Growing apple trees can be both a fun and rewarding experience. This traditional fruit tree is a great garden project to undertake and is the perfect starting point for developing an interest in gardening and growing your own incredible edibles. Admittedly, growing apple trees is not as straight forward as growing other fruits, but once you have all the proper information, growing them can be a really enjoyable experience. Not only do apple trees provide delicious fruit but they are also a flowering tree, one that is adored by bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.
Apple trees require fertile and free draining soil. We suggest using a good quality compost or adding organic matter, such as chicken manure or farmyard manure, to the pre existing soil you have. However, it is important not to directly sit the plant on the added feed, this might in fact burn the roots, try sifting it through with plain compost first to evenly distribute the feed throughout. Apple trees also do not perform well in soggy wet ground, if your ground is overly wet then try mixing sand and grit through your soil to lighten it up.
How To Plant
It is very important to choose a location that does not get direct early mourning sun, this can be known to damage and scorch the trees. Do choose a nice bright spot that is sheltered from the wind, but does allow air to circulate. Protection from the wind is important to safeguard the flower blossoms and to encourage pollinating insects to visit. Air circulation is also important as it prevents scabs and moulds from developing on the leaves. Before planting, well soak the trees roots with water, this will help the roots establish quicker. Plant the trees in a large deep holes and provide adequate space for your tree to develop, you do not want your trees growing into one another. Be sure to consult with your local GroMor expert on to the recommended distance of your chosen varieties.
This is perhaps the part that confuses gardeners most in regards to growing apple trees. Apple trees require to be planted near different varieties in order to pollinate each other, this is how they produce fruit. The pollination process is done by pollinating insects like bees and butterflies. Trees that require to be located alongside 2 different apple tree varieties are called Triploads. Apple trees fall into 4 groups based on pollination types (A, B, C and D), some varieties pollinate extremely well together (e.g. B and C), while others will not pollinate each other (e.g. A and C). Common popular varieties of apple trees that pollinate one another include Kathy, Discovery, James Grieve and Lord Lambourne. Be sure to talk to visit your local GroMor centre where they will recommend the perfect pollinating partners for you.
It is recommended you prune your apple tree for the first two years in October/November, this is to encourage root development over fruit growth. From there on, prune apple trees during the Spring, this is the time cuts heal quickest. It is always important to protect the spurs, these are the branches that will produce the blossoms and in time the fruit. Harvest the fruit when ripe, different varieties will have different tell tale signs when they are good enough to eat, so again remember to consult with your local expert as to when fruit is ok to eat.
If you only have a small garden or even a balcony, there are still varieties of trees suitable for you. The Coronet is a mini apple tree, otherwise known as a dwarf variety. They are super little trees that are known to produce an abundance of fruit and is suitable for containers and pots. There are also self pollinating varieties available for those who do not have the space for multiple trees.