Sandy D
Sandy D
  • Hometalker
  • Moorhead, MN
Asked on Aug 21, 2012

Planting Two Apple Trees

Sandy DCathy TDouglas Hunt
+30

Answered

I have two apple trees that I am planting. A honeycrisp and a Haralred. I am new to planting fruit trees and wanted to know if there is anything that I really need to know when actually planting them. They are pretty tall, well established I would say....not babes...lol. Any tips?
planting two apple trees, gardening
33 answers
  • Sandy D
    on Aug 21, 2012

    Sorry about the dark pic... :/

  • Do not plant them to close to the house. To get any real produce out of them they need to be pruned quite often. This results in a tree that really does not look all that pretty. These should really be placed somewhere they will not detract from the front of the house when they get larger. Lots of sun, be prepared for birds and lots of falling apples as they mature.

  • Sue brigle
    on Aug 22, 2012

    keeping them watered is very important for any new plantings

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 22, 2012

    It looks like you have a couple of handsome trees, Sandy. As Woodbridge says, you want to site them in as close to a full-sun location as possible, and you should try to put 25 feet between the trees. As with all trees, make sure to maintain the current depth when planting and that they get thorough, deep watering. If you're going to have apple trees you're going to have to learn how to prune them. You'll find a good description of how to do that on page 4 of this issue of the Dakota Gardener: http://www.dakotagardener.com/newsletters/2011Mar.pdf

  • Sandy D
    on Aug 22, 2012

    Thank you all very much! You've been very helpful! What about fertilizer? How old do you estimate these trees are?

  • Bob H
    on Aug 22, 2012

    And properly stake them (might need to use wire as well) to prevent them growing at too big of an angle. I almost lost my 10-year-old apple trees this past month when heavy rains loosened the soil, the weight of the water on the leaves and fruit, and they were tipped right over. Had to restake them.

    , Re staked apple tree
  • Ellen H
    on Aug 22, 2012

    I went to a demonstration for pruning fruit trees and learned that a properly pruned apple tree is not really a thing of beauty, in the classic sense.

  • Patricia B
    on Aug 23, 2012

    My first thought, and living in SW Michigan, it will take a lot of spray for fungus, bugs, and fertilization...in the end you my realize it was cheaper to buy 5 bushels of apples than deal with two apple trees, with not being able to purchase these products in bulk.

  • Jeanette S
    on Aug 23, 2012

    When you plant them, you can insert some PVC pipe into the hole at different depths and angles so in dry times you can fill the pipe and the water will seap into the roots. I wish I had done this years ago!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 23, 2012

    If you're wondering whether they are old enough to produce fruit, Sandy, I'd say yes, or very close to it. Don't fertilize at planting. Let the tree get settled, then begin your regular fertilization (and spraying) program next spring.

  • Sweet Pea Studio
    on Aug 23, 2012

    When you dig the hole make it deeper and wider than the tree. Fill that extra space with several bags of manure and top soil. Don't forget to water well after planting and then add additional soil if needed. Also, try to keep grass and weeds away from the fruit trees so rabbits don't chew on the bark in the winter. Below you will find an oil painting of apples I painted last fall. Enjoy the painting and your new fruit trees.

    , September Apples 11 x 14 original oil Pamela Sweet
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 23, 2012

    I have to respectfully disagree with Sweet Pea on planting practices. While the hole you dig should be wider than the root ball of the trees you are planting, it should definitely not be deeper. And, while it is fine to amend your native soil, particularly if it is dense and full of clay, that should be done in moderation. Follow these tips from University of Missouri's Extension service and they'll be off to a great start: http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G6850

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Aug 23, 2012

    You have been given some great advice, though I am of the same opinion as Douglas on the depth. If you dig the hole deeper, even if you back fill to bring the root ball up to level, the new soil mix will compact and take your tree below the depth of the hole, which is not a good thing. Your tree will drown if it drops below level. If you choose to do it anyway, raise the root ball up about an inch over level to compensate for the compaction that will occur.

  • Linda Nunes
    on Aug 23, 2012

    Honestly, you should find your closest reputable nursery and ask their master gardener for advice for your area. How I plant and care for my apple trees in California is very different than what you should do in North Dakota. You also need to decide of you're going down the path of chemical sprays or want to practice organic gardening. Lots of decisions and questions that will affect what answer is right for you.

  • Sandi R
    on Aug 23, 2012

    Hey Sandy. I've been an avid tree planter for years! I learned a tip years ago that's been wonderful for all my flowering, and fruit trees. When you dig the hole. I ALWAYS follow the tip of "Dig twice as big as you think you should, and twice as deep as a lazy man would!" But the best tip I've gotten is I cut a 3" PVC pipe about a foot taller than the hole is. When planting the tree I set it in with the tree and fill in the dirt. Again so the PVC is sticking up about 12". I then fill the pipe about 1/4 of it's length with pebbles to filter the water. When ever I water or it rains the tube delivers water not only through the soil but filtered water directly to the roots of the tree, I found my tree's all do great and grow twice as fast!

  • Kim
    on Aug 23, 2012

    A wide hole, not deep! 2 inches too high is better than 2 inches too low. Current arboricultural thought is to not amend backfill with compost - let the young plant root into the existing soil elements / texture. Excavate the soil in the the root ball after you remove the pot so you can see where the true top of the roots are (unfortunately growers sometimes repot seedling plants too low and this cannot be seen without checking). If root-bound, you must cut and / or unfurl circling roots before planting - very important! Be aware of the graft union location and make sure it is well above soil or mulch. (ISA Certified Arborist)

  • Debra K.
    on Aug 23, 2012

    Do they have to be a male and female trees in order to pollinate and produce???? I'm thinking yes.....I could be wrong....

  • Clay B
    on Aug 23, 2012

    Listen to Debbie K, be sure you got both male and female, or you will not ever get fruit.

  • Walter Reeves
    on Aug 23, 2012

    There is no such thing as male and female apple trees. Each tree has perfect flowers, with male and female parts. The problem is that many apple varieties are "self incompatible" and so must have a different variety nearby to provide proper pollen. Honeycrisp and Haralred are mid-season bloomers and will pollinate each other.

  • Sandy D
    on Aug 23, 2012

    Thank you all so much for the tips! Greatly appreciated! :o) I'll let you know how it goes...we will be planting tomorrow.

  • Dream Scapes, GA
    on Aug 23, 2012

    Wait before you dig locate any electrical lines, or water lines underground, and make sure you don't plant to close to the house, or property lines. It always bothers me when I see people planting to close to their house with shrubs and trees. In just a few short years they have to be taken out. Don't forget that fruit trees are a lot of work too. If you don't mind that then you are in for a wonderful treat.

  • Sweet Pea Studio
    on Aug 23, 2012

    Thanks Douglas and Four Seasons for adding what I forgot to include in my advice. I hope Sandy D hadn't planted her trees before she read your posts, I want her project to be successful. It's always best to also ask professionals for advice when it comes to landscaping.

  • Jeanne kruger
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Most other comments mention how deep to plant, also watch not to plant too close to one another and not too close to a building etc. of course do your nursery research on anything you plant and call diggers hot line before digging :)

  • Virginia Peary
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Good luck. You might want to check with some one about how close they are planted to the building.... They look kinda close to a house? Roots do spread, & moving them young would be a good thing.

  • Sandy D
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Yes, we've already had the power company, etc...come out. Where they were sitting is not where they are being planted. That's where the landscaping company dropped them off. :) Would you guys say 10-15 feet apart?

  • Ellen H
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Douglas suggested 25 ft apart (in earlier post).

  • Sandy D
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Oops, I saw that. Thanks! :)

  • Sandy D
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Would that be the same distance (25 ft) for a semi-dwarf variety?

  • Ellen H
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Hopefully Douglas will chime in to answer that one. Is there a plant tag including mature size or spacing recommendations?

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Even a semi-dwarf Honeycrisp is 15-20 feet high and wide at maturity. I'd stick with 25-foot spacing.

  • Sandy D
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Ok great, thanks! :)

  • Cathy T
    on Aug 24, 2012

    Here's one source of info: http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=805. I suggest you buy a book on growing apples, or at least do a search online. Your county extension agent is always a good source of info for your area. Once you've planted the trees, it will be hard to go back and correct a mistake.

  • Sandy D
    on Aug 28, 2012

    Thanks everyone!

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