Tips Tree Planting: Planting Apple Trees

Apple trees are a delightful addition to any garden, but they require some special care to ensure their successful growth. In this article, we will guide you through the process of planting apple trees step by step, so you can enjoy a bountiful harvest for years to come.

Testing the Soil

Related Posts: how to plant a peach tree

Before you begin planting, it’s important to test the soil where your apple trees will be located. This will help you determine if the soil is fertile enough to support their growth. You should also check the soil pH, as apple trees thrive in a pH range of 6.0-7.0. Avoid planting in extremely heavy or poorly drained soils that can hinder the tree’s development.

Planting Steps

Now that you have prepared the soil, it’s time to start planting your apple tree. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Soak the roots: Before planting, immerse the apple tree’s roots in a bucket or tub of water for one to two hours. This will prevent them from drying out during the planting process. Remember not to expose the roots to freezing temperatures.

Soak roots in tub of water

  1. Dig the planting hole: Dig a hole that is deep and wide enough to accommodate the root system of the apple tree. Keep the topsoil separate from the subsoil, as the topsoil contains more nutrients that will benefit the tree.

  2. Improve the soil: To improve the soil’s condition, mix aged/rotted manure, garden compost, coir, or peat moss (up to 1/3 concentration) with the topsoil. This will help loosen the soil and provide essential nutrients for the tree.

  3. Plant the tree: Place the apple tree in the center of the planting hole, ensuring that the roots are spread out. Backfill the hole with topsoil, carefully working the soil around the roots and firming it down as you go. Create a rim of soil around the hole to catch water and prevent soil erosion.

Post-Planting Care

Once the apple tree is planted, it’s important to provide proper care to ensure its healthy growth. Here are some post-planting tips:

  • Watering: Give your newly planted apple tree a deep watering of about a gallon of water. This will help establish its root system. If fertilization is necessary, you can use a water-soluble solution like Stark® Tre-Pep® Fertilizer. In the fall, add more soil if settling occurs.

Watering the roots

  • Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood mulch, around the root zone of the apple tree. This will help suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil. In the fall, double the mulch layer or add straw for winter protection.

Planting Budded and Grafted Apple Trees

If you are planting budded or grafted apple trees, special attention is required to ensure their successful growth. Here are some important considerations:

  • Keep the graft above soil level: It is crucial to keep the graft (the joint between the fruiting variety and the root variety) above the soil level. This will prevent the rootstock from growing and bypassing the dwarfing parts of the tree.

  • Proper planting depth: For dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees, the bud union should be planted 2-3 inches above the soil line. Standard-size apple trees and Stark® Custom Graft® trees should be planted 1-2 inches deeper than the visible soil lines from when they grew in the nursery rows.

Planting Potted Apple Trees

If you are planting potted apple trees, follow these guidelines for a successful planting:

  1. Water the roots: When your potted apple tree arrives, make sure to water it thoroughly. If planting is delayed, keep the roots hydrated and store the tree in a sheltered location.

  2. Remove the tree from the container: Gently slide the apple tree out of its temporary container. If the roots don’t come out easily, loosen them until they slide freely.

  3. Plant the tree: Place the potted tree, soil and all, into the prepared planting hole. Backfill with topsoil and water thoroughly.

  4. Stake the tree: If necessary, stake the apple tree to provide support during its early years of growth.

Please remember not to plant the bottomless pot in the ground, as it can restrict root growth and harm the tree in the long run.

With these tips, you can confidently plant apple trees in your garden and enjoy the rewards of their delicious fruit. For more information and expert advice on tree planting, visit Tips Tree Planting.

Related Posts: fruit tree companion planting chart