Apple Trees

One of my top priorities for this property was to plant some trees.  Since the removal of the giant, dead tree last year the front garden has looked pretty bare and exposed.  The house is also the only one on the block without city planted elms in the front yard.  To get the tree lined street look and also maintain my ‘edible-first’ mantra I wanted fruit trees.  Apples are fairly hardy in this province and after some research I decided I would need two in order to get any fruit off of them, since there are no apple trees in the neighbourhood to cross-pollinate. My local nursery isn’t open on Sundays due to ‘family values’, whatever that means so we went to a new place which was only a few blocks away.  I have to say, I might have a new ‘local nursery’.  

While there I found two varieties that I had read about online as being hardy for my area.  At 60 bucks a piece they were fairly inexpensive too compared to what I’ve seen around the city.  I settled on a Parkland and a Norland tree.  They are supposedly compatible and bloom at the same time, which is important for cross-pollination.  They are both fairly similar in fruit quality and timing and produce medium sized eating apples.  Apparently the Parkland has better storage qualities than the Norland, but I’m not sure I have room to store apples anyway, so I might have to learn to process them somehow.  

Planting was fairly straightforward.  I lined them up parallel to the elms next door and spaced them to frame the house.  I dug up sod and down roughly two and half feet through the nastiest clay I’ve yet come across.  Two wheelbarrows of nasty clay and some decent topsoil.  What to do with it?  I feel like throwing it in the dumpster, but I can’t see the city liking that too much.  Anyway, once that was taken out I mounded up a bit in the middle of the hole and detangled as best I could the rootballs of each tree.  I spread the roots out around the mound and backfilled with a mixture of well rotted sheep and cow manure, some peat based garden amendments left over from the blueberries and some good quality top soil.  I watered every few inches of backfill to moisten everything up while settling the soil and finally gave a good soaking once all was lightly firmed down.  I took care not to bury the grafts and pruned off all suckers.  Finally I covered up the moist planting holes with some cedar bark mulch I had kicking around.  


The house as it looked when we bought it

The house as it looked when we bought it


The house as of Sunday

The house as of Sunday




I haven’t staked them yet and not sure if I will.  It is fairly windy right now but I’m concerned about encouraging weak trunks and roots by staking.  If I do decide to I guess I’ll have to pick up some suitable wood and something to tie them with.  

Again, the hardest part will be to pull off blossoms, as it was with the blueberries.  These trees were just covered in blooms and surrounded by bees at the garden centre.  It makes me cringe to pick each flower off, but its for the best interests of the tree and for me as well, I guess.  I haven’t gotten them all off yet, as you can see in the picture, but I’ll go out and pluck a few more off today if the weather smartens up.  Then, the plan is to pick the majority off next year, about half the year after and a third the year after.  Removing blossoms helps direct growth to the roots and prevents the tree from going through boom-bust cycles of producing tons of fruit one year and little the next year.  On the plus side I should find something to do with apple blossoms, they smell fantastic.  I believe they’re related to roses?  Not sure on that but I thought I’d heard that somewhere.  

Anyway, has anyone grown these trees or have general tips on apple trees that I should know?  Leave me a comment!


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