Apple trees are one of the most widely cultivated fruit trees. Growing them requires knowledge and persistence, but equipping yourself with helpful information makes experience easier and more productive.
There are at least 7500 known cultivars - distinct plants that are cultivated because of particular and desirable characteristics they retain when propogated - of apples in the world. Popular varieties include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Granny Smith.
Apple trees need full sun but can tolerate a variety of soil conditions as long as there is adequate drainage. Multiple trees must to be planted together to ensure cross pollination for bearing fruit, but they shouldn't be too close together. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service website provides a chart demonstrating appropriate spacing for different types of apple trees.
Growth and Care
Regular pruning dead, diseased, low- or inward-growing limbs helps to ensure proper growth of the apple tree. Prune while the trees are dormant, usually between February and April. Fertilizing the trees in early spring will keep them healthy. A good rule of thumb is to apply half a pound of fertilizer for every inch of trunk diameter.
Apple trees are harvested depending on the variety and weather conditions during any given growing season. Mature apples are harvested when they are firm to the touch, crisp in texture, and exhibit the flavors characteristic to the variety.
Pests and Disease
Pests and disease can cause major damage to apple trees, but it is possible to control and prevent the damage. Regular application of fungicides and insecticides will help protect them. You can also choose tree varieties, such as Enterprise, Liberty, and Prima, that are naturally more disease-resistant than others. Maintain the trees by discarding fallen leaves and fruit, as many pests spend the winter in the debris at the bottom of the tree. Disinfect the pruning tools to prevent any diseases from spreading.
Historical evidence suggests humans have been enjoying apples since 6500 B.C. Apples were introduced to the United States by European settlers in the 17th century. An apple tree uses the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple. because one quarter of the volume of a fresh apple is air, it floats - this is what makes bobbing for apples possible.