If you want to grow apple trees in your urban farm, it’s very important to make a proper plan. Planning how your garden will look and where you will plant your apple trees is crucial. Adding apple trees in your urban farm adds value and charm to your garden. Hence, here is everything you need to take into consideration if apple trees are what you want for your urban farm.
The size of your yard would the first thing to consider and the one which will determine how many apple trees you can plant. Apple trees require sufficient space to grow and produce fruit, Moreover, you as an urban farm owner will need enough room around each tree when training, pruning and managing the insects. So, ask for planting distances between trees and between rows and check whether your farm meets the requirements. If you want your apple trees to succeed, you will need full sunlight. Additionally, you should prevent standing water around your apple trees which can trigger trunk damage near the soil line. You should also provide air drainage, which will prevent cold air from settling around your apple trees.
Note that you will need to plan to prune your apple trees, which is a very different process at home than in a commercial orchard. As apple trees are usually visible from your home, you will have to prune them so they look more like trees. You will have to make a balance between aesthetics and fruit production.
It’s best to use a central leader, a pruning method in which fruiting scaffolds radiate from the trunk in a systematic manner. This provides easier pruning, spraying, and harvesting of the apples. You will need to prune the apple trees since the day you plant it. However, it’s advisable to start pruning in late winter so you can train the scaffolds and continue into the spring and summer.
The pollination requirements are another thing you will have to take into consideration. Apples require cross-pollination to bear apples. However, as two apple trees of the same variety won’t pollinate each other, you’ll need to plant at least two different varieties that bloom at the same time. In urban farms, what most home orchardist use are ornamental flowering crabapples. So, plant your apple trees near the ornamental flowering crabapple and you will get the necessary cross-pollination. The cross-pollination process takes place when bees and other pollinating insects visit the blooms of the apple tree while carrying pollen from another apple or crabapple tree.
Growing apple trees is a time-consuming job, which requires plenty of resources. So, you will need to train your apple tree from three to five years before they bear fruit. During that time, you will have to protect them. The protection is usually from the wildlife, the weather, and insects and diseases. Apple trees, especially when they are young, can be affected by the sudden changes in soil temperatures and the wildlife which can eat the bark of the tree. Leaf-feeding insects and foliar diseases tend to attack the young apple trees, which can prevent the tree to grow into a mature fruiting tree. Controlling this situation is crucial from the beginning as it can become harder over time, especially when the tree is bearing apples.
Hence, you should start spraying for insects and diseases prior to bloom and continue throughout the season. Moreover, you need to prune in late winter and continue during early spring and summer.