How to plant an apple tree

The apple tree is one of the main fruit crops, without which not a single homestead or summer cottage is complete. In order to grow a good, abundantly and regularly fruiting tree, the gardener will first need knowledge of the rules and features of planting an apple tree in relation to the existing conditions. Our task is to help him with this.

Apple tree planting dates

The choice of optimal planting dates for apple trees depends on the region of cultivation. In southern areas with hot and dry summers, it is worthwhile to prefer autumn planting, because if you do this in spring, the young plant will not have time to take root and strengthen before the onset of a sultry pore. In this case, he will need additional watering and the construction of temporary shelters from the scorching sun.

In other regions, it is better to apply spring planting. Seedlings planted in the spring during the summer will have time to root well, give growth, gain strength for the first wintering. In both cases, the time for planting is chosen so that the plants are at rest. In the spring - until the moment when the sap flow occurs (this can be determined by the swelling of the kidneys), and in the fall - after its completion (after leaf fall).

These rules apply in the case of planting seedlings with an open root system (ACS). Planting seedlings with a closed root system (ZKS) is allowed at any time during the growing season from April to October.

Where to plant an apple tree on a site

This is the first question that needs to be solved when embarking on the planting of an apple tree. The health of the plant, its life expectancy and the frequency of fruiting depend on the correct choice of place and growing conditions. For the apple tree, it is advisable to choose a place that will be reliably protected from the north winds. Such protection can serve tall trees, fences and walls of buildings located to the north or north-west of the landing site. Moreover, the distance to them should be such that no shadow is created. The apple tree loves good sunlight and ventilation.

Apple trees grow better in well-lit and ventilated areas with natural protection against cold northerly winds.

In partial shade, there is a risk of lower yields, elongation of trees, as well as the formation of dampness, leading to various diseases. For the same reason, you can not choose flooded, wetlands. Plots with close (up to 1-2 meters) occurrence of groundwater are also not suitable. The best choice would be a site on a small (10-15 °) south, southeast or southwest slope.

Is it possible to plant an apple tree in place of an old

The clear answer is no. The fact is that the soil has become tired and depleted over many years. In addition, specific inhibitors secreted by the roots of the old apple tree, as well as pathogens and pests, accumulate in it in large numbers.

Inhibitor (lat. Inhibere “delay”) is the general name for substances that inhibit or delay the course of physiological and physicochemical (mainly enzymatic) processes.


It is best to plant an apple tree on rested soil after three to four years of growing green manure or similar crops. With a lack of space, you can, of course, try to dig a bigger hole, fill it with a lot of fertilizers, macro- and microelements, etc. But you will have to work hard and the result is still not guaranteed. Whatever the large pit, in a few years the roots will go beyond it. And even when planting a new garden, you should not choose a place after the old one is being demolished.

Apple tree planting distance from the fence

The distance of tree planting from neighboring fences is usually regulated by local authorities or by the charters of horticultural associations and cooperatives. As a rule, tall trees are allowed to be planted no closer than four meters, and stunted trees no closer than two meters to the border of the site.

Apple tree planting scheme

Most often, apple trees are planted in rows in the garden. The distance between them should provide ease of maintenance, good lighting and ventilation of plants. The best accommodation option is one in which the rows are located from east to west. In this case, optimal lighting conditions are created. The distance between the rows is chosen from three to four meters for stunted apple trees with a small crown diameter, to six to seven meters in the case of growing tall varieties. The planting interval is in the range from 0.8-1.5 meters for columnar cultivars and up to six meters in the case of tall trees with an extensive crown.

Good and bad neighbors of the apple tree

Apple trees get along well with many types of fruit plants and, subject to the above planting intervals, will quietly grow and bear fruit. The most successful neighbors are:

  • plum;
  • quince;
  • cherry;
  • pear.

But still there are unwanted neighbors. It:

  • nut;
  • sea ​​buckthorn;
  • viburnum;
  • elder;
  • spruce;
  • thuja;
  • Pine.

Apple tree soil

It is believed that the apple tree is unpretentious and can grow on any soil. But this is a fallacy. In fact, this culture requires certain parameters of the soil, on which it will show the best results. The All-Russian Research Institute of Horticulture named after I.V. Michurin recommends soils for the apple tree with the following characteristics:

  • A loose, porous structure with good capillary moisture capacity.
  • A slightly acidic reaction in the range of pH 5.1-7.5.
  • Carbonate no more than 12-15%.
  • Inadequate salt content, sulfate and chloride salinization.
  • High microbiological activity in combination with a humus content of at least 2%.

Best of all, loamy, sandy loamy soils and chernozems meet these conditions. Of course, it is far from always possible to find a site with soil that meets the specified indicators. Often, real conditions are far from ideal.

How to plant an apple tree

To plant an apple tree, you need to have a planting pit and a seedling of the selected variety. The gardener prepares the pit on his own, and the seedling gets in the nursery or grows from a cuttings or seeds.

Preparing a pit for planting an apple tree

In any case, the pit for planting must be prepared well in advance, at least 3-4 weeks in autumn planting, and for spring planting it is prepared in the fall. This is because spring weather may not allow you to prepare the pit on time, and even if the conditions on the site are far from recommended, then the preparation will take a lot of time. On good fertile soils, preparing a landing pit is not difficult. You just need to dig a standard hole with a diameter of 60-70 cm and the same depth. Mix the excavated soil with fertilizers and put it back into the pit. One part of humus and peat, as well as 0.5 buckets of wood ash and 200-300 grams of superphosphate per planting hole are added to each part of the soil.

How to plant an apple tree if near groundwater

The close occurrence of groundwater is a serious obstacle to planting an apple tree. In some cases, this is still possible - an individual approach is required here. In the simplest version, you can do just the right selection of varieties. You need to know that the taller the tree, the deeper its root system and the more sensitive it responds to groundwater. As a rule, apple trees on semi-dwarf rootstocks have roots up to 1.5 meters deep and, accordingly, they will not respond to groundwater below this level. For columnar and dwarf apple trees, this figure is even less - only one meter.

The higher the apple tree, the lower the groundwater should be

In addition, you can raise the plant to a certain height by constructing a loose hill 0.6–1 meters high and 1-2 meters in diameter.

With a close location of groundwater, apple trees can be planted on mound hills

And the third, most expensive, way is to drain the entire area using the equipment of drainage systems. There are no unambiguous recommendations on this issue. Depending on the specific conditions, a certain scheme is chosen - it is better to use the services of specialists at this stage.

Apple tree planting in sandy soil

The problem with this situation is that the sandy soil has practically no nutrients and the ability to retain water. Therefore, the task of the gardener on such a site is to maximally eliminate these shortcomings. In order to ensure sufficient nutrition, dig a planting pit of the largest possible size for the apple tree.

Landing pit in the sand should be significantly larger than on ordinary soils

When I had a summer house on sandy soil, for laying the garden I had to dig holes 120 cm deep and the same diameter. At the bottom I laid a layer of red clay with a thickness of 20 centimeters, which served as a barrier to retain moisture. I covered the rest of the volume with imported chernozem, alternating layers with cow humus and peat. The approximate ratio of these components was 3: 1: 1. I will clarify that this ratio was not due to any scientific data, but to the availability and cost of materials. Looking ahead, I note that this method of planting is fully justified and apple trees planted in this way grow and bear fruit still nine years later. True, the new owners are now harvesting the crop, but that's another story.

It should be noted that no matter how much power was laid in the landing pit during landing, it is impossible to ensure it for life. Therefore, plants planted on sandy soils in the future will require more frequent top dressing.

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Planting apple trees in clay soil

Clay soil is not the best option for an apple tree, but nevertheless by applying efforts it can be grown. You need to understand that in this case, a large volume of the planting pit is desirable, as in the case of sandy soil. Only it should be achieved mainly by increasing the diameter of the pit, and not its depth. As a rule, a layer of continuous clay begins at a depth of 40-50 centimeters. It is enough to dig a hole with a depth exceeding the beginning of the clay layer by 15-20 centimeters. It is this volume that is filled with a drainage layer of crushed stone, broken brick, expanded clay, etc. The diameter of the pit can be in the range of 100-150 centimeters. If the clay begins at a shallow depth (10-30 centimeters), then a hill filling will not hurt, as is the case with a close occurrence of groundwater. The nutrient mixture for filling the pit is prepared in the same way as in previous cases, but to give a looser structure add up to 25% of coarse river sand.

At my new cottage (eastern Ukraine), the soil is clay. A layer of clay lies at a depth of 40-50 centimeters. This year I had to cut down an old and sick apple tree. When I started to uproot it, I discovered an interesting fact - several roots of an apple tree with a diameter of about 7-8 centimeters diverged radially from the trunk over fairly large distances, significantly exceeding the diameter of the crown. And they were located horizontally exactly along the dividing line of the fertile and clay layers. From this we can conclude that it does not make sense to make deep landing pits on such soil. Anyway, the main roots will be at the clay level.

How to plant an apple tree on peat soil

Peat soils most often have a close occurrence of groundwater. Therefore, it must be controlled by drilling wells using a garden drill. The second parameter that must be monitored is the acidity of the soil. It is likely to be overpriced - this is typical of peat soils. In this case, for its deoxidation, the introduction of lime powder or dolomite flour at a rate of 0.5 kg / m2 is required. Six months after application, a control measurement of acidity is made and, if necessary, the operation is repeated. If the peat layer is 40 centimeters and above, then you need to add river sand to the soil at a rate of 4 m3 per 100 m2. And besides, fertilizers are needed:

  • humus at a rate of 4-6 kg / m2;
  • superphosphate - 150-200 g / m2;
  • wood ash - 3-5 l / m2.

How to plant an apple tree on rocky soil

There are many areas with stony soil, where the upper relatively fertile layer has a thickness of not more than 10-15 centimeters. Behind it is a powerful layer of podzol, gravel or solid rocky soil. Back in the middle of the last century, Siberian gardeners came up with an interesting way of planting trees in such seemingly completely unacceptable conditions. I. Petrakhilev (“Our experience of planting fruit trees”, “Home Garden” No. 9, 1958) described a rather effective trench method for planting fruit trees. It is as follows:

  1. At a chosen place they dig (hollow out) a hole 60–70 cm in diameter and of the same depth (if desired, these sizes can be larger).
  2. Two mutually perpendicular trenches up to four meters long are dug through the center of the pit. The width and depth of the trenches should be 40 cm.
  3. The resulting hole is poured with a nutrient mixture.
  4. For all four rays of the trenches at a distance of 60 cm from the center of the pit, vertical fascines are made of rods 1.5–3 cm in diameter and 40 cm long.

    The method of planting trees in trenches allows you to grow good apple trees in stony and other low-fertile soils

  5. In the center of the planting pit, a seedling is planted according to the usual rules, which will be described below.

Subsequently, through moisture, all moisture enters directly to the roots, and liquid fertilizers are supplied through them. So that the fascines do not silt, they are covered with pieces of roofing material, and in the winter they are covered with peat. Their service life is usually three years, after which new fascines are installed, but already further from the center, since the roots grow along the trenches.

Fashina (German Faschine from Latin fascis - “bunch of rods, bunch”) - bunch of rods, bunch of brushwood, tied with twisted rods (knitting), ropes or wire.


The described experience of planting apple trees and other fruit trees has been repeatedly and successfully repeated by other gardeners in Siberia. And also this method can be applied on other problematic soils - clay, sand and any infertile.

Planting apple trees in spring with seedlings, including grafted

Once the place for planting is selected, you can proceed to the selection and purchase of seedlings. At the same time, it is worth giving preference to varieties zoned in the planting region, and it is better to buy them in the fall. At this time, there is a massive digging of seedlings by nurseries and the choice is widest. When purchasing a seedling with ACS, they usually choose a plant 1-2 years old, as older adults take root worse. Plants with ZKS, which is in the container, can be under the age of four years. Older trees are sold with a lump of earth placed in a metal mesh. Since winter storage of plants with ZKS requires the provision of rather complex greenhouse conditions, it is better to purchase them in the spring - autumn in the year of planting.

How to save an apple seedling before spring planting

The purchased seedling with ACS will remain until spring. This can be done by digging the plant in the garden. For this:

  1. Dig a hole with a depth of 25-35 centimeters and a seedling-length.
  2. A layer of sand 10-15 centimeters thick is poured at the bottom of the pit and moisten it.
  3. Sapling roots are dipped in a clay mash.

    Before storage, the roots of the seedlings are dipped in a clay mash.

  4. The plant is laid in a pit almost horizontally, placing the roots on the sand, and the top is supported on the edge of the pit.
  5. Sprinkle the roots with moist sand, and after steady frosts fall, the whole plant is covered with earth, leaving only the crown top on the surface.

    Saplings with an open root system are stored until spring in the trench

You can save the seedling in the cellar at a temperature of 0— + 3 ° C, ensuring the roots are kept moist, for example, overlaying them with moss or wet sawdust.

Planting a seedling in the ground in spring

At the time of planting, they take out a seedling from the shelter, examine it, and if everything is in order with it, they begin to plant. The procedure for planting grafted and root crops is as follows:

  1. The root system is soaked for several hours in water with the addition of a growth stimulator and root formation. You can apply Kornevin, Heteroauxin, Zircon, Epin, etc.
  2. At this time, prepare a hole for planting. To this end:
    1. A hole is dug in the center of the planting hole according to the size of the root system of the seedling.
    2. Away from the center at a distance of 10-15 centimeters, a stake 1 to 1.2 meters high above the ground is hammered.
    3. A small mound of soil is formed in the hole.
  3. The seedling is lowered into the hole, placing the roots on the knoll so that the root neck is on its top, and the straightened roots are evenly distributed along the slopes.
  4. Next, the help of a second person is desirable, who will gently fill the roots with earth, periodically compacting it. As a result, it is necessary that the root neck is approximately at the level of the soil or rises above it by 2-3 centimeters. Do not allow deepening of the root neck. The place of grafting of grafted seedlings must also be located above the ground. It is convenient to control the depth of landing using the rail.

    It’s convenient to control the landing depth using a rail or rod

  5. After filling the pits, they tie the plant to the peg with the help of an elastic material so as not to press the trunk.
  6. A near-stem circle is formed and watered abundantly with water so that the soil adheres well to the roots and there are no air sinuses in the root zone. Usually, for this, 2-3 times the water is filled in the trunk circle after it is completely absorbed.

    According to the diameter of the landing pit, a near-stem circle is formed and watered abundantly

  7. The plant is cut to a height of 60-100 centimeters, and the branches (if any) are shortened by 30-40%.

How to plant apple trees with a closed root system, including in nets

Planting seedlings with ZKS is slightly different from planting ordinary plants. Let's pay attention to some nuances:

  • Before planting, the seedling with the ZKS should be acclimatized, having stood it for several days in the garden without being removed from the container. At the same time, it must be shaded. Plants that winter on the street do not require hardening, as they are more hardy. In what conditions seedlings were grown, you should ask the seller at the time of purchase.
  • The hole in the landing pit is prepared according to the size of the coma of the earth, observing the desired level of location of the root neck.
  • In order to facilitate the extraction of the root system with a lump of earth from the container a few hours before planting, it is well watered, but the lump should not get too wet. In some cases, it may be necessary to cut the container if it is difficult to remove the seedling.

    Seedlings with a closed root system are planted with a lump of earth

  • In cases where the root system is not in the container, but packed in burlap or metal mesh, the seedling is planted without unpacking. A grid in the ground will decompose itself in a few years and will not cause obstacles to the development of the root system.
  • If planting was carried out in the summer, then at first the plant should be shaded and regularly watered for better rooting.

How to plant an apple tree in spring with cuttings

The cuttings of the apple tree are quite difficult to root. Moreover, some varieties, in general, cannot be rooted, while others are quite successfully rooted. The sources do not mention specific varieties suitable for this method of propagation, therefore, there is a field for experimentation. Experts say that apple-trees of small-fruited varieties are best propagated by cuttings, but with large-fruited successful results are much less common. The most effective is considered a method in which the concentration of hormonal growth substances in cuttings is stimulated. It is as follows:

  1. Not later than two months before the start of sap flow (better at the end of December), a well-ripened, lignified shoot at the age of 1-2 years is selected on the apple tree.
  2. Break it without damaging the bark. There can be several breaks on the shoot - as a result, cuttings 15-20 cm long should be obtained.
  3. After this, the place of the break is wrapped with electrical tape, a plaster, etc.
  4. A broken shoot is fixed in a bent form and left in this position until spring. At this time, the plant directs hormonal growth substances to the damaged area, contributing to the healing of the fracture.

    To stimulate the concentration of hormonal growth substances in cuttings, several breaks are made on the shoots, which are wrapped with electrical tape and fixed in this position until spring

  5. In March - April, the bandage is removed, cuttings are cut in places of breaking and placed with the lower end in a container with rain or melt water, poured to a height of 6 centimeters. Several tablets of activated carbon are pre-dissolved in water.
  6. After about 20-25 days, a callus thickening should appear and root growth should begin.

    After about 20-25 days, callus thickening should appear and root growth should begin.

  7. When the length of the roots reaches 5-6 cm, the cuttings are planted in open ground.
  8. For the first time, for their better rooting over the cuttings, an improvised greenhouse is made of a film, a plastic bottle with a cut neck or a glass jar.

    For the first time, for better rooting of cuttings, an improvised greenhouse made of film or glass is arranged above them

  9. With regular watering and shading on hot days, cuttings quickly take root and grow.

Planting apple trees with green cuttings

Rooting of green cuttings occurs well in the summer. For these purposes, use the branches of the current growth. The process is better to start during June and it looks like this:

  1. Early in the morning, young twigs 20-30 cm long are cut in secateurs.
  2. Cuttings containing 3-4 buds are cut from the middle part of the branches. In this case, the lower cut is done immediately under the kidney, and the upper one is above the kidney.
  3. The lower 1-2 sheets are cut, and the upper two are cut in half in order to minimize the area of ​​evaporation.
  4. You can plant cuttings both in a box and in the garden. In any case, you need:
    1. Prepare nutritious loose soil using humus or compost.
    2. Pour a layer of sand 5 cm thick over the soil and moisten it well.
    3. To equip a hotbed of arches and a transparent film above the bed or box to create increased humidity.
    4. Shade the greenhouse.
  5. Cuttings are stuck in wet sand for 1-2 cm, deepening 1-2 kidneys.

    Before rooting, green cuttings should be kept in a greenhouse.

  6. On this, the process of planting green cuttings is over. Next, you need to regularly open the greenhouse twice a week and spray the cuttings with water. After rooting, the greenhouse is removed.

Video: rooting green cuttings

How to plant an apple seed

Growing an apple tree from a seed is a long process and with unpredictable results. It can end up with a tasty and beautiful apple, as well as an ordinary sour wild game. Most often, this method is used by breeders to breed new varieties, as well as nurseries to obtain stocks. For those gardeners who still want to try to grow an apple tree from a seed, here are the main points of this process.

  1. First you need to get the seed. To do this, take ripe apples from the periphery of the crown.
  2. Carefully remove the seeds and sort them. Samples are selected that meet the following conditions:
    • Intact.
    • Completely ripe.
    • Having a uniform brown color.

      For sowing, fully ripened seeds from a ripe apple are selected

  3. Rinse selected seeds in warm water, vigorously mixing them with a wooden spoon for several minutes. Repeat the procedure three times replacing water. The purpose of this action is to remove the inhibitory layer that inhibits germination.
  4. Soak the seeds for 3-4 days, changing the water daily.
  5. Stratify the seeds in order to harden them.

Stratification of apple seeds at home

For stratification, the seeds are placed in a well-moistened substrate prepared from peat and sand in a ratio of 1: 3. At the same time, the seeds should not be in contact with each other. In this form, they should be at room temperature for a week. After this, the substrate with the seeds is placed in the refrigerator for 2-3 months. The best temperature for this is +4 ° C.

For stratification, the seeds along with the substrate are placed in the refrigerator for 2-3 months

Sowing Apple Seeds

As a rule, seeds are planted in suitable boxes having a perforated bottom, on which a small drainage layer is laid. The box is filled with chernozem, then grooves of 2 cm deep are made on its surface with an interval of 15-20 cm. The planting interval is 2-3 cm. After sowing, the soil is well moistened.

Video: how to grow an apple from a stone

Monastic way of planting apple trees

Nowadays, many have heard of the ancient monastery gardens, in which apple trees grow and bear fruit for a hundred years or more, bringing high yields. What is the secret of such longevity? Let's try to figure it out. It turns out that with this method, apple trees (and other crops) are grown from seeds planted immediately in a permanent place and subsequently the plant does not replant. Due to the fact that its roots are never injured, unlike the usual method, the root system turns out to be rod-like, not fibrous. Such roots go to great depths and with age can reach a length of more than ten meters. The advantage of this method is that the plant receives moisture from the deep layers of the soil and can do without watering, even in dry periods. In addition, root growth at great depths does not stop even in winter and extensive root masses are formed underground. Volumetric root mass becomes a repository of a large number of photosynthesis products, which is the key to high productivity.

For sowing, seeds of local hardy gamets are used, on which cultivars are then grafted. Moreover, the place of vaccination is chosen at a height of 1-1.2 meters while the wild variety acts as a strain-forming agent. An important factor is also the choice of landing site. For the garden, the monks always chose the upper part of the southern or south-western and south-eastern slopes, protected from the north by dense forests. Trees always planted on artificial elevations, preventing stagnation of water.

And a little about the peculiarities of care - an important point is the fact that the aisles never plowed in the monastery gardens. The mown grass and fallen leaves always remained in place, creating perennial layers of fertile soil with a high content of humus.

Apple tree planting in various regions

Having studied many sources, we can confidently state that the methods and rules for planting apple trees do not directly depend on the area of ​​cultivation. Differences for different regions consist only in the varieties used, as well as planting dates, depending on specific climatic conditions. The difference in planting methods depends on the composition and structure of the soil, the level of groundwater occurrence, as mentioned above.

Table: approximate planting dates for apple trees and some recommended varieties for different regions

Region Landing time Recommended Varieties
The middle strip of Russia, including the Moscow region Mid - end of April Elena;



Autumn striped;


Cinnamon striped

Saffron pepin;

Moscow later;


Leningrad region
Ural Late April - Mid MayUral pink;



Ural bulk;






SiberiaRanetka Ermolaeva;

Altai crimson;


White filling;

Souvenir of Altai;


Ukraine End of March - beginning of AprilMelba

Williams Pride;

Early sweet

Gala Mast;





Honey Crisp


Belarusian sweet;








Applying the information received in practice, a diligent gardener will certainly be able to grow a healthy and productive apple tree, even if the conditions for it are not entirely suitable. And if he was lucky and the soil on the site is fertile and well-structured, groundwater is far away and there is natural protection from the north winds, then apple trees planted taking into account all the above requirements will produce high yields for more than a dozen years.


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