Fruit Tree CareAs an apple orchard, we often get lots of questions from people about how to care for their home fruit trees. There are some really great intensive guides out there on all kinds of things about home fruit tree care, but sometimes we find people are wanting to know…what is the bare basics I need to do every year to care for my home apple tree. This is all you need to do in year 1 for your fruit tree. You should not expect to get any apples until year 3.
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Make a donation. Apples are probably the easiest tree fruit to grow and the most popular with gardeners. You may be lucky enough to have one in your garden already, but if not, they are easy to establish. There are thousands of different types of apples, but they broadly fall into two categories: dessert apples for eating, and cookers, as the name suggest, for cooking.
Some are dual-purpose, so suitable for both uses. Once established, apples require very little care throughout the year. Water apples during dry spells and from when the fruit starts to swell, particularly if they are newly planted or in containers. The most effective method of doing this for rows of fruit trees is to place a drip line or seep hose under the trees. Large, established trees will be more resistant to periods of drought.
In early spring, feed with a high potassium general fertiliser, such as Vitax Q4. Apples should be pruned every year to get the best crop. Timing and method of pruning depends on the type of apple you are growing.
We have extensive advice on apple pruning. It's generally recommended to buy named cultivars of apples from a reputable specialist nursery. They are supplied as young trees ready for planting.
Sowing apples from their pips would just take too long, and just as children are not identical to their parents, fruit trees are not true to type when reproduced from seed.
The ideal position for an apple tree is a sunny, sheltered site, well away from any frost pockets. Avoid poorly-drained or shallow soils. You will see apple trees for sale in two forms: bare-root stock as the name suggested, the roots are exposed when you purchase these plants or in containers. Bare-root plants should be planted from late autumn until early spring; containerised plants can be planted at any time of year, though winter is preferred. If planting in the garden, dig a hole no deeper than the roots, but up to three times the diameter of the root system spread the roots out on the ground before digging the hole.
If the sides or base of the planting hole are really hard, break the soil up with a fork before planting. Place the plant in the planting hole and carefully refill, placing soil between and around all the roots to eliminate air pockets.
Firm the soil gently by stepping on it. If you want to grow an apple in a container you must choose one that has been specially grown for a container. Apple trees are not grown on their own roots. The top of the tree is grafted onto different roots called a rootstock , and the roots control the size of the tree. Therefore, when you are choosing an apple for a container you must make sure it is grafted onto a container rootstock.
If growing in a container, choose one that is cm in in diameter. When planting, place some crocks small pieces of broken concrete, clay pots, or polystyrene in the bottom of the containers to retain moisture. Use a good-quality compost John Innes No 3 is ideal , or multi-purpose compost mixed with one-third by volume of grit. Aftercare is very important for new trees, so read more about looking after young apple trees in our advice profile.
Apples ripen from late summer through to late autumn, depending on the variety. As with most fruit, the obvious way to test if an apple is ripe is to taste it. Another indication that apples are ready to pick is that there are a few windfalls on the ground. Ripe fruits should have swelled to a good size and started to colour up. To pick an apple, cup it in your hand, lift gently and give a slight twist.
It should come off easily with the stalk intact. Most apples can be stored for a month or two if given in the right conditions, and some later-fruiting varieties can keep well for several months. Only store perfect fruits that show no signs of damage.
A cellar is ideal, and a shed or garage is the next best option. A slightly humid atmosphere helps to preserve the fruit. They can be also wrapped in paper to prevent contact. Check the stored fruits regularly, removing any showing signs of deterioration or rot. Your best bet when choosing an apple for your garden is to do your research before purchasing, and buy from a specialist nursery that can give you individual advice.
More advice on choosing apples. Dark green patches appear on leaves followed by raised, brown or black corky scabs on the surface of the fruit. Light attacks only damage the skin and eating quality is hardly affected. In severe cases, the fruit may split. Scab is caused by a fungus. Prune out infected stems or shoots, and burn or compost fallen leaves and infected fruit, which will help prevent the spread. The sawfly lays its eggs in apple blossom. When the larvae hatch they create scar-like markings on the skin of the forming fruits.
Brown rot is a fungal disease causing a brown, spreading rot in fruit, sometimes with white pustules of fungi on the surface. It is usually worse in wet summers. Remove all rotten fruit as soon as you see it and destroy, this will prevent the spread of the rot. This is a physiological problem, caused by the growing conditions, not a pest or disease.
Sunken holes appear on the surface of the fruit, and underneath the fruit is discoloured. You can still eat the apples. It is caused by poor levels of calcium in the plant and erratic watering. Correct feeding and watering to maintain steady growth throughout the growing season is the key to reducing problems with bitter pit. This wonderful apple, almond and honey dessert cake is open and full of flavour and perfect for using up windfall apples in season.
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Save to My scrapbook. Jobs to do now Prune large well-established apple trees unless severe frost is forecast Plant bare-root trees and bushes. It is a very attractive apple with a superb taste to match. Being a tip bearer it is best grown as a bush tree. Cropping is good and the fruits turn from green to yellow as they ripen and will cook to a pink puree. It is ideal for cooler areas or growing in frost pockets as it is very late flowering. Cropping is very good and the fruits will cook to a good but sharpish puree.
The fruits cook to a very good puree. Best grown as a bush tree as it is largely a tip bearer. Impossibly large the fruits will hang on to the tree well into the early winter months. Particularly suited for garden use as it is not a strong growing tree. The fruits cook to a delicately flavoured puree often needing no additional sugar. Although this variety can be biennial cropping this can be partially eliminated by thinning. This apple follows on from Discovery and whilst being of equal quality the fruits often have a strawberry taste.
This variety is a tip bearer so is best geown as a bush tree. The fruits are golden brown with a largely russeted skin. Croppping is very reliable and the juicy fruits turn from green to a golden colour as they ripen.
Relatives : cherimoya A. Distribution : Sugar apples are mainly grown in the tropics. In Florida, sugar apple production is restricted to warm locations along the lower southeast and southwest coasts. However, home landscape trees may be found along the southeastern shore of Lake Okeechobee and in warm, protected locations along the lower east and west coasts.
The ideal apple tree has one central leader surrounded by evenly spaced scaffolding branches that have plenty of fruiting spurs. Thinning Fruit. During seasons.
The home fruit garden requires considerable care. Thus, people not willing or able to devote some time to a fruit planting will be disappointed in its harvest. Some fruits require more care than others do. Tree fruits and grapes usually require more protection from insects and diseases than strawberries and blackberries. In addition, sprays may be required to protect leaves, the trunk, and branches. Small fruits are perhaps the most desirable of all fruits in the home garden since they come into bearing in a shorter time and usually require few or no insecticide or fungicide sprays. Fresh fruits can be available throughout the growing season with proper selection of types and cultivars varieties. Avoid poorly drained areas. Deep, sandy loam soils, ranging from sandy clay loams to coarse sands or gravel mixtures, are good fruit soils.
Click here for printable PDF. To produce quality fruit, fruit trees such as apples, pears, cherries and plums need regular pruning in their first few years to develop healthy growth and well-spaced branches, and continuous minor pruning there-after. There are many different ways to prune fruit trees that result in good quality trees such as central leader, multi leader, open center, espalier and cordon styles, and we recommend that you research other methods if you are interested. This is an overview of central leader training, which results in an attractive fruit tree for ornamental home use. It is important to be willing to sacrifice maximum fruit production for the first few years in order to establish the proper form for your fruit tree.
A home apple orchard can conveniently provide tasty, fresh fruits for family consumption.
Every gardener needs to find out how long does it take for an apple tree to bear fruit before they can plant their own. Apples are a great addition to any landscape, and besides that, they provide an abundance of fresh fruit. Many gardeners love the thought of growing their juicy apples. It takes work to ensure your apple fruit bears healthy fruit from pruning to pest control. Gardeners who have small spaces can still grow apples but choose the dwarf apple trees.
It only makes sense that I think growing apple trees is a gardening high art. Part of that love and appeal comes from being raised on an old apple orchard. Back then I mostly climbed the trees, ate the fruit, and sadly, watched as the last survivors slowly succumbed to old age. Nowadays I get to plant new trees often and tend to those that are producing fruit regularly. We link to vendors to help you find relevant products.
The fruits produced are large and plentiful and precocious too, often yielding the first year. This rootstock can still yield at 20ibs or more per tree.
More Information ». Training and pruning are essential for growing fruit successfully. Fruit size, quality and pest management are influenced by training and pruning.RELATED VIDEO: Why Doesn't My New Apple Tree have Fruit?
Become a better gardener! Discover our new Almanac Garden Planner features forFall means apple harvest time! See our tips on harvesting apples—as well as caring for apple trees, apple tree problems, and everything about planting and growing juicy apples in the home garden! Even in a small space, you can plant a hedge of dwarf apple trees or an apple espalier and yield a successful crop. Spring planting is recommended in central and northern areas.
How to select and care for fruit trees to ensure a bountiful, organic harvest. And you can enjoy a steady supply of fruit for much of the year.
The purpose of the home gardener or orchardist is more about growing high-quality fruits in reasonable quantities, and growing healthy trees that are easy to harvest. Pruning is one of several practices necessary to achieve these goals. The tree will get larger over time perhaps to 30 or more feet in some species and upper leafy branches will shade the lower parts of the tree. Shade will inhibit formation of fruiting wood that is, flower production , and therefore fruit production. As a result, fruit is eventually confined to the tips of the branches, where light is present, and on a tall tree harvesting these fruits can be very difficult and even dangerous, requiring a ladder. Sunlight penetration can also be necessary for proper fruit color development in some species.
Growing apples in your garden or backyard can be extremely rewarding, and with adequate knowledge and preparation, it can also be a fun and simple process. Now, you may be wondering, how long does it take to grow an apple tree? This post will answer that question by looking at different apple tree varieties and how quickly they grow, the impact of sun, soil, and water, and challenges related to fruiting.