Planting Apple Trees

When and how Should I Plant Apple Trees?

Apple trees may be bought through mail-order catalogs as bare-rooted whips that are one year old and single-stem trees with out any side branches. They are able to also be bought from nearby nurseries or garden centers as container-grown trees. Nevertheless, a much higher choice of apple cultivar's is available through catalogs.

If home apple producers decide to develop apple trees from whips, they ought to order apple trees early for spring planting in March or April. When plants arrive, don't allow the roots to dry out. It might be best to "heel in" the plants till the soil is dry enough to prepare for proper planting. To heel in the plants, dig a small trench and cover the plants with two to three inches of soil.

Prior to planting, soak the tree roots in water for half an hour. Dig a deep and wide hole to provide housing for the root system. Spread the roots before filling the hole. Hold the tree in place to ensure that the bud union is two to three inches above ground level. Otherwise, the scion or cultivar will form roots, and dwarf or semi-dwarf trees will turn into standard-size trees. Cover the roots with top soil and leave the sub soil last.

Prior to the hole being entirely filled with soil, add two gallons of water. After planting, apply water at the rate of two to three gallons per tree every two to three weeks.

Keep an area a minimum of 12 inches away from the tree trunk totally free of grasses and weeds. Mulch applied two to three inches deep over the root zone might help control weeds and conserve soil moisture.

If home apple growers select to plant container-grown trees, they are able to plant these trees any time during the growing season so long as adequate water is supplied. The depth of planting is dependent on soil type or texture. In sandy loam soils that drain well, plants ought to be positioned in the planting hole at the level they had been initially grown in the nursery.

 Most Kentucky soils, however, are not well-drained. They generally consist of silt and clay particles, and drainage is usually much less than desirable. In soils that drain poorly, plants ought to be planted somewhat higher than they were in the nursery. More air needs to reach the root system when soils drain poorly. In these soil conditions, plants may be placed from two to four inches higher than they had been throughout their growth in the nursery.

The width of the planting hole ought to be a minimum of two or three times the diameter of the root ball. Following putting the container-grown tree in the planting hole, back fill with soil. Apply water at the rate of two to three gallons per tree every two to three weeks. Mulch two to three inches deep.

Plant dwarf trees about 8 feet apart in the row and permit 14 feet in between rows. Semi-dwarf trees ought to be spaced ten feet apart in the row with 16 feet between rows.