How to Grow Apple Trees for Wildlife


Landscaping for wildlife is a rewarding hobby. By growing trees, bushes and vines that feed and provide habitat for wildlife, you can attract a wide variety of animals. Apple trees are a source of food and shelter for many different birds, insects and mammals. Deer, squirrels, rabbits, porcupines, grouse, turkeys, woodpeckers, orioles and ruby-throated hummingbirds are just some of the animals you may attract with apple trees. If you have an overgrown orchard or only a few trees, you can make-over the area with minimal effort so you can observe wildlife.

Step 1

Grow your apple trees in full sun for maximum fruit production for wildlife.

Step 2

Remove vegetation that is competing for resources from under and near your apple trees.

Step 3

Use a pruning tool to remove dead, diseased and damaged limbs from your apple trees in early spring.

Step 4

Prune away branches within the canopy in early spring to let in sunlight and to help your trees put energy into producing more fruit for wildlife.

Step 5

Plant different varieties of apple trees for cross pollination if you do not already have them.

Step 6

Plant bushes and trees in the open near your apple trees for additional wildlife cover and habitat.

Step 7

Leave apples on the ground or on your apple trees during winter as a valuable food source for wildlife.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear protective gear when pruning. Do not use chemicals to prevent stumps from sprouting. The root systems may be grafted to nearby trees, and your healthy trees may be affected by the chemicals.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning tool, such as shears, loppers or a pruning saw


  • Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection: Managing Abandoned Orchards and Apple Trees for Wildlife
  • University of Maine: Wild Apple Trees for Wildlife
  • Pennslyvania State University: Landscaping for Wildlife
Keywords: landscaping for wildlife, apple trees, attracting wildlife, orchard rehabilitation

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She writes fiction, creative non-fiction and essays. McCarty's work has been published in Hip Mama magazine.