When choosing which variety of apple tree to plant, many land owners make the mistake of simply picking a type of apple they enjoy eating and planting trees of that type. This is not a wise way to go about planting apple trees. Just because you like a certain type of apple does not mean it's well suited to the climate or land in your area, so your results may be disappointing. To ensure success with growing apples, consider these three factors when choosing a variety of apple tree.
In order to produce fruit, apple trees need to be exposed to a certain period of freezing temperatures. Some varieties require more hours of freezing time than others. If you live in the northeast where winters are long and cold, then you can be sure it gets cold enough for long enough to satisfy any apple variety's needs. However, if you live somewhere with milder winters, you need to pay close attention to this number. When you go to purchase an apple tree at a garden center, ask how many chill hours it requires. Compare this number to the average number of chill hours in your area. Make sure you choose a variety of apple that requires fewer chill hours than your region typically receives.
Standard apple trees can reach more than 30 feet in height. You can limit the growth of a standard-sized apple tree through extensive pruning, but this is a lot of work. If you have limited space and don't want to spend your entire spring and fall trimming branches, then consider a dwarf or semi-dwarf apple tree. Dwarf trees grow to about 7 to 10 feet in height, and semi-dwarfs reach about 10 to 16 feet. They require a lot less pruning. Though you can prune your trees yourself, it may be wiser to employ a professional tree service, like Troyer Tree Service Inc, to tend to your trees for you.
There are a number of diseases that can completely ravage an apple crop. Fire blight, brown rot, and cedar apple rust are some of the most common ones. Check with your local cooperative extension to see which apple diseases are most common in your area. Then, look for an apple variety with resistance to those diseases. This will save you a lot of money and time, as apple varieties with limited resistance to these diseases will need to be sprayed vigilantly to protect your crop.
By paying attention to disease resistance, size, and required chill hours when choosing an apple variety, you increase your chances of success. You'll likely find several varieties that meet your needs in these regards – and you can then pick the one with the apples you find to be the tastiest.