How To Grow Apple Trees

How To Grow Apple Trees

A detailed demonstration of the proper way to plant and care for a newly planted apple tree, along with the importance of each step.

Hi, I'm Mike and I'm here at Camden Garden Center. I'm going to give you some gardening advice. What you'll need for this is your tree.

And this is a cultivar of apple called Red Devil, and it's on a medium root stock. And the root stock has a dwarfing effect on the growth of the plant. There's the graft union down there.

What you'll also need is a spade, some manure to add to improve the soil, some bone meal, some mycorrhizal fungi, a stake with a point on it, and a club hammer to drive the stake in. I've already dug the hole out here. I'm going to add some manure to improve the structure of the soil.

I'm going to put some in the bottom of the hole and some on the excavated soil. And I'm going to work that into the soil. Mix it up.

And I've deliberately dug a hole much deeper than the root ball of the current plant because I want to encourage those first roots to go deep, down into the soil. And so I'm improving the soil underneath the plant. And I'm also digging a planting hole that's wider than the current root ball of the plant.

I'm now going to add some bone meal. This is a very long, slow-release fertilizer and I'm applying it as a base dressing. You don't need a lot.

It's quite strong stuff. That's enough. And by a base dressing, what we mean is something that's planted at the base of the plant as opposed to a top dressing which is something that's sprinkled on the surface.

For the same reasons, this bone meal worked into the soil at the base of the plant will encourage those roots to go down deep. Bone meal is a fertilizer that promotes root formation. And in the early years of the plant's growth in it's new permanent home, it needs to have its root system encouraged.

I'm now going to take the plant out of the pot. And I do that by just tapping the edges gently. And there we have a nice healthy root system.

If there are any roots going in circles around here like this one, just gently tease them out. Okay, and now I'm going to put the plant in the hole. This now is too deep.

If I put that stick across there, you'll see that the plant is below soil level. So I now need to backfill to bring this plant up to soil level. Still a little more to go.

And that's just about right. So that's a plant planted at the correct depth. I now need to insert a stake.

And I'm going to insert this stake diagonally. And now I'm ready to backfill the hole. And firm the soil in around the root system so you're not leaving any air gaps.

And now, I'm just going to create a little well because this plant's actually been planted on a slope. So when I come to water the plant, I don't want the water to run down the slope. I want it to reach the root zone of the plant.

And now when I water it, the water will gather in this bit here. And I now need to get some tree ties to tie the tree to the stake. So these are tree ties.

And what we're doing here, we're steadying the root ball of the plant to stop it blowing about in the wind, because as those new young roots are trying to establish themselves, if the plant isn't staked, then every time the wind blows, the little roots underneath the soil will get torn. A lot of people don't know how to use tree ties. This is a tree tie.

This thing is a spacer, and this goes in between the trunk of the plant and the stake. Around the plant like that. And you can see now that that spacer is going to prevent the trunk being wounded, rubbing against this stake.

And fold the tie back on itself so it locks into position. And now, that tie against that stake is going to hold that root ball fairly well. And the final thing to do is to water it.

And give it plenty of water. I'm going to use a whole watering can full. And that's it.

The plant's planted now. Now what you've got to do is look after it. Make sure that you prune it properly, keep an eye out for all the different pests and diseases that attack apple trees, of which there are quite a lot,