Apple Growing Guide

5 Steps to Apple Planting Success

  • Pick an apple variety based on your garden and cooking needs and choose an open, sunny spot sheltered from strong winds. Some apple varieties are self-fertile, but many require a pollinator apple.
  • Prepare your soil with organic matter like compost and sheep pellets.
  • Add a layer of citrus and fruit mix to plant into. In New Zealand winter is the optimum time to plant apple trees. 
  • Feed your apples in spring and summer to encourage maximum flowering and fruiting.
  • Mulch and water well, particularly over the warmer months.

Follow our full guide below to a bumper crop of homegrown apples.

When should I plant
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  • Harvest in 2-4 years

Apples are an excellent 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 eat unpeeled if you can! 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 the optimum time to plant and when the widest variety will be available in stores. If you're planting over summer make sure you water the plants well. 

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 require a pollinator apple to be planted nearby, so make sure you check this when buying your tree. It's important to choose a pollinator that flowers at the same time as the variety you want to grow.

Choose an open, sunny spot sheltered from strong winds 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. 


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 Citrus & Fruit Mix. If planting in pots and containers, fill with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.

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

  • Soak your tree in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic before planting and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock and give your lemon a healthy start. 
  • Add a layer of Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix to the planting area.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently take the plant from the current container, loosen the root ball and remove any loose or dead plant material and roots.
  • Fill in with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix. Press mix gently around the base of the plant.
  • 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 plant well and continue to water regularly.

Planting in pots and containers

  • Soak your tree in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic before planting and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock and give your lemon a healthy start. 
  • Half fill your container with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.
  • Gently take the plant from the current container, loosen the root ball and remove any loose or dead plant material and roots.
  • Position the plant in the centre of the new container and fill with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Gently firm the mix around the base of the plant. The mix should be at the same level on the plant as it was in the previous container.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

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.

Harvest

Apples should be picked when fully ripe. Their taste is at its best when left to ripen on the tree. Once they start to drop to the ground it's a good sign they are ready for harvest. 

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.