When you browse through nursery catalogs, do you find yourself staring longingly at photos of bountiful apple trees laden with bright red fruit but turn the page because you do not think you have room for one in your yard? Maybe you give up on the idea of growing them because you just don’t have the patience for apple tree care. Or perhaps you have the space and patience but you think the tree pruning and other tree care that is required is too confusing or difficult.
These are the most common misconceptions of those who are intimidated by the idea of backyard fruit growing. However, with the large assortment of dwarf apple tree varieties currently on the market, you can treat dwarf apple trees as container plants and grow them in tubs on your patio. Are you the impatient type? You will be glad to know that small-size apple trees will often bear a harvest two or more years before you would pick anything from a standard-size tree.
If you’d like to establish apple tree varieties in your landscape, we can connect you with a reputable and qualified landscape expert that can help you select, purchase and plant new apple trees. For a complimentary consultation with a certified arborist, contact the location nearest you.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, it is important to consider which apple tree varieties will pollinate one another effectively. It will not matter how well adapted your apple trees are to the climate; if you do not choose apple tree varieties that can pollinate each other, you won’t get any apples. If you only have room for one tree, make sure that the neighboring apple or crab apple tree (80 feet away or less) can pollinate yours, or plant one of the varieties that is self-pollinating, such as Golden Delicious, Jonathan or Yellow Transplant. But, keep in mind that these apple tree varieties will produce a more abundant crop if they are cross-pollinated.
Early pruning is the key to developing a tree that is structurally able to carry the weight of many apples and that has the openness to allow sunlight to reach as many leaves as possible. The trick is to achieve these goals with as little tree pruning as possible. The best growth pattern for an apple tree is the central leader. When you buy a new apple tree, it will look like an unpromising stick, probably with some twigs poking out from its sides. Don’t let your fledgling tree’s appearance discourage you. As it grows and puts out new and vigorous branches, you can select the best limbs to provide the initial scaffold (limb that grows directly out of the trunk). There are certain growth patterns you should watch for when you do your dormant season pruning. Cut any drooping branches back and remove any small branches that grow downward. Fruit growing on these branches would be shaded and thus tiny and unevenly colored.
Like most fruit trees, apples need nitrogen. But they can easily get too much of a good thing, so fertilizing them can be tricky. Apple trees should put on anywhere from eight to 12 inches of new shoot growth a year, so if your tree is putting on less than 6 inches in a year, you should add more nitrogen to the soil in the early spring. However, if your tree gets too much nitrogen, it will grow more than 14 inches in a season. As a result, fruit will be oversized and mealy in texture. Other nutrients which play an important role in the quality of your apples include calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and boron.
Like all living things, apples have their share of challenges. Some apple tree diseases and pests are difficult to treat, simply because so many people grow apple trees and there are so many trees that do not receive proper care. These can serve as reservoirs for pests and pathogens, making the fight to have clean, worm-free fruit and healthy trees that much harder for the conscientious organic gardener. Fortunately, recent developments in breeding resistant varieties and in creating organic materials have made it much easier to successfully harvest homegrown apples.
If you think that apple trees are temperamental and their upkeep is beyond your gardening skills, then you should consider dwarf apple trees. A certified arborist skilled in apple tree care can also help you keep your trees healthy.
Click or call today to arrange a complimentary consultation from our fully trained and certified arborists for apple tree care, tree fertilizer and lawn care services from SavATree. Click here to contact the office nearest you.