Growing your own apple tree can be a fun and rewarding activity that can bring hours of delight, not to mention bushels of yummy apples, to any family. But because of the somewhat dryer climate that is often prevalent in California, it is might be necessary to take a few additional steps when planting and growing apple trees in order to assure that you get the best results.
Eat an apple or two. When you are done, save the seeds that are found around the core of the apple. Wash them thoroughly and then towel them dry. Place them in a warm, dry place for a few days until they dry out completely.
Cover the dried seeds with a damp towel and place them in the refrigerator for approximately a week. Look for small sprouts to begin appearing on the seeds.
Place the sprouting seeds into small cups filled with potting soil. Water the seedlings everyday to prevent the soil from drying out. The soil needs to be slightly damp to the touch to encourage the best growth.
Wait for the new seedling to grow to approximately 2 inches tall and then transplant it, soil and all, into a larger tree pot that has been prepared with potting soil and some form of fertilizer--either store-bought or homemade mulch or compost. It is best to allow your new apple sprout to stay in this type of pot until it has grown into a small tree, approximately 2 to 3 feet tall. Don't forget to water often, especially if California is experiencing a particularly dry year.
Select an appropriate location for your new apple tree. Choose a spot that gets lots of sunlight and offers the tree ample space to grow. Realize that with proper care, the apple tree will easily reach 20 feet in height and its canopy will have a diameter to match.
Prepare the location for the apple tree. Clear the area of other unwanted plants and weeds and then dig a hole large enough to accommodate the contents of the pot the tree currently resides in, with a little extra space on the sides to allow for easy initial root growth.
Transplant the sapling, soil and all, from the tree planting pot to the prepared hole. In California, it is warm enough that planting either in the spring or the fall will work just fine, so simply decide which of these times of year best suits you.
Fill the hole around the roots in with soil and water it down thoroughly in order to eliminate any air pockets that might have formed. Spread mulch around the base of the sapling in roughly a 3-foot circle. The mulch will assist with moisture retention, which can be vital during drought season, and help keep other plants from growing in that area and competing with the apple tree for water and nutrients.
Water regularly and thoroughly for the first year and then during the dry season thereafter.