How to grow an apple tree. In the right climate is easy to grow. And if cared for is beautiful and productive, yielding dozens of apples every year in autumn. Apples grow best in a cool dry climate, and Australia is in the South of the country. You can grow an apple from seed, but of course, it will take a bit longer to grow.
PLANTING APPLE SEEDS
Make sure that you get good seeds, and that you prepare the earth really well before planting the seedlings out. Put damp cotton wool on a kitchen tray. Place the apple seeds on the tray two inches apart and leave them in the kitchen.
Then they need to be placed in their tray in the fridge for 6 weeks before they are planted in the earth. They require the cold chain effect to germinate and taking them out after 6 weeks some will have germinated.
As they germinate, this is nature’s signal to end the dormancy.
Plant them into the ground also at a two-inch distance apart. Not all the seeds will germinate, and if you get a 25-30% survival rate that is good. The seedlings will need to be in full sun, and two varieties are required for successful pollination.
It is best not to plant seeds from an apple that you have just eaten. As they will not be able to pollinate as the variant will be different. And the different varieties do not cross-pollinate.
PREPARING THE SOIL
Soil preparation is really important in how to grow your apple tree. Don’t plant until the frosts are over. And the night temperature is over 50 degrees in late spring.
Make sure that the soil has a mixture of nutrients and is well-drained. They have a long growing period. And it will be around eight years before you can expect any fruit.
WHEN TO PRUNE YOUR APPLE TREE
You should now have around six little apple trees growing in your new orchard. When they are nearly ready to grow fruit. Late winter is the best time to prune them. Then you will get more vigorous spring growth.
To encourage the tree to bear fruit, leave the pruning until early spring. This way you can remove any branches that did not survive through the winter. Pruning is essential for the care and fruit production of your tree.
How to grow an apple tree.
If you are in a small suburban garden. Consider an espaliered apple tree, and grow it against a wall. This way it takes up less space, and if you have two of them they can still bear fruit.
They will still require 6-8 hours of full sun. And will also require pruning. Plants need to be planted 2.5 to 3 meters apart.
PROTECTING YOUR APPLE TREE FROM FRUIT FLY
There are two hundred or more species of fruit flies in Australia. Two of those species have to be kept away from our gardens. The fruit fly season begins in August.
When the flies lay their eggs under the skin of the fruit. The eggs hatch and feed causing the fruit to drop off the tree.
So it is important to prevent the fruit fly from attacking by implementing good hygiene.
Get rid of any damaged or rotting fruit. Pick up any rotting fruit from the ground. If you have any chooks, let them peck around the tree and eat the maggots.
Put some lures into the trees to trap the fruit flies. lures are plastic bottles with some holes drilled in them. Filled with sweet syrup to attract the flies. Change the lure weekly with the trapped flies inside.
WHEN TO HARVEST YOUR APPLES
When in the northern hemisphere south-facing apples. Will get more sunlight than the ones on the north side of the tree. Harvest time is late summer into autumn.
Your apple is ready to pick when you give the stem a slight twist. And it comes away in your hand. Once the apples are picked they can be stored in temperature-controlled conditions for up to 10 months.
In a cold climate.
A bin of straw outside will be fine for your apples over winter. They will keep well into the following spring. You won’t require refrigeration outside during winter. You can eat the windfalls from the ground but wash them well first.
Apples are best eaten when ripe as they are a bit sour when not ripe. Some varieties known as cooking apples are a bit sour all the time. These can be cooked up with a bit of sugar, and eaten with ice cream.
HOW TO GROW AN APPLE TREE
Growing an apple tree is not really hard. It just takes time to mature and bear fruit. Once your trees are established they will be quite hardy. An apple tree can easily survive for 100 hundred years or more depending on the variety.
In Vancouver, Washington, there is an old apple tree planted in 1826. And has been responsible for the area’s whole apple industry. That makes the tree almost 200 years old, and many go to visit it.
PRUNING YOUR APPLE TREE ANNUALLY
When learning how to grow an apple tree and it has started fruiting. The annual pruning becomes even more important to its longevity. The pruning opens up the tree canopy to the sunlight. If the tree does not get its annual pruning it will not flourish.
And have as much fruit as it should. If you feel that you are not able to do this yourself call in an expert to do it for you. As your fruit crop will depend on it.
How to grow an apple tree.
Once your apple tree is established it is quite low maintenance compared to other fruit trees. It is also quite comforting to know that the tree will be there bearing fruit when most of us are long gone. And that future generations can enjoy the apples.