Some tips for growing apple trees include choosing disease-resistant varieties, choosing the right variety for the area, planting trees in the right conditions, pruning trees regularly and training young trees sufficiently. It is also helpful to fertilize trees and to control weeds growing around the bases of the trunks.
Choosing the right kind of apple tree is important. Disease-resistant varieties are usually the easiest to grow, as they do not require a lot of pesticides to maintain. Climate is another important consideration; some trees thrive in cooler climates, whereas others require milder winters. Most apple varieties are not self-pollinators, so gardeners should consider which varieties can cross-pollinate in the area. Nurseries can usually provide information regarding trees that can pollinate well in the region.
Gardeners need to plant in spring in most climates; however, fall planting works well for regions with mild winters. Trees require lots of drainage, so choose an area that is not waterlogged. Add organic matter to the soil to provide plenty of nutrients. As apples require lots of sunlight to grow fruit, choose a planting area that receives at least six hours of full sunlight per day.
Young apple trees do not require a lot of pruning, as trimming branches can stunt their growth. However, gardeners should rub off irregular buds. Mature trees require annual pruning. Each year, cut back taller stems, droopy stems, weak twigs, old branches and overcrowded branches.
When trees are young, train the trunk and branches to grow in a specific pattern. Gardeners can train trees around a central leader trunk or train them along a scaffold.
Apple trees require lots of nutrients to thrive; however, too much fertilizer can weaken trees. Gardeners should take a sample of soil each summer to determine what nutrients are required in the following season. They should also weed the area around the base of the tree to keep out pests and remove competition for key nutrients.