Johnny Appleseed, aka Johnathan Chapman, was a horticultural hero liable for planting thousands of apple trees throughout the Midwest within the early 1800s. a number of the descendants of those trees are still growing. Johnny traveled on foot over 100,000 square miles and began orchards from seed wherever he found fertile, unused ground. If you’ve got the will to plant your own piece of yank history, read on.
GROWING APPLE TREES FROM SEED
Unfortunately, apple trees grown from seed don’t predictably produce good fruit. Apples don’t self-pollinate, so an apple is usually the “child” of two different apple varieties. Crab apple trees are often used as pollinators in orchards, so any seed produced would be half crab apple and produce small sour fruit. Most of the apples from trees planted by Chapman were used for cider or for feeding livestock. But if you’ve got your heart to assail growing apple trees from seed, here’s how:
1. Save four or five seeds from a high-quality apple.
2. Place the seeds during a bag and chill them within the refrigerator for 6 weeks.
3. Plant the seeds in potting soil and place the pots during a warm, sunny location. Keep the soil evenly moist.
4. When the young seedlings stand 6 inches high, transplant them into larger pots. once they stand 12 to 24 inches high, plant them outdoors during a sunny, protected spot.
5. Begin pruning the tree when it stands 4 feet high and has 6-8 branches. Expect fruit in 6 -10 years.
GROWING APPLE TREES FROM GRAFTED TREES
Most modern gardeners grow apple trees from a young grafted tree. A scion, or young branch, is grafted onto a rootstock. The fruit the tree bears depends on the sort of scion used, while the basis stock influences traits like height and hardiness. These trees bear fruit predictably — usually within 3 to six years. you furthermore may have more control over the dimensions and health of the tree.
HOW TO CHOOSE A TREE
When buying apple trees, there are several factors to stay in mind. First, does one need a dwarf tree, semi-dwarf, or standard size tree? Dwarf and semi-dwarf trees fit into modern landscapes and may even be grown in pots. They’re easy to prune and harvest and suitable for nearly any gardener. They also bear fruit 2 to 4 years before standard-size trees. However, their roots are more fragile and should not survive very harsh windy winters. If you reside during a very cold climate, standard trees could also be the higher choice. Standard trees bear more fruit and work well in large yards or orchards.
Next, what sort of apple does one want? If you favor fresh eating apples, you would possibly like Red Delicious, Gala or Honeycrisp. These varieties ripen in late summer but don’t store also as later types. Storing apples are usually crisp, somewhat tart, and used for either fresh eating, canning, or baking. Old favorites include Jonathan, Golden Delicious, and Cortland.
Finally, choose an apple that grows well in your region and is disease resistant. Your county extension office or a reputable nursery can recommend the simplest varieties for your area.
Look for strong one-year-old plants called whips. These plants stand 3 to 4 feet high and will have a robust, well-developed rootage. You’ll notice a knob at the bottom of the tree where the scion was grafted to the basic stock.
PLANTING YOUR fruit tree
Plant your fruit tree during a sunny location shielded from the wind. The soil should be moderately fertile, and well-draining. don’t apply fertilizer immediately after planting, but keep the soil evenly moist throughout the primary summer. Rabbits and deer love the bark of young apple trees and may quickly kill your prized trees. Wrap them in hardware cloth that extends 2 inches below the soil surface, and 18 inches up the trunk for a minimum of the primary 2 to three years. Once the tree is older, the bark hardens and becomes less appealing to wildlife.
Prune apple trees annually in late winter to get rid of weak branches and open the tree up to the light. Planting disease-resistant trees help, but most growers find the necessity to use organic or synthetic pesticides and fungicides to urge an honest harvest.
Apply a shovelful of compost or manure around the base of the tree every spring and mulch it with wood chips to stop weed growth. After the primary year, you almost certainly won’t get to give the tree additional water, especially if it’s growing in an irrigated lawn. However, during extremely popular, dry weather give the tree a drink. Water it once a month during the winter if conditions are dry.