Choosing the Right Cultivar to Plant

gala apple

Several variables should be considered when selecting apple cultivars to plant. Important factors include cold hardiness (some cultivars will not survive extreme winter low temperatures), heat tolerance,  disease resistance, time of harvest, intended uses and time of bloom. Apples require cross-pollination between two cultivars that must bloom at the same time.

Commercial orchardists must consider cultivars for an intended market. For example, processors will pay a premium price for ‘Northern Spy’ for pie filling, but there is little demand for …

For an apple tree, how many inches above the soil should I keep the graft union after planting?

For trees on size controlling rootstocks, the bud union should be 3 to 6 inches above the soil line. Remember that in some instances the tree can settle causing the bud union to become covered with soil. If the union is covered it may allow the scion to develop roots and the benefits of the size controlling rootstock could be lost. Conversely if the union is too high you may experience increased size control resulting in a smaller tree than …

What diseases are problematic when planting apple trees in heavy soils?

Heavy soils are those that contain more clay particles relative to sand and silt components. The high clay content causes the soils to be less friable, making them “sticky,” and more dense, thus making them hard to work with. They often remain cold and wet in spring and need grit or coarse organic material to admit air and help roots remain healthy. Because of their tendency to be cold and wet for longer periods than lighter soils, there is an …