Southern Indiana gardeners and northern Indiana gardeners can both work in environments conducive to apple trees, though they face different considerations. In southern Indiana, trees don't have as long to mature and might experience disease because of humidity. Northern Indiana apples have difficulty achieving a bright red color because of cooler weather patterns. Select the right variety for your environment to ensure a trouble-free and productive tree.
Review a list of apple cultivars suitable for growing in Indiana before you buy your apple tree. Because most apple trees aren't self-fruitful, buy two trees to ensure adequate pollination. Among the trees suggested by Purdue University, Northern Spy and Melrose make ideal cooking apples, Cortland and Liberty are good all-purpose apples, Paulared and Empire store well and Jonathan and Fuji make great eating apples.
Visit local nurseries and garden centers in the spring to browse available apple cultivars. If you live near apple orchards, call the orchards to see whether they sell apple saplings to the general public and, if so, what's available. In Indiana, apple trees should be planted in the spring so they can adapt to the environment before winter chills.
Select an apple sapling in a desired cultivar from either a local apple orchard or a nursery. Choose a tree that's either one or two years old and is sold bare-root or in a container. Select a tree with a well-developed and vigorous root system (if buying bare-root). Choose trees with long straight trunks and well-balanced branches. Avoid trees that have low branches, only one branch or that have clustered, weak branches.
Order special cultivars from online nurseries if you cannot find an apple tree you wish to grow. Because you can't inspect the tree before purchase, this should be your last-choice effort for buying apple trees.