Many years ago when we bought our first home we were lucky enough to have two apple trees. The trees were heavy producers and provided a bounty of fruit. We soon were learning different methods of preserving to keep us in apples until the next harvest.
We also had a steep learning curve on how to care for our apple trees. They had not been tended to in many years prior our arrival. We had to learn how to properly prune our tree, how to deal with certain insects and diseases that could occur in our area. Insects and diseases can be quite different depending on your location. For this reason we recommend you do a search online. There is likely a government agricultural site with an abundance of information to help you. Here in Manitoba our government has an extensive amount of information. A local nursery will also be able to help identify the issue and recommend how to address or even suggest products that are allowed in your area.
Apple trees need at least 8 hours of sun. They also require another variety to pollinate. If you are in the country you will then likely need two different trees. In an urban setting look around your neighborhood. So many yards plant ornamental crabapples trees for their beautiful display of blossoms. If this is the case you likely can get away with growing only one tree.
Don’t expect to get apples right away. It can take up to 4 years before a small tree will begin to produce. Larger trees may take 7 to 8 years before they are producing fully.
Apple trees should be given plenty of water. Especially during dry spells. An inch of water per week is reasonable. If you think about a juicy apple, it really makes sense that this is an important step. The tree needs water for it’s trunk, branches, leaves and fruit. A tree that struggles in dry conditions is more susceptible to insect attack and disease.
Once established an apple tree does not need much fertilizer. They may need a feeding of nitrogen in its infancy. We found the fertilizer spikes that can be pounded into the ground work well and feed the tree for the season.
Some varieties of apples are heavy producers. The more blossoms that set means they will be many apples to harvest.
Culling or thinning of these small apples may be required. By culling you will have fewer apples but will be rewarded with larger fruit. Most years Mother Nature does this for us. A strong wind will typically knock some of these off. The tree itself is likely to shed some. Here that tends to happen mid June.
Growing apple trees has always supplied us with a bounty too large for just us. We generally give quite a few away. Friends, neighbours and local food banks are great ways to share.
The tree we currently have is ready to harvest in mid August. The days to follow are busy as we preserve the harvest with items we freeze and can.
This is a list of how we preserve our harvest. Items in blue will will direct you to our recipe. This year we will be working on some new items to be released at a later date.
Apple pies for the freezer
Apple pancake syrup