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How to Grow an Apple Tree

Whether eaten straight from the tree, in a pie, squeezed into juice or cider, or made into a sauce, just about everyone loves apples. And, with the variety of colors, tastes, and textures to choose from, it’s no wonder apples are such a popular fruit.

The first apple trees, called Crab-trees or Wild Apple Trees, originated in Britain and are the ancestors of all the apple trees grown throughout the world today. Growing an apple tree can be fun and rewarding, but there are several factors to take into consideration before planting your tree. Number one on this list of considerations is, of course, the type of apple tree you want to grow and since there are so many different types of apple trees to choose from, you should spend some time thinking about this before you decide. Remember too, that if you plan to do a lot of cooking with the apples that you grow, you need to pick an apple tree that will give you good cooking apples. Empire, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Stayman, and Rome apples are all excellent choices for baking and cooking. Gala, Red Delicious, Braeburn, and Fuji apples aren’t as good for cooking apples and are best eaten fresh.

Another consideration when choosing which apple tree to plant is the size (its height and spread) apple tree that will best suit your garden. An apple tree’s size is dependent on its rootstock. Thus, before purchasing an apple tree, be sure to first ask what type of rootstock it has. If the rootstock is a seedling, the apple tree will grow to be a full size or standard size tree. If, on the other hand, the rootstock is size-controlled or dwarfing, then the tree will grow to be smaller than a full size tree. Fortunately, the rootstock does not affect the type or quality of the fruit the tree produces. It does affect how quickly the tree will bear fruit and can affect its ability to resist pests and disease.

Choosing the right location to plant your tree is also essential to successfully growing a quality apple tree. Apple trees can grow in most types of soil as long as there is enough water and sufficient drainage, as well as sufficient nutrients in the soil and a proper pH level. If at all possible, plant your tree at a slightly elevated level to help avoid over exposure to frost. When the tree is planted on a small hill, the cold air will flow down the hill and not accumulate around the tree. Also, your tree should receive enough direct sunlight so it should not be planted where it will receive too much shade from other trees or buildings. When selecting a site for your tree, you should also consider the tree’s spacing needs. The tree’s rootstock determines how much space a tree will need to grow. Also, make sure the soil surrounding the tree is free from weeds and grass. Grass that grows around the tree will compete with it for the water and nutrients in the soil and prevent the tree from reaching its full growth and productivity.

In addition to which tree to plant, what size tree to plant, and where to plant your tree, if your want to ensure the growth of a healthy tree that produces quality fruit, you must also learn how to properly plant and prune your tree, maintain healthy soil, add adequate fertilizer, and protect it from harmful pests and disease. It may seem like a lot of work, but once you taste the fruit of your labor, you will find it to be well worth your efforts.

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