Growing apple trees at home is simple and rewarding for many years. Apples are one of the best-loved fruits and they are easy to grow. Just follow these steps to grow them in your yard.
Apple, scientifically known as Malus Domestica, is a widely domesticated tree fruit from the family Rosaceae. It’s a fleshy fruit whereby the ripened tissue and the ovaries are edible. Apart from being consumed freshly, they can also be processed into jellies, juice, canned slices, etc.
The plant mostly requires cross-pollination during the fertilization process. The harvested fruit is always round in shape, 2-4 inches in diameter. Some varieties come in yellow, green, or red. They also vary in shape, size, and acidity.
Apple cultivation can be done in both small and large-scale farming. No matter the size of land you possess, apple cultivation yields as per the type of care you apply to the tree.
|Plant||February – March|
|Harvest||1 year + rootstock to 6 years|
|Temperature||60 degrees to 75 degrees F|
|Depth||12 to 17 inches|
|Spacing||15-18 feet apart|
|Direction||North or east side facing a slope|
|Drainage||Soaker hose or drip-system|
|Companion Plants||Comfrey, Chamomile, Dill, Basil, Nasturtium, Lemongrass, Coriander|
|Health Benefits||Antioxidants, Flavanoids, Fiber, Vitamin C + K, Potassium|
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Some of the apple varieties mainly cultivated are categorized as follows:
Apple Tree Varieties
Clonal rootstocks: – M7, M9, M26, MM11, MM106, etc.
Scab resistance: – Pricilla, Prima, Sir Prize, Florina, Mac free, Jonafree, Coop 12, Liberty, Freedom, Nova Mac, Shireen, Coop 13, etc.
Hybrids: – Lal Ambri , Sunehari , Chaubattia Princess, Chaubattia Anupam, Ambred, Ambrich, Ambroyal, etc.
Low Chilling: – Michal, Shlomit, Parlin’s Beauty, Tamma, Anna, Vered, Neomi, Tropical Beauty, etc.
Pollinating: – Red Gold, Tydeman’s Early, Mcintosh, Golden Delicious, Winter Banana, Lord Lambourne, Granny Smith, Golden Spur, Starkspur, etc.
7 Steps to Growing Apples
The soil should have a depth of around 45 cm. Soil with hard substrata hence allowing water-logged conditions should be avoided. Compacted subsoil should also be avoided due to its improper drainage
Loamy soils that are rich in organic matter and proper drainage/aerated is the best fit for apple cultivation. Mulching should also be considered. You can apply hay, straw, or any other organic material to moisture the soil and nutritional benefit after decomposition.
Soil pH Testing
You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.
Growing apples is done in three ways depending on the farmer’s choice. Grafting, budding, and rootstocks
Several methods graft apples; whip, cleft, tongue, and root grafting. Cleft and Tongue grafting is done at 10-15 cm just above the collar in the month of February-March for the best results. It’s advisable to graft at the end of winter.
The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon.
Propagation here is done by shield budding. This has a high chance of success. At this point, a single bud plus a piece of stem is cut together with the scion which is then inserted beneath the rind of rootstock in a T-shaped incision in its active growth stage. Budding is usually done during the summer when it is fully formed.
This includes Golden Delicious, wealthy, Yellow Newton, Granny Smith, Macintosh, and Granny Smith also can be used. Dwarfing rootstocks, for instance, M9, M7, M4, and M106 are done when the plantation is intensified.
Before planting, make sure to remove all weeds in a 5-foot diameter circle. You have protected your purchased tree from injuries, drying out, overheating, or freezing. Dried roots should be soaked in water for 24 hours prior to planting.
Prepare the ground
Dig a hole that is approximately 2 feet deep and two times the diameter of the root system. Take the topsoil or loose soil back into the hole. Make sure that the soil is loosened to allow easier root penetration. Now spread the seedling roots on the loose soil to avoid twisting and overcrowding.
Continue replacing the soil over the roots. Start affirming soil around the roots as you replace the soil to ensure that the roots are in contact with the soil. Avoid the application of the fertilizer during the planting time to prevent the roots from being burned by the fertilizer. Grafted seedlings should be kept 2 inches above the soil to prevent roots from emerging from the scion.
200-1250 is the average number of seedlings per ha. Scion and rootstock combinations are determinants for plant spacing and the density/unit area.
Apple trees are very sensitive to low moisture in the soil. This water stress during the growing period affects fruit yields. As a result, a uniform supply of water during the growth period leads to higher yields. They require water of around 114 cm p.a. This can be equivalent to 15-20 irrigations.
During the summer period, an interval of 7-10 days is maintained. During winter, the 3-4 week interval is recommended. During critical periods, e.g., April-August at least eight irrigation is recommended.
Caring for apples is important for higher quality yields. Apple trees should be trained/pruned to provide a conducive environment for their growth. For you to achieve high yields and proper growth, then it’s better to practice timely training and pruning.
Training, Thinning and pruning
Training depends on the plant’s growth habit and rootstock vigor. Pruning is essential in such a way that the plant receives plenty of light. This will eventually improve the fruit color and also reduces the effect caused by hails and heavy snowfalls. Pruning also ensures a balance between vegetation and fruit.
Misplaced buds should be rubbed off to prevent the growth of misplaced branches. The stem for young trees should be bent downwards for some weeks to slow down their vertical growth.
Thinning, on the other hand, reduces the chances of the tress being attacked by diseases and insects.
Intercultural Operations: – Apply glyphosate or Gammaxone/ Paraquat herbicides 4-5 months to suppress weeds.
Apply black alkathene or hay to effectively control weeds during colder climates and also for moisture conservation. Oak leaves or dried grass can effectively use for mulching.
Insect, Pests and Diseases Control
Planting resistance rootstocks, spraying with fenitrothion, chlorpyriphos, and carbaryl suitable intercultural practice effectively controls insects, pests, and disease attacks.
Infected plants need to be removed and destroyed. The application of carbendazim, mancozeb, oxychloride, and other fungicides controls these attacks.
Harvesting months: September-October
Harvesting is normally done from September-October. Some areas like Nilgiris are done on April-July. Fruits mature 130-150 days after the full bloom stage. Ripening is observed through a color change, quality, and texture. The color should be noted that it changes as per the varieties.
Harvesting time typically depends on the variety of the apple and also the duration of storage prior to consumption. Time harvest should have a uniform pattern.
The storage life of apples is longer compared to other fruits. It can go from 4-to 8 months after harvesting.
One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10-year guarantee, see it on Amazon.
The fruits can sustain the cold temperature of storage of around 1-10 C/30-40 F with a humidity of about 85-90%. Keep separate from other products as they give off acid. Place in bags with holes or place paper towels under and above them.
Place the apples on wooden racks, making sure they are not touching each other. Ensure the place is well-ventilated, dark, and cool.
The apples can be frozen whole or sliced. Place the apples on a tray covered with baking paper. Once the apples are frozen, then transfer the apples into freezer bags.
A high percentage of calories, fiber, vitamin c, k, and potassium. Best for weight loss promotes heart health due to its low cholesterol content. Low risks towards diabetes, prevent cancer attacks, aids in fighting asthma. Good for newborn growth, brain protection, and many others.
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