Planting an Apple Tree

Ever since we moved into our house, Lynn has wanted me to plant an apple tree.  I have always been recalcitrant because I didn’t think that apples would grow in our part of San Diego County.  It is warm here year round with little of the cool hours that apples typically need to grow.

A few months ago we went to the City Farmers Nursery in San Diego.  I saw that they had a few types of apples for sale, and even some apple trees with fruit hanging on them as examples that apples can grow in San Diego.  I did some research and I think that the Anna apple tree is that best type for us to grow.  Annas need few chill hours, and are self fertile.  These characteristics make this an excellent tree for a half acre suburban San Diego lot.

As usual planting a tree took me much longer then I hoped.  Our dirt is heavy with clay, so I had to use my jackhammer just to make a 2.5 – 3 foot deep hole.  I didn’t just want to put the clay back into the hole around the tree, so I had to come up with a way make the dirt better.  I have been reading about hugelkultur, which is a way of using branches and wood to build up mounds for planting.  Over time the wood rots and provides nutrients for the plants.  Building these mounds isn’t ideal in a suburban lot, but I hoped to simulate it by filling my hole with old wood.  I have a lot of it laying around from getting our ash tree cut down, so I layered some of that wood in the hole. I used compost to fill in the cracks between the wood, and then used compost and peat moss to build up a mound around the root ball of the tree.  By building up where I planted the tree a little I will be able to put in several inches of wood chips for when I water the tree.

I really don’t know what to expect from this tree.  I know that citrus grows well here with little to know effort needed once the tree is established.  I don’t think I have ever seen an apple tree growing around where we live, so I will be truly curious to see what I get out of this little tree.

-Joshua

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