Apple Growing Guide

Apples are an excellent dietary source of vitamin A, folic acid and vitamin C. They are high in fibre and a good source of calcium. Most of an apple’s goodness is just below the skin, so it’s best to eat the fruit unpeeled. Whether you create your own mini-orchard, or choose to grow a tree in a pot, apple trees are fun to grow and can provide years of fresh, juicy homegrown fruit.

Prepare

Many apple trees are available all year-round, but winter is when the widest variety will be available in stores.

The best way to decide on a variety for your garden is first to consider where you live. Your choice should also be based on the fruit characteristics you like and when the trees blossom. Some apple varieties are self-fertile, but many however do need a pollinator apple to be planted nearby, so make sure you check to see if the variety you want to grow needs a ‘mate’ to produce fruit or not.

Choose an open, sunny position for your apple tree. It is a good idea to find out how big the tree is going to grow to ensure it will have enough room. Dwarf varieties of apples are good options if you have a small space or are planting in pots and containers. 

Refer to our Planting Calendar.


Plant

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Garden Mix. If planting in pots and containers, fill with Tui Pot Power which contains a controlled release fertiliser, Saturaid wetting agent to ensure water gets to the root of the tree, water retention crystals, and Acadian seaweed to protect plants from common soil-borne diseases.

The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting.

Planting in garden beds

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Partly fill the hole with Tui Garden Mix.
  • Fill a bucket with water and add two capfuls of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic, this promotes strong root growth and reduces transplant shock.
  • Place the tree (still in its bag) in the bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and soak for a few minutes until bubbles stop appearing. Remove from the bucket.
  • Remove the tree from its bag or container and then gently loosen the root ball of the tree.
  • Place the tree in the hole.
  • Fill the hole with Tui Garden Mix, ensuring the tree is no deeper than it was in the bag or container. 
  • Press soil firmly around the tree.
  • It is a good idea to stake when planting, as citrus don't like having their roots disturbed - this will help support the tree.
  • Water your tree well.

Planting in pots and containers

  • Water plants thoroughly before potting and allow to drain.
  • Partly fill your container with Tui Pot Power.
  • Fill a bucket with water and add two capfuls of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic.
  • Place the tree (still in its bag) in the bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and soak.
  • Remove from the bucket, remove the tree from its bag or container and then gently loosen the root ball of the tree.
  • Place the tree in the pot, and fill in with Tui Pot Power,ensuring the tree is no deeper than it was in the container or bag. Again, it is a good idea to stake when planting.
  • Press soil firmly around the tree.
  • Add pebbles around the tree for a finishing touch.
  • Water your tree well.

In the first year after planting your apple tree, remove any fruit that sets. This allows the tree to establish itself and encourages better fruiting in the following seasons.

Nourish

Replenishing nutrients used by your apple tree ensures they will grow to their full potential, producing abundant and juicy crops. Use Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser to feed your apple tree planted in the garden or in pots and containers in spring and summer. Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser is an all-purpose compound fertiliser so your apple tree receives a balance and even spread of all essential nutrients for maximum fruiting and flowering.

Don't forget to water your apple tree too - especially over the warm summer months to ensure you have juicy fruit.

Well watered, well nourished apple trees will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.When pruning be sure to remove all diseased, damaged or dead wood. Remove any branches that are crossing or rubbing. Cut away any branches that are growing back into the centre of the tree. Thin over crowded area of your tree’s canopy and shape according to its variety. See our Fruit Tree Pruning Guide for more information.