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.



4 thoughts on “Planting an Apple Tree

  1. Did you only plant one tree? Apples need two trees to cross pollinate ( two apples but it does not matter if they are the same variety). If you only have one apple and none of your neighbors have an apple tree then unfortunately you will not get fruit.

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    1. From what I read this type is supposed to have some fruit with one tree but does better with two. I hope to add in a second type later, but need to clear some space first.


      1. hmm that sounds interesting, I will have to research that, it must be very new as I have heard that and I live in British Columbia, Canada. A very large fruit growing region. As for the two trees, most fruit bearing trees do much better with different varieties planted instead of two of the same. For example: Plums just need another tree of the same species ‘Prunus’ but not all ‘Prunus’ are plums. Prunus species include chokecherries, cherries etc. Another simpler scenario would be, if you are planting two apples or more it is better to have more than one variety of apple (gala, spartan, mac etc) as it does seem to create a better fruit yield and also protects you against possibly losing your trees because you might have planted a variety that is more prone to disease than other varieties. For apples a major disease that they can get is Fireblight, this is a disease that if your tree gets it, it will kill the plant very quickly. Good luck with your experiment! I love it when people plant things that are not usually grown in their area.

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  2. As the wood roots and breaks down, your mound will subside and you may end up with a divot around your tree. My dad spent a number of years bringing horse manure to the garden behind our house in the city. Even now, years after he’s been gone, the weeds have a lot of nutrients and are growing like … weeds. 🙂

    About 15 yrs ago, he bought 39 acres in the county and tried to make part of it as fertile as his little plot in the city. Unfortunately, by that point he was almost 70 and just didn’t have the strength to do it which was a shame.

    Best of luck with your apple tree.

    Liked by 2 people

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