Growing Apple Trees

By: Jennifer LaMontagne- Assistant Horticulturist- Bloch’s Farm- Green Lake, WI

               Wouldn’t it be wonderful to harvest ripe delicious apples from your own backyard? Successful apple trees require a bit of work, but growing them can provide many rewards. To help you grow a healthy annual fruit crop, here are a few tips on cross-pollination, sunlight and soil, pruning and training, as well as pest and disease management.

               Most apple trees produce better when cross-pollination occurs between another apple or crabapple variety. Even self-pollinating apple trees benefit from having another tree nearby. For best results, choose apple trees that blossom at similar times to encourage cross-pollination. Examples of early blooming varieties are: Empire, McIntosh, and Liberty. Midseason blooming apple trees are: Cortland, Gala, Jonathan, and Honeycrisp. A late season bloomer is Red Spy.

Apple trees need exposure to at least 8 hours of sun per day. They grow best in well-drained and light to medium textured soils. Heavy clay and sandy soils are difficult types of soil for growing apple trees. These types of soils can be improved by annually adding nutrients, such as organic compost.

        To keep trees healthy and productive, prune and train the branches to provide the required space and light needs. Annual pruning is necessary for healthy trees and can be accomplished in late winter or early spring. However, refrain from pruning the older wood as much as possible because apple trees produce fruit on old “spurs”. In addition, avoid heavy pruning as this can cause overly vigorous branch growth thereby inhibiting flower and fruit production.

Besides pruning, training the branches to grow at 60-degree angles will support maximum fruit production. Training is a technique used to manipulate the way branches grow by manually spreading, tying, or weighing them down.

        The presence of pests and diseases should be monitored all year long and can be managed with preventive or curative measures. Common diseases and fungi that affect apple trees include fire blight, apple scab, and cedar apple rust. There are also a variety of insects that can affect apple trees.

Preventive measures include removing weeds and debris from around the base of trees and adding mulch. If pests or diseases are noted, there are numerous methods for managing them, ranging from trapping insects to spraying organic insecticides or fungicides. 

        Bloch’s Farm is open 7 days a week from 8 am to 6 pm. We have a huge selection of vegetables, herbs, trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials! Stop in today and our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you! Feel free to call 920-294-6000 or e-mail with any questions. Don’t forget to visit our website online at and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t miss out on this weekend’s sale: May 28th – May 30th:

Buy 6 Or More Perennials, Receive 20% Off!

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