Apples Trees in the Ground

Yesterday we headed back to North Alabama Nursery and picked up four apple trees. We set out two Arkansas Blacks and two Yellow Delicious. Including the Transcendent Crabapple we set out last month, we now have five apple trees in all! Since these trees will grow 15-20 feet high, right now five is all we have room for. As our field layout and garden plan develop, we’ll be able to add more.

Back in October, we double dug 4’x4′ beds and worked 2 gallons of wood ash deeply into each one (the wood ash is supposed to keep away wooly aphids). To plant a tree, we dug a hole in the middle of a bed, spread the tree’s root as we carefully put the soil back into the hole, and then tamped the soil gently to hold the tree in place making sure not to cover the graph joint. We didn’t have to water the trees in because the soil is very soggy from rain.

We pruned each tree leaving one main middle branch with four or five limbs. In mid-March we’ll turn 1/2 cup of our organic fertilizer mix ( 4 parts (by volume) Alfalfa Meal, 1 part Rock Phosphate, 1/2 part Kelp Meal, and 1 part dolomitic lime) into the top few inches of soil in each bed and stake the young trees  just as they start setting new leaves. Next winter these trees will be pruned to an open-center by cutting away the middle, or leader, branch; this will open up the tree to more sun and air flow making fruit production and harvest more abundant.

To care for our tiny orchard,  each tree will be pruned during winter dormancy to remove twisted or crossing limbs. Each spring the trees will be white washed to add calcium and other micro-nutrients to the soil. In the summer, the trees will be fed with Comfrey tea and birds and bees will be encouraged. During the fall the tree beds will be sown with Crimson Clover, and non-invasive winter grasses will be sown throughout the orchard. This is the plan anyway. 🙂





4 thoughts on “Apples Trees in the Ground

  1. All of the apple trees are semi-dwarf varieties and about 1 year old, Jennifer. The Crabapple and Arkansas Black should produce fruit by the time they are 3-4 years old. The Yellow Delicious produce when about 7-8 years old. All are early to mid fall bloomers. The Crabapple is the main pollinator and will supply enough pollen for many trees, with the help of the wind and bees of course.

  2. Awesome looking farm you have going there! I’m definitely envious of your space but we have the same drainage problems on our little suburban lot. With the recent rains I have way too many compacted areas showing up as puddles. I need to figure a way to reshape my flat yard to drain better. Also, I’m wondering if you’ve ever considered rice or cranberries with all that water?;)

  3. Our soil is hard compacted red clay that stands in water due to poor drainage during our soggy winter months (usually from mid-December thru mid-February). We think cranberries require a well drained, spongy type, acidic peat based soil and a good supply of fresh water. We definitely have the acid buy not the drainage. Sorry, we don’t know squat about growing rice but we think our poisonous water snakes would really appreciate it if we’d learn. 😉

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