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Gardener Resources: How To Care For An Apple Tree

There are many reasons for a family to appreciate an apple tree growing in the backyard. For one, a healthy apple tree makes a pleasant sight for both family members and visitors to enjoy. Secondly, a family can learn a lot from observing the different stages in the growth of an apple tree. Furthermore, each member of the family can help in making sure the apple tree receives the care it needs to flourish. With proper care, an apple tree can become an appealing fixture in a family's backyard.    

Basic Care Tips

An apple tree needs a certain amount of attention from its caregivers to ensure that it grows in a healthy way. For instance, an apple tree needs to be planted in a place where it will receive enough sunlight to grow. Furthermore, the spot should have adequate drainage so the apple tree will not absorb more water than it needs to live. In fact, if an apple tree's roots take in too much water there's a chance the tree will not survive.

Pruning is also an important part of caring for an apple tree. This process removes dead branches and prevents limbs from crowding one another. Furthermore, pruning allows apples enough room to grow. In addition to pruning, the caregivers of an apple tree must be on the lookout for signs of disease or pests. For instance, if the leaves of an apple tree take on an unhealthy appearance the tree's caregivers should consult the owner of a tree nursery about the situation.

Apple Tree Varieties

There are many attractive varieties of apple trees to choose from. Some people enjoy growing Red Delicious apples. These particular apples are known for their strong, healthy growth. Not surprisingly, Red Delicious apple trees need to grow in a place with adequate drainage so the roots aren't flooded with water. When it comes to daily sunlight, these trees require approximately six to eight hours. Not surprisingly, these majestic apple trees are a joyful presence in a backyard.

A Gala apple tree is another favorable variety. Gala apple trees need a great deal of sunlight to produce their white or pink blossoms. In addition, a Gala apple tree requires a growing area with good drainage. The blossoms on these strong trees appear around the middle of spring. 

Apple Tree Pruning

Pruning contributes to the health of an apple tree and allows it to bear good-sized fruit. The process of pruning prevents dead or broken branches from interfering with the new growth of fruit. Twigs or branches that are crowding one another or crossing over each other should be pruned. When pruning, it's important for a caregiver to examine the apple tree for diseased branches.

The caregiver of an apple tree must use sharp pruning tools in order for the process to be successful. Furthermore, the cuts must be made cleanly. They must also be made in a way that allows water to drain off the pruned area. One common reason for pruning is if a branch is growing in a downward direction. Also, if a branch is cracked or broken it can be pruned. 

Apple Tree Training

Training the branches of an apple tree by tying them together helps the tree keep its shape and maintain good health. In fact, the practice of training an apple tree may continue over a period of many years. A caregiver should look at an apple tree's trunk as its center or leading part. A caregiver should strive to create an arrangement of limbs (growing outward from the trunk) that have plenty of room to expand.

A mature, trained apple tree has branches that have freedom to grow without crowding one another. Many caregivers train an apple tree so that the branches are shorter at the top of the tree and longer at its bottom. As a consequence, all of the tree's branches are able to receive sunlight. An apple tree that has been properly trained conveys a sense of balance to an observer.     

Common Apple Tree Diseases

The caregiver of an apple tree has the added responsibility of watching for any diseases that may affect the tree. For example, sometimes mildew can form on the leaves of an apple tree. This mildew may reveal itself in a powder-like appearance on the leaves. Sometimes when an apple tree is exposed to too much dampness or humidity mildew can occur. Proper pruning can help in the prevention this problem.

Apple scab is another disease seen with apple trees. The disease gets its name because of the scabs that are often discovered on the surface of the fruit. Dark spots also appear on the tree's leaves. Once again, areas with a lot of dampness can contribute to the development of this disease. 

Common Apple Tree Pests

Not surprisingly, apple trees are also vulnerable to pests. The codling moth is an example of one of those pests that sometimes affects apple trees. The moth larvae can gain access to both an apple tree's leaves and fruit. Fortunately, there are traps that can help with a codling moth problem.

Apple maggots are another pest that affects apple trees. The maggots gain access to the tree, lay eggs, and tunnel into the apples. In short, apple maggots can ruin many pieces of fruit on an apple tree. Once again, there are some traps that can help with an apple maggot problem.


Harvesting is one of the most enjoyable parts of caring for an apple tree. Ripe apples have a firm surface as well as a crisp texture. The caregivers of an apple tree should check to see when it is time to harvest their particular variety of apples. Once caregivers have a few seasons of experience with handling mature apples, they will be better able to determine when they are ready to harvest.

In many cases, a caregiver will find apples on the ground. There are many reasons why apples fall to the ground before they are ripe. For instance, deer sometimes munch on apples and knock them to the ground. In addition, a strong windstorm will cause some apples to fall. Fallen apples that are rotting and bruised should be cleared away from the area by caregivers so they don't attract pests.  

Having an apple tree in the backyard is an exciting experience that requires persistent dedication from its owners. Furthermore, family members can join together to enjoy the responsibility of caring for their apple tree. 

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