The best way to plant apple trees (or how I did it)
First things first, when you want to establish an orchard, the decision you must make is what type of fruit you want and what varieties of those fruits are most useful for your plans. I decided I wanted to grow apple trees - specifically varieties which will make good juice and cider. I also wanted trees which when mature will make quite large trees but small enough to allow me to grow a few different varieties on my tiny plot.
Surprising Fact No.1 - Apple trees aren't generally grown using their own roots!
2 x Blenheim Orange (eating)
4 x Bramley (cooking)
4 x Howgate Wonder (cooking)
4 x Dabinett (cider) Sorry for the long preamble (it is quite a broad subject)... With the light failing and the task of digging the holes, planting and mulching the trees ahead of me I had to ask another important question. What is the best way of planting an apple tree and have I got time to do it?
The other bit of protection a new tree needs is from the local nibblers - rabbits, hares, deer etc. I have used mostly 120cm plastic tree guards. These I have connected to posts and allowed the trees to be loose inside the tree guard. I'm hoping this will allow gentle swaying which should produce a stronger root system.
As rain was coming in the next couple of days I didn't bother watering them in but ordinarily that would be a good idea as it helps the roots make a good connection with the soil.
Amazingly, I planted all 16 trees before light failed and before the children became too bored/cold. Let's hope the trees settle in well and they get a good start in the Spring. Now if only I could arrange a big Wassail5 party and throw mulled cider and hang toast in the branches. I think that will probably have to wait till after the pandemic.
(If you really want to know the best way of planting an apple tree - I recommend the following resources)
1 Monday, 21st December 2020↩
2 Just like us humans I suppose!↩