Spring flowers, summer shade and delicious fruit are just some of the wonderful benefits of owning an apple tree. These trees prefer dry, warm climates and moist, loamy soil. Fruit is produced by the pollination of the tree’s flowers. Because many apple trees do not self-pollinate, a variety of apple trees that bloom at the same time need to be planted to encourage self-pollination and fruit production. An apple tree will usually bear fruit in its fourth or fifth year. Fruit comes in many sizes and colors and is best eaten right off the tree.
Best Time & Location to Plant – Apple trees are best planted in late fall or early spring, in a location with wind block to help the fruit from falling off before maturity.
Size of Tree – Apple trees can grow to about 40 feet, but also come in dwarf varieties which are easier to maintain.
Apple Tree Care
Apple trees unfortunately are susceptible to many insect and disease issues and require special attention. By properly controlling insects and disease, fertilizing and regularly pruning the trees you can enjoy the beauty and fruit of this tree on your landscape for years.
During the early spring and summer fungicide applications are essential to prevent disease and produce healthy, high quality fruit.
At the beginning of the growing season horticultural oils should also be used to smother scale insects and reduce over wintering populations of aphid and mite eggs.
All dead or diseased branches should be pruned, and any dried up apples, fallen leaves and plant debris should be removed away from trees.
Newly planted trees benefit from ArborKelp®, SavATree’s exclusive seaweed biostimulant which aids in tree establishment, promotes root growth and heightens stress tolerance.
Mature and established apple trees benefit from fertilizer feedings of organic-based macro and micronutrients for the nutrition necessary to sustain their health.
Apple Tree Pruning
Pruning and training deciduous fruit trees are performed primarily to increase fruit production and develop a strong tree framework of optimum size and shape. Pruning is necessary to maintain tree health, vigor and productivity throughout the life of the home orchard. Benefits of pruning and training include:
- Aid in the establishment of newly planted trees
- Enhance early productivity
- Increase fruit size and quality
- Promote flower bud development throughout the tree canopy
- Promote development of new fruiting wood needed to maintain productivity
- Reduce the tendency for biennial bearing
- Reduce incidence and spread of certain diseases
- Facilitate spraying, fruit thinning and harvesting
The best time to prune apple trees is in the winter, promoting tree growth during the growing season. Apple trees that have reached desired size can be pruned in summer, hindering future growth.
Apple Tree Diseases:
- Apple scab
- Leaf spot,
- Powdery mildew
- Fire blight
- Apple maggot
Symptoms of Apple Tree Diseases & Pests:
- Spots and/or holes on leaves or fruit
- Stunted growth
- White coating on leaves
- Branch dieback
- Yellowing or browning of foliage
Many of these insect and disease conditions can weaken the tree and lead to tree death if not treated. If you suspect a problem with your trees, call a SavATree certified arborist right away for an evaluation and treatment options. Our apple tree care experts can help protect your trees and keep your landscape beautiful.
Diseased photo: Apple scab-5061012 by Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org