Whether it is often said or not, the general consensus is that Florida's climate is not conducive to growing apples. Its warmer climate is more conducive to fruits such as citrus, which do not need to be chilled as long or as deeply, if at all. Still, that general consensus is wrong when it comes to growing apples in Florida. While it's true that popular varieties such as delicious and McIntosh will not grow, there are some that will. Finding these varieties and taking advantage of them is key, given Florida's unique climate.
Florida Apple Trees
Find a location that has full sun as much of the day as possible, but especially in the morning. Dew could encourage problems such as fungus and the morning sun helps remove the dew as quickly as possible.
Grow apple trees on your land in a windy location, if possible. This keeps the air moving, which can help with dew and humidity, both of which Florida has in large amounts.
Test your soil pH. This can be done with a kit from a local garden shop or by taking a sample to local extension office. Simply follow the directions that come with the kit. A pH of 6 to 6.5 is recommended for apples.
Add lime if the soil is too acidic. This will help to increase the pH level of the soil, which is another way of saying it will become less acidic.
Choose appropriate Florida apple varieties or you will be disappointed with the results. You must choose low-chill apples, given Florida's mild winters. The best varieties are Anna, Dorsett Golden and TropicSweet.
Raise more than one variety at a single location. Low-chill apples may provide an apple product where none is generally possible, but they have some drawbacks, including not being able to self pollinate. Therefore, cross pollination with another low-chill variety is necessary.
Things You Will Need
- Apple trees
- Prune young trees with clippers in January or February so that they are trained to branch off of a central leader. Forks in the trunk could eventually cause the tree to weaken. The January and February time frame is desired because this is when apples trees are dormant in Florida.
- Do not spray insecticides during blooming. This may be a big temptation in Florida, where there are plenty of insects and low-chill apples have a longer blooming period, but this will kill the insects that pollinate the flowers and no fruit will set.