Planting Dwarf Apple Trees

Planting dwarf apple trees is mostly the same as planting larger ones. There are just a few extra things to keep in mind for the little trees.

Before you get started, you need to know that apple trees of most varieties need a second variety to pollinate it. In addition, it pays to make sure the blooming time of both varieties are the same. Some dwarf apple trees are available which have several cultivars of apples on the same tree, making it possible to have only one tree. A few apple cultivars are self-fertile, and these would most likely be stated by the nursery selling the tree.

Your tree will likely come as a bare root tree. Follow the directions for handling and planting bare root trees.

When planting dwarf apple trees, make sure you plant in good soil. Remember that the dwarf trees have a smaller root system, so they will not be reaching out and deep for water and nutrients. Therefore it is more important that they are planted in good soil. Make sure the drainage is good. Apple trees cannot live with standing water on their roots. If you have a drainage problem, then the best approach would be to plant your dwarf tree in a pot. Once planted, it is difficult to add certain nutrients like calcium, phosphorus and boron. You can have a test done of your soil and then amend the soil before planting the tree. Take the pH of your soil and adjust the pH by adding lime or sulfur - depending on which way you need to adjust. An acid soil (low pH) requires addition of lime (calcium) to raise the pH. Don't use too much nitrogen when fertilizing. too much nitrogen can promote fast growth and incomplete tree hardening. Late season nitrogen can cause too much tender growth when the tree needs to be hardening for winter.

When you plant your tree, it is very important to make sure that the graft union is above the ground level. If this union is buried, then the tree will root from the scion, and produce a standard sized tree. You can tell where the union is, because it will look like a bit of a knob, or it will have a slight kink. You can also look for the area of darkening from the roots up the trunk. Where there is a line from dark to light is where the soil level of the tree had been before sending it to you. This would be where you will want to have the soil level when you replant. The graft union should be several inches above that.

Planting dwarf fruit trees requires staking or trellising. They can blow down or break off more easily than their larger counterparts.

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