Visit or call your local county extension office. Find out what apple tree pests and diseases are common in your area. Also find out what cultivars are successful in the area.
Choose an appropriate planting site, one that is not situated in a valley, sits in full sun, possesses good soil drainage and is well away from cedar trees. There should be space enough that your trees won't be crowded. Plan on spacing trees a distance equal to their mature height.
Test the soil, submitting a sample to your extension office or recommended lab. The test will guide fertilizer choice. Test soil annually.
Choose at least two apple tree cultivars you'd like to grow, considering disease resistance, soil and locale. Find out how long it will take the supplier to get them to you. It might take longer than you think.
Learn about central leader training and pruning so you will know how to properly shape your tree. The process starts at planting. Done correctly, the tree ends up shaped like a pyramid with even lower branches receiving sunlight.
Obtain the apple tree whips for early spring planting. Keep the roots moist.
Soak the roots for half an hour prior to planting.
Dig a hole that will accommodate the roots, which you will be spreading. Keep topsoil in one pile and subsoil in another as you dig.
Situate the whip within the hole, spreading out its roots.
Refill the hole with topsoil first, holding the whip so its graft point is 2 inches higher than the ground once the hole is filled in.
Continue filling the hole, now using the subsoil, stopping short of completely filling the hole.
Pour two gallons of water into the hole.
Fill the rest of the hole.
Mulch 2 to 3 inches deep over the root zone. Don't let the mulch touch the trunk.
Cut the top off the whip so it's about 2 feet tall.
Water each tree with two to three gallons of water every two to three weeks.
Keep at least 12 inches of area surrounding the trunk free of weeds.
Remove branches that are lower than 18 inches off the ground as the growing season progresses.
Train 4- to 6-inch branches to have a crotch angle of at least 45 degrees from the central leader (the trunk) by attaching the clothes pins. Remove these after the growing season is finished.
Fertilize in spring. If using 10-10-10 fertilizer, start with 1 lb. per tree per year, increasing fertilizer 1 lb. annually to a maximum of 6 lbs.
Prune and train according to the central leader. This allows for the most fruit and also helps your tree resist disease.
Thin fruit when apples are marble sized, leaving 4 to 6 inches between fruit. This will prevent branches from breaking.
Keep an eye out for disease and pests, applying the necessary treatments as per directions.