5 quick tips on how to grow your own apples

July 29, 2015

Growing your own apples is tempting. Imagine having that bumper crop to use all winter! The following 5 tips on apple tree care will help you decide if you’d like to cultivate your own fruit.

5 quick tips on how to grow your own apples

1. Apple tree basics

If you’re thinking of growing apples, you’ve made a good choice. Apple trees are an excellent garden tree and can be highly productive. There are hundreds of varieties most of which are self-sterile. In order for them to pollinate, you need two varieties flowering at the same time.

Early-maturing varieties include 'Willie Sharpe', 'Red Gravenstein' and 'Early Mclntosh', while 'Jonathan' and 'Delicious' are great mid-season varieties. 'Granny Smith' is a late-maturing apple variety but you can still see it pollinating both 'Jonathan' and 'Delicious'.

The fruit of the late-maturing varieties is considered to have better flavour and texture.

2. Mixed varieties

There are also some excellent grafted varieties, where three different types of apple grow on a single, self-pollinating tree.

If you have a busy life and are looking for a super manageable tree, a miniature, single-stem apple is perfect for a small courtyard or balcony garden. Keep in mind though that, while attractive, the fruit may not be very tasty.
If you’re looking for a traditional variety that is not so widespread anymore, what are known as ‘heirloom’ types, ask at your local nursery. Some have reintroduced types like 'Brown Pippin', 'Holly', 'Merton Worcester' and 'Andre Savage'.

3. Can you grow an apple tree?

Apple trees prefer cooler climates, with warm summers and cool to cold winters.

They need moderately rich and well-drained soil, as well as plenty of water in summer if conditions become dry.

The fruit grows on lateral wood that is more than two years old, which means it will take at least a couple of years before a new apple tree begins to bear fruit.

Winter is the main pruning time.

4. How to care for an apple tree

In order for your apple tree to flourish, you need to know how to prune it and protect it from pests. These tips will help you cultivate a healthy crop of apples:

  • When pruning the tree, remove any inward growth to keep its shape open.
  • Shorten back the side shoots leaving three or four of the buds.

5. How to prevent tree illness

You can reduce the need for pesticides if you take preventative measures against pests and diseases

  • To prevent codling moth, wrap a band of newspaper or hessian around the trunk of the threatened tree. Remove and burn it every six weeks.
  • You can discourage fruit fly by keeping the garden free from rotting fruit. Also, hang traps in the trees and apply sprays or splash baits.

Easy tips on cultivating apple trees

Apple trees love a climate like Canada’s so, with the right care, you can look forward to yielding a supply of delicious fruit for eating raw or using in cooking. These 5 tips will set you on track for growing your own apples with success.

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