Organic materials such as compost, grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw or dried manure, can be tilled into the soil to help improve its condition. Do not use grass clippings that have been treated with a crabgrass killer as tree growth may be affected. Lawns treated with crabgrass preventers are fine to use but avoid those treated with crabgrass killers.
Time and weather conditions generally are more suitable in the fall than in the late winter and spring for preparing soil. If fruit plants can be set by early April, they will have developed a stronger root system to support plant growth than they would if planted later.
If there are only a few plants to be planted, consider tarping each planting area to guard against a wet spring delaying planting after plants are shipped and received.
Also, fruit tree planting can be done in the fall but plants may need to be watered during the winter if the weather is warm and dry. (Ward Upham)