Yep, we're growing that many different types of apples. It's an incredible collection of classic heirloom and wonderful connoisseur varieties. And almost none are what you'll find filling the bins of most grocery stores. Read more
Rooms With a View
Salt Spring Island is an idyllic place to visit. And where better to stay than a room at the B&B @ Salt Spring Apple Company? Perfectly located and open year-round.
Your new apple tree doesn’t need a lot of ongoing attention, but here are five important considerations.
Young trees need deep watering two or three times a week from late spring through late summer during their first two or three years.
For fully dwarf trees, this regimen must continue for the life of the tree. For larger trees, once they’re four or five years old, they only need watering during the hottest and driest stretches of the year.
We recommend mulching with well-rotted compost or manure every year. That should be all the feeding your tree needs. Just spread it under the tree every fall or winter, as widely as the branches spread. Make sure you don’t bury the graft with this layer of mulch.
When it comes to pruning, less is better.
If your tree is a whip (a single stem without branches), then your first pruning will involve simply snipping off the tip when you plant it. This will cause the tree to send out branches.
If you train your branches (see below), the only other pruning you’ll need is to keep it to your desired height and to remove any broken branches or branches that cross.
Train your tree’s branches to grow out rather than up. The result will be a tree with more fruit and less growth of wood.
Except for one central stem, which you should allow to grow straight up, train all branches to grow out sideways. You can do this by hanging little bags of sand from the end of each branch, by fashioning little coat-hanger-like branch pullers out of wire, or by using clothes pins to force new little branches to go out horizontally.
Use whatever method you prefer; just remember that horizontal branches are fruitful branches that rarely need to be pruned.
Once your tree has matured, it’s ready to produce fruit. The key to success is pollination, as apple trees need to be pollinated with the pollen of a different apple.
Make sure there is at least one other type of apple tree within 30 meters or so and then encourage pollinators by avoiding the use of insecticides, providing plenty of flowers to attract pollinators and – if you’re ambitious – bringing mason bees onto the scene to help out. You can find information online about wonderful (and harmless) mason bees; we use them in our orchard with great success.