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How to Grow Apple Trees

The key to growing an apple tree in your garden is to pick one which will grow to the correct size and produce fruit with the taste to suit you.

It's quite possible to end up with an apple tree of huge proportions in a small garden producing fruit which you don't like.

GardenAction will clearly and accurately take you through the apple tree maize and ensure that you end up with the correct tree. 


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Latin Name
Malus pumila

Hardy deciduous tree - productive life of 40+ years.

Site and Soil
Tolerant of most soil conditions (see main article for details)

Plant to Harvest Time
3 years for smaller trees, 5 years for larger trees.

How Many Apples?
Smaller trees 15kg (33lbs), larger trees 30kg (65lbs).

It's well worth reading this article, because the correct trees will be productive for several decades and produce enough delicious apples to last you from midSeptember to March.

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Brief Apple History
Picture of the apple variety FujiThe Crab-tree or Wild Apple Tree (Pyrus malus), is key to the history of apples. It is a native to Britain and is the ancestor of all the cultivated varieties of apple trees we grow today. It was the rootstock on which new varieties were grafted when brought from Europe.

The Apple tree is from the temperate zones and flourishes best in their cooler regions. It is a tree which has been grown from before the Norman Conquest. It has spread in its wild state in most countries of Europe and as far as the Caucasus. In Norway, it is found in the lowlands as far north as Drontheim.

How To Choose Your Apple Tree
Before rushing out to buy your first apple tree, consider what size (height and spread) of apple tree you want to grow in your garden. The size and vigour of the tree is determined by the rootstock (the lower part of the apple tree onto which is grafted different varieties). Read the section on rootstocks carefully and compare the chart of final tree sizes to see which rootstock is best to grow in your garden.

Second thoughts must go to the taste of the apples - do you want a desert type or a much more acidic cooking apple for apple pie type dishes? Do you like your dessert apples crisp or soft, mild and sweet or more acidic and full-tasting. Do you want your fruit to last well into the spring - the combinations are almost endless. Consult the section on varieties which will give lots of detail and pictures.

Finally, you need to consider pollination - most apple trees are self-sterile and require the pollen from other apple trees in order to produce fruit. See the section on pollination for advice and guidance. 

Apple trees are normally sold as either one or two year old plants - there is little to choose between the two, although a two year old tree will produce fruit sooner after planting. Both bare-rooted and potted examples are commonly available - if you do not intend to plant immediately, it is best to go for a potted plant because it is easier to keep the tree until planted.

Having taken the above points into consideration, you will be ready to venture out to your local nursery and purchase an apple tree which in all probability will outlive you!


Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: November 23, 2011 - 04:03 pm
Message: Apple trees are hardly ever grown from seed. You need young trees from a local supplier.

Name: sastry
Date posted: November 23, 2011 - 10:46 am
Message: where i got the apple tree seeds or plan in india

Name: jim@GardenAction
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 18, 2011 - 08:09 pm
Message: Although Jonagold is listed as self-fruitful, it will set more fruit if cross-pollinated.

Name: Jennifer
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 18, 2011 - 07:22 pm
Message: I have a Jonagold apple tree which bears huge red juicy apples. It is four years old but it says self fertile on the label. I have hand pollinated this each year because some people have assured me that it is not self fertile. I used the blossom from a neighbour's cooking apple tree to transfer pollen and have had some good apples but I don't know whether to risk not pollinating it myself next year.

Name: jim@GardenAction
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 05, 2011 - 11:51 am
Message: Excellent! You have a new variety of apple. Apples should be fine next year, too. Never mind the spots, if the apples taste good. Plenty of advice on aphids, spray with water and detergent, use neem oil.

Name: Georgia
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 05, 2011 - 06:20 am
Message: Hello,
I also planted an apple seed from an ASDA apple! I now have a young but fruitful tree which has produced apples for the 2nd time this year. Are the apples okay to harvest next year?

I noticed that they do not grow as big as they should and I tried removing some apples to prevent overcrowding. Also, they tend to get brown spots over the skin which don't seem to affect the flesh.

And please can you tell me if there are any ways to keep the aphid population down?!

Thanks Georgia

Name: jim@GardenAction
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 28, 2011 - 03:48 pm
Message: Try a garden centre of nursery

Name: Rehill
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 28, 2011 - 03:33 pm
Message: I want to grow a plant of Apple, kindly let me know...about this....from where I can get an apple plant for my garden...Look forward.

Name: jim powell
Date posted: October 17, 2011 - 04:04 am
Message: Apples are cool climate fruit. They need a cold winter to become dormant and initiate bud formation. Stick to the excellent tropical fruits that you can grow more easily.

E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 15, 2011 - 07:40 pm
Message: I am from the caribbean, Trinidad to be exact. Can Apple trees grow in Trinidad Tropical Climate ?

Name: Fred Gaudence
Date posted: October 13, 2011 - 05:15 am
Message: Hello,I would like to buy apple seedlings so that I can plant them, but I realyy do not know about the selection of variety, supplier, the price, shipment arrangement and the cost of shipping up to here in Tanzania, East Africa.
Kindly assist me.

Name: Sharon Logue
Date posted: September 25, 2011 - 06:35 am
Message: Dear Sir/Madam

I wonder can you help me.

I have a number of apple trees in my garden that appear to produce a variety of different apples. As I don't know what type they are, I am unsure as to when I should harvest them and how I should care for them. One of apples this year appears to have a blemish all over the skin though the apple itself doesn't seem affected.

If I took some photos of the apples and sent the them to you could you identify them for me so I can look up further information about how to care for them and when to harvest them.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards


Name: Chuck James
Date posted: August 31, 2011 - 02:36 pm
Message: I have a honey crisp and a red wine sap. My question is will they pollinate each other

Name: Gail
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 14, 2011 - 09:39 am
Message: My cooking apples on the tree are discoloured. What canIdo?

Name: Terry
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 30, 2011 - 04:53 am
Message: I was eating an apple from asda one day about 2 years ago and i planted a pip from it in a small pot on the window ledge, it grew for a few months, then i planted it outside and now i have a 7 foot plant, what do i do with it now, i don't know much about apple trees

Name: paula
Date posted: July 27, 2011 - 12:21 pm
Message: hi can you help me? we have a new home which has apple trees plum trees pear trees
and we dont know when to pick the fruit can you help me please many thx paula

Name: van
Date posted: July 26, 2011 - 04:16 pm
Message: How long does a self pollinating apple tree take to start producing fruit?

Name: kier
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 26, 2011 - 10:35 am
Message: when is the planting season for apples

Name: Alison
Date posted: June 13, 2011 - 05:46 am
Message: Hi, my (Japanese) friend in Japan wants an apple tree for her small garden. She'd like me to supply the 'scientific name' of a suitable tree. As I don't have an apple tree myself, or know anything about selecting and growing apple trees, I'd be very grateful for some advice that I could pass on. Thanks!

Name: jeana
E-mail: Private
Date posted: May 25, 2011 - 09:03 pm
Message: i have a selection of fruit trees which were not planted into the ground in time, they vary in apple; plum; and cherry. all appear to be dead on the surface, dry and brittle bark, etc. but some have started to produce shoots from below the root system. are they still viable as plants? do i plant them and wait and see, or? please advise. thank you.