What are the Best Tips for Planting Apple Trees?

Patrick Lynch

Planting apple trees can be rewarding and fun especially when they begin to bear fruit. The following tips can help ensure that the trees are planted in a way that gives them the best chance of blossoming. Quite a number of trees do not self-pollinate and need a second tree which should blossom in the same season as the first. Always ensure that the trees are compatible when it comes to pollination and make sure their mature size is known. Standard apple trees need soil to be at a certain pH to thrive, and a hole much larger than the roots needs to be dug to accommodate growth.


It may surprise those interested in planting apple trees to discover it may be necessary to plant two apple trees. Most apple trees cannot pollinate themselves and need the help of another to produce fruit. Exceptions to this rule include Golden Delicious and Granny Smith varieties.

Granny Smith apples are self-pollinating.
Granny Smith apples are self-pollinating.

In order to produce the best fruit, purchase two trees that bloom during the same season. This will result in the king blossoms becoming pollinated. A king blossom is another name for the first blossoms to open which also happen to be the largest. Those interested in Winesap or Stayman apples should plant three trees because both varieties produce stale pollen.

It is also important to know the various brands available before planting apple trees. Idared and Rome trees only pollinate with certain types of trees. Find a pollination chart that measures compatibility before purchasing any apple tree. Never spray insecticide when the flowers are in bloom because most pollination is performed by bees. Killing the bees likely means that no apples will grow.

Always find out how big a tree will become when it reaches maturity. This is necessary to figure out how far apart the trees need to be planted. It is also a good idea to find out how soon the apples will grow. For example, planting apple trees that are considered "dwarves" will produce smaller variants but the fruit will be available a lot sooner.

It should be noted that most varieties of apple trees are 25 feet (about 8 m) tall when fully grown. The most common apple trees such as Golden Delicious are usually tougher than their more exotic counterparts and will adapt to most soils and climates. Standard apple trees should be planted approximately 30 feet (9 m) apart. Expect a tree to live for up to fifty years and produce up to 400 pounds of apples five years after it has been planted.

When planting apple trees, remember that they need a constant supply of sun and soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 6.5 for optimum growth. Apple trees must also be grown in soil with good drainage because they will not survive if forced to stand in water. Apple trees should never be planted in low-lying areas as pockets of frost could kill the blossoms.

Apple trees that are approximately one year old should be purchased for planting. If the roots of a tree look dried out, soak them in water for a day before planting. Dig a hole that is a minimum of two feet (61 cm) deeper than the roots and is twice as wide. Pack the soil down and water well. Remove any grass in the vicinity and spread a thick layer of mulch over the soil around the tree.

A Gala apple.
A Gala apple.

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