is one example. Apples on dwarfing rootstocks are also sometimes grown on supporting trellis wires. For more information on training systems, refer to Training and Pruning Your Home Orchard.