Each fall, that first satisfying moment of crunching into a sweet apple can be a highlight of the season. Growing your own apple trees can be just as satisfying. But it's not as easy as it looks. Though apple trees are fairly common, and offer wonderful fruit, the trees can be a bit finicky. Here are some great tips on how to grow and maintain your own apple trees.
Irrigation: Proper irrigation is essential to the health of your apple tree and its ability to produce fruit. Water your tree once a week, more during the dry, hot summer months.
Fertilizer: When fertilizing, account for the tree's age and fruit production. The right fertilizer will contain nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Fertilize one month after planting, with continued monthly fertilization thereafter. Do not put fertilizer directly on the roots or trunk of the tree to avoid root burn.
Weeding: Apple trees are highly susceptible to invasion by weeds that will rob them of much-needed nutrients from the soil. Thus, weeding is very important. Make sure weeds are pulled out by the root.
Pruning: In order to develop your tree into the desired shape, pruning is key. Remove diseased, or broken branches. Maintain a strong central leader in order to offer strength and support to other branches. Trim branches as needed to create primary and secondary scaffolds.
Diseases: It is important to closely inspect your tree for disease and infestations. Make a thorough inspection of trunk, branches, stems, and fruit for indications of anything out of the ordinary. If pests or disease are discovered, it is imperative to treat it immediately to maintain the health of the tree. If you have trouble identifying the source of the trouble, seek out a nursery specialist to offer advice.