Apple-tree growing is as easy or as involving as you want to make it. We’ve included it in our new-to-gardening guide because you can plant up an apple tree in a container, and with a little care get large, plump apples to harvest.
If you’re new to growing apple trees we recommend the apple varieties where you need only plant one apple tree for producing fruit. These are called self-fertile varieties. Some varieties need pollination partners to produce fruit, but when you’re starting off, stick to self-fertile varieties for easy-care productive apple trees.
1 x digging spade
1 x fruit tree Red Falstaff (as a bare-rooted plant- picture)
1 x watering can
1 x wooden planter
When to start
You can plant bare-root apple trees in any time from November to April. During this winter-time the trees are active in their root growth and dormant (less active) in their stem growth.
Pick a clear, dry day to plant.
What to do
Remove packaging around the roots of your fruit tree and place the tree into a bucket of water so that the roots are submerged while you are preparing the planter.
Fill three quarters of your wooden planter with a high-nutrient soil like John Innes No3 compost.
Mix in some bone meal (root stimulant) with a spade to give the apple tree an extra boost for its growing roots. The more roots it establishes, the more the stems will grow strongly when leafing-up in the spring.
Remove the tree from the bucket of water and place in the centre of the planter. Add more compost to cover the roots and a small part 3cm (1 ½ in) of the main stem. Firm with soil the soil around the stem so it is well-anchored in to the soil.
Check that the main stem is vertical and adjust the planting as appropriate to get it as upright as possible.
Water generously after planting. If the weather is mild water twice a day- morning and evenings to ensure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. If it’s cold, assess the moisture of the soil. If moist to touch do not water. If dry water in the morning only.
When your tree is in flower water daily, morning and evening as outlined above adding sulphate of potash as per the rate on the box. Adding sulphate of potash gives your flowers and then fruit a great boost.