Planting Apple Trees Guide
Purchasing Apple Trees
Apple trees can be purchased through mail-order catalogs as bare-rooted whips. They are one year old and single-stem trees without any side branches. Apple trees also can be purchased from local nurseries or garden centers.
Ordering Apple Trees
If you want growing apple trees from whips, you should order apple trees early for spring “apple tree planting” in March or April. It may be best to “heel in” the plants until the soil is dry enough to prepare for proper planting apple trees. To heel in the plants, dig a small trench and cover the plants with 2 to 3 inches of soil.
Soil Preparation for Apple Trees
Soil preparation is best done a month or more before planting apple trees so that the soil has time to settle. Dig a 60cm (2ft) deep by 1.2m (4ft) square hole. If the tree is being planted in soil which has previously been fertilized for other crops, do not add more fertilizer – too fertile a soil will result in too much tree growth at the expense of too little fruit growth.
If the tree is being planted in a lawn, prepare as above, working in three handfuls of bonemeal or other long-lasting fertilizer.
Planting Apple Trees
Before planting apple trees, soak the tree roots in water for half an hour. Spread the roots before filling the hole. Hold the tree in place so that the bud union is 2 to 3 inches above the ground level. Otherwise, the scion 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 for use last.
Before the hole is completely filled with soil, add two gallons of water. After planting apple trees, apply water at the rate of two to three gallons per tree every two to three weeks.
Keep an area at least 12 inches away from the tree trunk free of grasses and weeds. Mulch applied 2 to 3 inches deep over the root zone can help control weeds and conserve soil moisture.
If home apple growers choose to plant container-grown trees, they can plant these trees any time during the growing season as long as sufficient water is supplied. The depth of planting is dependent on soil type or texture. In sandy loam soils that drain well, plants should be positioned in the planting hole at the level they were originally grown in the nursery.
Most Ohio soils, however, are not well-drained. They usually consist of silt and clay particles, and drainage is often less than desirable. In soils that drain poorly, plants should 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 can be placed from 2 to 4 inches higher than they were during their growth in the nursery.
The width of the planting apple trees hole should be at least two or three times the diameter of the root ball. After placing 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. Plant dwarf trees about 8 feet apart in the row and allow 14 feet between rows. Semi-dwarf trees should be spaced 10 feet apart in the row with 16 feet between rows.
That’s all about planting apple trees.