When I was growing up on the farm, we always had plenty of space to grow fruit trees. Dad loved planting trees so we had lots of different kinds of trees around in the yard.
Because we had so much space, Dad planted about 20 different varieties of apples so we had plenty of apples to eat starting with the crab-apples in July and finishing with late maturing apples that were ready in late September and October.
But while we were fortunate to have so much space for growing apple trees, many small, modern, urban yards can only support a single apple tree at best. Yet, all is not lost if you have a small yard and yet want to enjoy a variety of different home-grown apples.
The solution is to plant a single apple tree with multiple apple varieties grafted onto it. We've got one this year that I’m calling the "H" tree.
Now if you are wondering what the "H" I’m talking about, we have a single tree grafted with the following apple varieties Heyer, Honeycrisp, Hardi-Mac, Harcourt, and Haralson.
So the H apple provides a wide variety of apples to suit everyone’s taste, yet doesn't require a lot of space. It’s the perfect choice for those who have limited space and besides…I just think it’s cool to have so many apples on one tree!
And, by the way, this H apple also has a "Parkland" apple grafted onto it. Why they put a P with the H’s, I don’t know.
Maybe the grafter thought the H joke had runs its course.
Before you plant a grafted apple or any apple tree, for that matter, here are a few points to remember:
• Evaluate the site, and spend some time visualizing what the apple will look like when it is fully grown. If the apple tree is going to block out the sun for your flowerbeds and vegetables, you may want to relocate it, if possible.
• The apple tree should have at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day for good fruit production. Shady spots are poor choices for apples.
• If the apple is planted near the neighbour’s fence there may be a concern with the mature fruit drop. The dropping fruit may be of concern to your neighbour and don’t forget that the best apples might be on his side of the fence.
• Always allocate some time in the spring for pruning. Healthy apples with strong branches require a bit of pruning each year.
• Document the apple varieties so that you don’t forget which are which. Metal tags wrapped around branches (loosely!) are great way for keeping track of what’s what.
• Prepare the soil properly and have the right tools at hand (shovel, pruners, tree supports, Myke, irrigation equipment, tree trunk wrap, etc.)
For more information on which varieties of apple trees (or other fruit) we carry, please click here to see our Fruit List for 2015