Apples are a popular fruit, especially during autumn. Whether you’re picking them, biting into a ripe, juicy apple, or considering purchasing and planting apple trees on your property, the different types and varieties make for an enticing selection. Before you actually plant the tree, there is a lot to consider, including various planting options and the best ways to care for the trees after planting.
Ensuring a successful life for your apple tree starts before it even arrives. After browsing apple trees for sale and selecting the best fit for your home, it’s time to focus on transportation. For best results, use the proper truck to reduce damage or potential injury to the tree. You may need to pay extra to ensure a successful delivery, but this extra price is well worth the reduced chances of damaging or injuring the tree.
The next step is to focus on preparing the planting hole. You’ll want to dig a hole that is approximately one to two feet wider than the overall size of the root system. This extra space promotes better root growth, particularly in poor soil. When digging the hole, make it just as wide — or even wider — at the bottom rather than the top. Planting the tree at the same depth, or slightly higher than the depth in the nursery, improves oxygen availability to the plant’s roots.
Apple trees prefer a site with full sun, good air circulation, moderate fertility, and optimal water drainage. Although the trees can handle a variety of soil conditions, adding a bit of fertilizer and mulch can improve its chances of blossoming into a healthy tree. However, providing it with full sunlight, adequate water drainage, and consistent care can help overcome less than ideal soil.
The best times to plant the tree depend on where you live. For those in the North, it’s best to plant the trees as early as possible in the spring. If you live in the South, however, plan on planting the tree in the fall or winter when the air is moist and mild. You can also plant the trees in the fall if necessary.
If you’re planting more than one tree at a time, you’ll want to give standard trees at least 30 to 35 feet apart. Semidwarf apple trees require a 20 to 25 foot separation and dwarfs should sit approximately 15 to 20 feet apart. Regardless of which tree type you have, it’s crucial to pound a stake firmly and securely into the downwind side, which gives the tree extra support. Although the semidwarf’s don’t require support, it’s a good idea to help them out the first few years after planting.
Keeping out pests or unwanted visitors is essential to keep your apple trees happy and healthy. For this reason, consider putting a mouse guard around the tree. Ideally, it should reach up to around 10 inches or higher above the ground to help keep the pesky critters from attacking the tree. You’ll also want to water the new trees thoroughly, particularly when the weather is dry. Mulch them with clean straw or organic material (free from weeds) to help keep the ground moist and control the weeds.