Though apple trees require a lot of sun and warm temperatures to thrive, their dormancy and fruit production also depend on stretches of cold weather. Georgia’s climate variations make it a ideal location for apple tree cultivation.
Select a location for your apple tree. Apple trees thrive in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. Plant your tree where it will receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Hilltops are ideal for sun and drainage, and the higher elevation provides a suitable combination of hot days and cool nights.
Water your apple tree weekly during the spring and fall. Increase the watering schedule during hot, dry weather. Cease watering after the tree drops its leaves.
Fertilize your tree regularly during the peak growing season, from early spring through midsummer. Use a well-balanced fertilizer that contains potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the base of the tree. Do not apply the fertilizer directly onto the roots; this may cause root burn.
Prune your young apple tree to develop a strong core. Remove branches and twigs within 18 inches of the soil. Prune the lowest branches to develop strong crotch angles of at least 45 degrees; this will help the tree carry the weight of its fruit. Training should be completed in the first three years while branches are still pliable. Remove any dead or dying branches.
Examine your tree regularly for signs of disease and insect infestation. Apple trees are common victims of several diseases and mealybugs. Look for scabs, cankers, leaf wilt, yellowing foliage and other signs of irregular growth. Treat disease and infestations immediately to avoid tree damage or death.
Harvest apples as they begin to ripen. The apple tree will end its growing season between August to early October. If the apple tastes sweet and is completely formed, it is time to harvest. You may have to pick apples daily until the harvest is complete.