If you love apples, you’re going to love learning how to grow an apple tree! Apples are not only super delicious fresh, but they also make great desserts (apple pie anyone?), and once you plant them, you’ll have apples for years and years to come! Learn how to grow an apple tree, care for it, and harvest it the right way!
How to Grow an Apple Tree in Your Garden
Growing an apple tree doesn’t mean you have to have acres and acres of land. You can plant a hedge of dwarf apple trees or even just one apple tree which will be plenty to feed you and your family!
Climate for an Apple Tree:
- In central and northern areas, plant in the spring. In areas where fall and winter are mild, plant in the fall.
- Not all apple trees grow successfully everywhere. You’ll need to visit your local nursery and to see which variety of apple tree is recommended.
- As a general rule though, if a tree is termed hardy, it grows best in USDA zones 3-5. If a tree is termed long-season, they’ll grow better in USDA zones 5-8.
Planting Site and Soil:
- Apple trees need well drained soil.
- The soil should be moderately rich.
- Mulch with straw, hay, or other organic material to keep the soil moist and provide nutrients.
- Choose a spot where your apple tree will receive full sunlight. For an apple tree to grow successfully, it will need a spot where it will receive at least 6-8 hours of sun per day.
- Seedlings or trees should be planted 15-18 feet apart in a row. For the dwarf variety, plant 4-8 feet apart in a row.
- If you’re growing the dwarf variety, make sure to place next to a fence for support.
- Do not plant near wooded areas or other trees.
Planting an Apple Tree:
- Remove all weeds and grass in a 4 foot diameter circle.
- Dig a hole about twice the diameter of the root system and 2 feet deep.
- Spread some of the soil back into the hole and spread them over the root system.
- Firm the soil in place.
- Do not add fertilizer at this time.
Caring for an Apple Tree:
- Try not to prune a young apple tree. This can inhibit their growth. Only remove dead branches in necessary.
- If need be, place a stake and tie your young tree with twine to protect from high winds and hard weather.
- Once your apple tree has matured and is bearing fruit, you can go ahead and prune.
- Prune your mature tree only when it is dormant. Remove weak twigs and branches, and droopy branches.
- Depending on the apple variety you have, you can harvest your apples once they appear the correct size, shape, and color.
- Harvest season can stretch from August to October.
- Dwarf varieties will start bearing fruits in 3-4 years, while regular varieties will take about 5-8 years. Be patient with your tree because once it starts producing, you’ll have beautiful apples every year for years to come!