Planting Apple Trees

The Best Time to Plant

We have routinely advised growers in the upper Midwest to plant bare rooted trees mid- to late March, April or June (June? Why not May?). Several research studies have demonstrated the advantages of planting as soon in the spring as the soil conditions will allow. Trees planted in April have a decided advantage over those planted even one month later. As temperatures increase in late spring, trees planted late will break bud sooner and struggle …

Select and Prepare a Site for Planting Apple Trees

Site Selection

The most important management decision is selecting where to plant an orchard. Choosing well makes all orchard practices easier. Aboveground concerns include macro-climate and micro-climate issues (low temperatures, air drainage for frost prevention, excessive slope [>20%]), as well as proximity to markets. Belowground concerns include impeded drainage (water saturation and/or compacted subsoil) and low water-holding capacity. Ideal soil texture for apple trees is sandy loam, loam, or silt loam, although apples will grow in a wide range of …

Buying Apple Trees: Ordering Your Trees

Order trees from a nursery as far in advance as possible, and research the choices before placing your order.

►The advantages of ordering early.

Nurseries become overloaded in late winter with last-minute orders. They may not be able to get your trees to you until it is too late to plant. Ordering early will also give you a better choice of cultivars and rootstocks.

► Custom orders.

Some nurseries will custom bud or graft a particular cultivar from your orchard …

Support for Apple Trees on Dwarfing Rootstocks

Dwarf apple tree supported by single wire and conduit with wooden posts no more than 50 ft. apart within the row. Photo: Jon Clements, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

When propagated on dwarfing rootstocks, most apple cultivars will lean or fall over as they start to fruit. Trees on dwarfing rootstocks tend to produce heavy crops relative to the size of the tree, and the tree cannot support the weight of the crop. Many dwarf rootstocks also produce relatively shallow, brittle …

Buying Apple Trees: Choosing a Nursery

Choose a nursery carefully when ordering trees.

  • Ask if the nursery has the cultivar and strain, rootstock, tree size, and quality that you want and if it has enough in stock to meet your needs.
  • Don’t accept an undesirable cultivar-rootstock combination. You could end up with a spacing problem in your orchard if you plant a mixed block of cultivars, strains, and rootstocks. You’re better off to delay your planting for a year until you are able to get

Sources for Apple and Other Fruit Trees

Many nurseries supply fruit trees to commercial and home growers. We’ve assembled lists of some of these nurseries to help you source particular plant material or locate nurseries in your region. As Cooperative Extension educators, our goal is to provide you with basic information and resources to make informed decisions. These lists are for informational purposes only. They are neither comprehensive nor intended to promote any individual businesses.

U.S. Fruit Tree Nurseries

International Fruit Tree Nurseries

Fruit Tree Rootstock Nurseries

Antique Fruit Cultivar Nurseries

Big Horse Creek Farm, PO Box 70, Lansing, NC 28643

Boyer’s Nursery and Orchards, RD 2, Biglerville, PA 17307

Fedco Trees, PO Box 520, Waterville, ME 04903

Moser Fruit Tree Sales, 5329 Defield Rd., Coloma, MI 49038

Southmeadow Fruit Gardens, PO Box 211, Baroda, MI 49101

Trees of Antiquity, 20 Wellsona Rd., Paso Robles, CA 93446

Vintage Virginia Apples, PO Box 210, North Garden, VA 22959

White Oak Nursery, 2515 White Oak Rd., …

U.S. Fruit Tree Nurseries

Adams County Nursery Inc., 26 Nursery Rd., P.O. Box 108, Aspers, PA 17304

Agri-Sun Nursery, 15935 S. Temperance Ave., Selma, CA 93662

Banning Orchards and Nursery, 4000 Grant Rd., East Wenatchee, WA 98802

Boyer Nursery & Orchards Inc., 405 Boyer Nursery Rd., Biglerville, PA 17307

Brandt’s Fruit Trees Inc., P.O. Box B, Parker, WA 98939

Burchell Nursery Inc., 12000 State Highway 120, Oakdale, CA 95361

Cameron Nursery, 1261 Ringold Rd., P.O. Box 300, Eltopia, WA 99330-0300 …

International Fruit Tree Nurseries

D&L Nursery, 75 Avenue Joxe, 49100 Angers, France

Janssen Brothers Nurseries Limited, PO Box 2711 6030 aa Nederweert, Holland

Jos Morren Nurseries, Bosstraat 85-85 3545, Halen, Belgium

Nakajima Tenkoen Co., No. 34, 1-Chome Nakajima dori, Higashine City, Yamagata Perf. Japan 999-37

Schrama Nursery, Prof. Zuurlaan 10, 8256 PE, Biddinghuizen, Holland

Star Fruits, Les Genets D’or, No. 14, 84430 Mondragon, France

Viveros Requinoa, Victoria Subercaseaux No. 323, Santiago, Chile

Wiel Willems, Zuidwesterringweg 5-II, 8308 PC Nagele, Holland

As Cooperative Extension educators,