If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to grow, care for and harvest your own apples, then follow our handy guide!
Growing apples is a lot of hard work. However, it is something anyone can do if you have a back garden and the will to do it.
If you grow apple trees in the manner that we will show you, your trees will be strong and healthy and they will produce juicy and nutritious apples for a long time.
Apples grow in most parts of the United States and the United Kingdom. In the United States, apple trees growing in zones five to eight have the best quality.
The best thing about growing apple trees is obviously the fruits they produce; they are delicious and nutritious. They can also be used to make apple juice and they typically look quite attractive in gardens.
How to Plant Apples
Apple trees grow best in full sun and in well-drained soils. They hate being grown too close to or under trees. They also don’t like being grown too close together. Therefore, when choosing where to grow apple trees in your garden, you should keep these things in mind.
To plant an apple tree, you need to prepare the ground around the area you will plant it. Ground preparation simply involves clearing a small circle of about four feet in diameter and then digging the dirt extensively to loosen the soil to ensure root penetration.
After doing this, you should dig a two-foot deep and 1.5-foot wide hole in the middle. You need to prepare at least two planting sites because apple trees are not self-fertile and, therefore, each and every tree requires a pollinating mate.
Once you’ve prepared planting sites, get seedlings or small apple trees from a reputable nursery. When getting them, consult extensively with the seller to make sure the two or more trees you are getting can cross-pollinate.
After doing this, place an apple tree in each planting site and separate the primary roots. After you have separated or spread the roots, you simply need to pack the dirt back into the holes you dug to ensure stability.
How To Care For Apple Trees
Immediately after planting young apple trees in your garden, you need to water them to moisten the soil around their roots. You then need to continue watering them regularly to ensure they have water to grow and to stay healthy.
Adding mulch around the base of young apple trees is recommended to reduce moisture loss, especially during summer. However, you need to remember to remove the mulch in the fall to prevent pests from nesting in them during winter.
In the early months, young apple trees need training. Standard apple trees can be trained to utilise a modified ladder, while dwarf varieties can use wooden posts.
How to Harvest Apples
Harvesting apples is very easy. You simply need to wait patiently until they turn entirely from green to reddish.
Once this happens, simply pluck them from the branches. To pluck an apple, cup it in your palm and twist it around gently.
If your apples are just ripe, you can consume them. If they are overripe, you can use them to prepare meals.
Overwhelmed with the number of apples you now have? If you can’t give them all away to appreciative neighbours then here are some recipes to try.
Tips and Common Problems
When planting apples, you should avoid adding fertiliser. This is because the fertiliser can burn the roots and kill your apple trees within days of planting them.
It is also essential to go for hardy apple trees that are recommended for your region. Growing random apple trees from a region in the tropics will not grant you much success.
Apples are very susceptible to pests. Therefore, you need to protect them. And the best way to do this is to use organic pesticides. However, you need to use them correctly to avoid negatively affecting bees and pollination.
Apple scab is a common problem caused by a fungus where dark patches appear on your leaves and fruit leading to rotting. It can be solved by simply removing the areas of the tree that are affected.