Kamiu Horticulture

Apple Plantation

The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apples grow on small, deciduous trees. Domestic apples are generally propagated by grafting, although wild apples grow readily from seed. Trees are prone to a number of fungal, bacterial and pest problems, which can be controlled by a number of organic and non-organic means.

Climate condition

Apples do well in areas with an annual rainfall of 800 to 1100 mm. Apples can do well in different soil types as long as the soil is deep, fertile, properly aerated and well drained

When to Plant Apple Trees

  • Bare-root apple trees should be planted in the early spring as soon as the soil can be worked.
  • Container-grown apple trees can be planted throughout the growing season as long as they are given enough water.
  • Site sellection

  • As with most fruit, apple trees produce best when grown in full sun, which means six or more hours f direct summer sunlight daily.
  • Apple trees need well-drained soil, but should be able to retain some moisture. Light- to medium-texured soils are best. Fruit trees struggle in heavy clay soil; poorly drained soils leads to root rot disease.
  • The ideal soil pH is 6.0 to 6.5 but a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0 is acceptable.
  • Do not plant trees near wooded areas or other trees.
  • Planting the Tree

  • Before planting, remove all weeds and the grass in a 4-foot diameter circle.
  • After you purchase the tree, protect it from injury, drying out, freezing, or overheating. If the roots have dried out, soak them in water about 24 hours before planting.
  • Tree spacing is influenced by the rootstock, soil fertility, and pruning. Seedlings or full-size trees should be planted about 15 to 18 feet apart in a row. A dwarfing rootstock might be 4 to 8 feet apart in a row. Of course, apple trees require cross-pollination; a different cultivar that blooms at the same time must be planted within 2,000 feet (preferably, nearer).
  • Dig a hole approximately twice the diameter of the root system and 2 feet deep. Place some of the loose soil back into the hole and loosen the soil on the walls of the planting hole so the roots can easily penetrate the soil. Spread the tree roots on the loose soil, making sure they are not twisted or crowded in the hole. Continue to replace soil around the roots. As you begin to cover the roots, firm the soil to be sure it surrounds the roots and to remove air pockets.
  • Do not add fertilizer at planting time, as the roots can be “burned”. Fill the remainder of the hole with the loose soil, and press the soil down well.
  • Most apple trees are grafted. The graft union should be at least 4 inches above the soil line so that roots do not emerge from the scion. The graft union (where the scion is attached to the rootstock) can be recognized by the swelling at the junction.
  • Dwarf apple trees are notoriously prone to uprooting under the weight of a heavy crop, so you should provide a support system for your hedge. You can grow your trees against a fence, or you can provide free-standing support in the form of a trellis.
  • Growing period

  • Water young trees regularly, especially those on semidwarfing or dwarfing rootstocks, to ensure that the root system becomes well established.
  • Refresh mulch periodically, but pull it away from the trunk so that it doesn’t rot. This also helps to prevent rodents from nesting in it over the winter and chewing on the tree’s bark.
  • Pest control measures will be an important part of care. Correct timing is critical to avoid harming the bees and affecting pollination.
  • If you wish to avoid pesticides, it is possible, though apple trees are the one of the most pest-susceptible fruits. For example, you can place paper bags around each apple of your tree, though this takes some time and labor. There are also organic pesticides.
  • Pruning Apple Trees

  • Pruning slows a young tree’s overall growth and can delay fruiting, so don’t be in a hurry to prune, other than removing misplaced, broken, or dead branches. There are several techniques to direct growth without heavy pruning
  • Harvesting

    Harvest patiently. After all this pruning and caring, be sure to harvest your apples at their peak of perfection.

  • Pluck your apples when their background color is no longer green.
  • The stem should part readily from the branch when the fruit is cupped in the palm of your hand and given a slight twist around, then up (do not yank on the apple).
  • Storing

  • Only store mid or late season apples. Early season varieties don’t keep and are best eaten soon after picking. Mid season varieties should keep for a few weeks, while late season varieties will stay in good condition for anywhere up to five months in a root cellar. Apples destined for storage must be perfect, with no bruises or blemishes that could provide entry points for rot.
  • Store apples by wrapping up individual fruits in newspaper or tissue paper. Place the wrapped apples onto trays that allow air to circulate. You can also store them unwrapped, but the fruits should not touch. Different varieties store for different lengths of time, so keep them separate and eat those that won’t store as long first.
  • Pest and desease

    Apples are prone to insect and diseases—including apple maggots, plum curculios, green fruitworms, and codling moths. Many gardeners who swear off pesticides find they need to find, at minimum, an acceptual annual spray treatment for a decent crop.

    One idea to avoid pesticides is to select disease-resistant varieties such as ‘Prima’, ‘Priscilla’, ‘Liberty’, and ‘Freedom’. They do not require spraying for apple scab, cedar-apple rust, and other common diseases, while most other varieties require periodic spraying every spring and summer after planting. Check with your extension service to find approved pest prevention programs for your area.

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