Biting into a juicy red apple is a fantastic feeling. But what’s even better than that is when you get to enjoy the beauty of the apple tree blossoms in the spring and then pluck the apples right from your own trees in the fall and enjoy the luscious fruit while sitting on your front porch. Unfortunately, a lot of people feel intimidated by the prospect of growing apple trees in their yard. However, like many other fruit-bearing trees, with a little bit of TLC and a few easy gardening hacks, your apple trees can blossom and produce fruit just like you’re a pro. Here are five tips that will help you grow healthy apple trees in your yard.
1. Pay Attention to the Soil
The good news is that apple trees don’t need very high-quality soil. They can thrive in moderate-quality soil. However, you must ensure proper drainage. Heavy clay or compact subsoil doesn’t do any favors for the growth of apple trees, so it’s best to avoid this soil type. Apple trees prefer loamy soil with a pH of 5.5–6.5. Extreme soil pH can result in soil toxicity and lead to poor development of the trees.Soil
with a higher amount of organic matter is also preferable, as it can help provide the young roots with necessary nutrients. More on this later.
2. Don’t Shy Away from Sunlight
Apple trees love sunlight, provided they don’t have to face the late-afternoon sun during summertime, as this can be harsh on the leaves. Six hours of full sunlight daily is essential for optimal growth. Bright sunlight allows the tree to produce bigger and juicier apples. If the branches are shaded, the fruits stop growing. It’s also important to prune the trees correctly so that the top of the trees remain exposed to sunlight. For best results, try to plant your apple trees on the eastern or the southern side of your yard for better exposure to sunlight.
However, younger apple trees are prone to sunburn when exposed to too much sunlight. An easy fix to avoid this issue is by using a mixture of white latex paint and water. Slather the mixture on the tree’s trunk and the branches that are directly exposed to the sun.
Paint helps protect these exposed areas by reflecting the sunlight. Use this treatment for at least a couple of seasons until the canopy is big enough to provide natural protection to the trunks and the limbs of the tree.
3. Don’t Forget to Provide Room to Grow
If you’re keen to grow full-size apple trees, you need to provide adequate space for them to grow. The roots of an apple tree are quite delicate. If you want your apple trees to grow properly and give you an excellent yield, you need to make sure that they have enough room to grow well. Usually, full-sized trees should be planted 15 to 18 feet apart for best results.
This distance is also crucial for ensuring good cross-pollination. Cross-pollination is essential for trees to produce the best fruit, as most apple trees cannot pollinate on their own. Trees that bloom at the same time are the best candidates for cross-pollination. You can also consider planting other fruit-bearing trees in your yard that bloom at the same time as your apple tree blossoms. However, make sure that the trees belong to the same genus. For instance, you can cross-pollinate crabapples and pears as they are all pome fruits.
4. Fertilize Well
An apple tree blossoms well and produces a generous bounty to enjoy when it receives proper nutrients from the soil. While producing fruits, apple trees tend to use up a lot of potassium and calcium from the soil. That’s why it’s imperative to replenish these nutrients through fertilization. However, there’s a science behind fertilization, and merely loading the soil with too many chemicals can yield undesirable results.
Start with a soil assessment test to determine what nutrients are lacking. The deficiency of boron is quite common with apple trees and can result in corky spots inside the apples. If you’re getting extremely soft apples, chances are the soil is deficient in calcium. If the color of the fruit is paler than expected, your soil may be lacking potassium.
It’s also important to fertilize the trees correctly. If it’s a mature tree with an extensive root system, the fertilizer should be a foot away from the trunk. The best time to fertilize your apple trees is during the fall season, when the leaves have fallen. You can also fertilize the trees just when the flower buds are about to break. Apple trees do well with both organic and chemical fertilizers. Choose one according to what nutrients are missing from the soil.
5. Don’t Skip Pruning
Regular pruning is non-negotiable for apple trees. Timely pruning is similar to getting a haircut—not only does it help you to maintain a proper appearance, but it’s also essential for better growth of the fruits and flowers. Pruning helps with the fruit size, promotes the healthy development of the flower buds, and reduces the spread of deadly diseases.
You can either opt for structural pruning that gets rid of the dead branches or maintenance pruning that gets rid of the water shoots. The timing of the pruning is also extremely important. It’s advisable to prune the tree during winter to enjoy a full bloom during spring.
Bear in mind that pruning at the incorrect time of the year or using the wrong pruning techniques can damage your apple trees permanently. After all, pruning is a lot more than just chopping off a few inches. To ensure proper pruning of your beloved trees, contacting certified arborists such as the ones at Mr. Tree is a great idea. Our experts are here to answer all your queries about pruning. Our professionals also use the right tools so that your trees don’t suffer any damage.
So allow us to take care of all your pruning needs while you sit back, relax, and enjoy the wonderful harvest from the trees.