TE3: Planting fruit trees

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the planting fruit trees item.

How much will be paid

£22.50 per tree.

Where to use this item

Available for Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Only with:

How this item will benefit the environment

It will ensure the continuation of fruit trees in hedgerows where it is characteristic of the local landscape.


  • apple, pear and cherry trees must be at least 2 years old and have a well-branched head supported by 2m of clear stem
  • plum or damson trees must be at least 2 years old and have 1.5m of clear stem
  • maiden fruit trees must be 1-year-old grafted trees with a single stem
  • rootstocks must be:

    • M25 for apples
    • seedling pear for pears
    • Brompton or Myrobalan B for plums
    • F12.1 for cherries
  • plant bare-rooted fruit trees between November and March, while they are not in leaf
  • remove all grass and weeds in a 1m diameter circle around each tree station before planting
  • plant the trees in a pit deep and wide enough to contain the full depth and width of the root system with room to spare
  • make sure the tree’s graft union is at least 75mm above ground level
  • stake standard trees and tie them securely (maiden trees can be established successfully without staking)
  • tie the tree to the stake above the grafting union so that it is held firmly upright but some movement is allowed
  • use flexible and adjustable rubber tree ties to prevent wind damage
  • maintain the stakes and ties until the tree is established, loosening the ties if they cut into the tree
  • remove the ties once the tree is established and no longer requires support
  • protect the trees from grazing animals
  • make sure guards allow access to the tree for:
    • carrying out formative pruning
    • applying mulch
    • clearing vegetation around the base
  • replace planted trees that die in the following planting season
  • at the end of the agreement, there must be a living tree in good condition

Do not:

  • fasten guards to the tree itself
  • allow guards to cause damage to the growing tree

Keeping records

Agreement holders will needs to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • receipted invoices, or bank statements where a receipted invoice is unavailable
  • photographs of the planting location before works start
  • please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the Mid Tier manual for more detail

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • photographs of the completed work

This item can be used with the following items:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out the item successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this item.

Weed control

Weed control is essential to successful fruit tree planting. To reduce competition for water and nutrients, keep a 1m diameter circle around the tree clear of all vegetation for at least the first 3 years after planting.

Further information

Read more information about Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier and Higher Tier to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 30 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. 'Air quality' added to Land use.

  2. Updated for 2017 applications.

  3. Information updated for applications in 2016

  4. First published.