Key is to regularly water newly-planted trees, at least bimonthly for two months. It is also important to ensure adequate spacing between trees with 1.5m, 3m and 3.5-4m spacing between M27, M26 and MM106 trees respectively.
Bare root & containerised trees have different planting requirements. With bare root, it is important to soak your tree's roots in water for up to 2 hours before planting, while with containerised trees it is important to drench your tree's rootball. With bare root it can be useful to prune woody roots back a few inches, while with containerised trees, it is important to free any spiralized roots growing around the rootball's circumference. With bare root trees, dig a hole so as to ensure the graft point is above the soil, while with containerised trees, ensure the pot sits no lower than an inch below ground.
Bare root & containerised trees also share planting requirements. Dig a hole twice the radius of the rootball. Stake your tree no more than 2-3 inches from the stem, pointing away from the prevailing wind. Fill the hole with a mix of compost and garden soil, and add fertiliser and mycorrhizal fungi. Do not compress the soil. Give your tree a good watering. Add mulch on top whether bark and wood chippings, compost, manure, leaf-mould and stones. Make sure mulch doesn't touch the stem. Tie the stake to your tree, leaving space for growth. Place a rabbit guard around your tree.
Apply fertiliser and replace decomposed mulch come spring. Check ties to ensure there is no rubbing. Collect fallen leaves in autumn.
Fruit trees will only produce fruit if their flowers have been pollinated. This is usually done by pollinating insects, which transfer pollen from one flower to another. Honeybees, the main pollinating insect, will travel several miles in search of blossom, so if there is another apple or crabapple in that radius your tree will produce fruit.
Some apple trees are self-fertile while others require a pollination partner from the same or neighbouring pollination group. Self-fertile varieties will produce fruit without a pollination partner, but benefit from a partner for heavier crops. Triploid trees can’t pollinate other trees, but can be pollinated by another. Crabapples will pollinate apples.
Apple trees constitute the perfect first fruit tree as they are extremely easy to grow. Your tree’s growth and output will likely be fine providing you followed our planting and care instructions. Below we address some common queries:
- Hardiness: Malus trees can be found growing in far colder regions than the UK and therefore the UK’s mild winters will not affect your tree. One issue that can affect fruit trees is frost-damaged blossom, but this is rarely the case with apples that flower late vis-a-vis other fruit species.
- Position: In the UK, the greatest barrier to successful fruiting is a lack of sunlight, so be sure to plant your tree in full sun. Planting your tree in a sheltered spot will help prevent uprooting and allow the tree to put more resources into fruiting.
- Soil Types: Soil types are best ignored and remain an unwelcome confusion. Every plant will adapt to its conditions. Having said that, less than ideal conditions will reduce growth. Waterlogged soils will starve your tree of oxygen, which plays a key role in photosynthesis, cause its roots to rot and create the perfect environment for many diseases.