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Fruit trees require a reasonably well-drained soil so their root system is not deprived of oxygen for too long after irrigation or a heavy rain. Soil drainage, often the most important single determinant of fruit tree health, can easily be improved, if necessary, by elevating the planting with a berm or raised bed.
Also, fruit trees cannot absorb essential nutritional elements if the soil is too acidic, alkaline or saline. Soil tests are especially worthwhile if planting where soils are known to be marginal and variable or in an area where fruit trees have not been grown previously. Test results help growers make good choices regarding types of fruit to grow, rootstocks, planting site preparation, fertilization and irrigation practices.
For more information about elevated planting, see Planting Your Backyard Orchard. For information about local soils, refer to your local fruit tree nursery, Cooperative Extension and Master Gardener program.