The apple is a hardy, deciduous woody perennial tree that grows in all temperate zones. Apples grow best where there is cold in winter, moderate summer temperatures, and medium to high humidity.
There are apples for fresh eating, some for cooking, and some for preserving. Some apples are sweet and some are tart. Some apples come to harvest in summer, some in autumn.
Apples can grow from 10 to 30 feet tall and nearly as wide. They are moderately fast-growing, but growth slows with age. Apple trees can live for 100 years or more.
Apple trees bloom in the spring, set fruit, and take from 100 to 200 days to reach harvest depending upon the variety.
Our Apple Growing Process
Before planting, our farmers remove all weeds and the grass in a 4-foot diameter circle.
After we have purchased the tree, our growers protect it from injury, drying out, freezing, or overheating. If the roots have dried out, they soak them in water about 24 hours before planting.
Our tree spacing is influenced by the rootstock, soil fertility, and pruning. Seedlings or full-size trees should be planted about 15 to 18 feet apart in a row. A dwarfing rootstock might be 4 to 8 feet apart in a row. Of course, apple trees require cross-pollination; a different cultivar that blooms at the same time must be planted within 2,000 feet (preferably, nearer).
Our growers dig a hole approximately twice the diameter of the root system and 2 feet deep. Place some of the loose soil back into the hole and loosen the soil on the walls of the planting hole so the roots can easily penetrate the soil. They spread the tree roots on the loose soil, making sure they are not twisted or crowded in the hole. Our growers continue to replace soil around the roots. As they begin to cover the roots, firm the soil to be sure it surrounds the roots and to remove air pockets.
Pruning slows a young tree’s overall growth and can delay fruiting, so our growers are not in a hurry to prune, other than removing misplaced, broken, or dead branches.
Our growers prune yearly to maintain size and form once your apple tree has filled in and is bearing fruit. Pruning reduces disease by letting in more light and air. Large trees may need more pruning (and a ladder!).
Or growers harvest patiently. After all this pruning and caring, they are sure to harvest your apples at their peak of perfection.
- They pluck the apples when their background color is no longer green.
- The stem are part readily from the branch when the fruit is cupped in the palm of your hand and given a slight twist around, then up (do not yank on the apple).
- Different apple varieties mature at different times, so the harvest season can stretch from August to October.
- If the apple is overripe and soft, we sell them out for cooking!
Our growers only store mid or late season apples. During the early season varieties, our growers don’t keep and sell them soon after picking. Mid season varieties should keep for a few weeks, while late season varieties will stay in good condition for anywhere up to five months in a root cellar. Apples destined for perfect storage, with no bruises or blemishes that could provide entry points for rot.
Our apples are stored by wrapping up individual fruits in newspaper or tissue paper. The wrapped apples are placed onto trays that allow air to circulate. We also store them unwrapped, but the fruits should not touch. Different varieties store for different lengths of time, so keep them separate and eat those that won’t store as long first.
The ideal store is somewhere cool, dark, and well-ventilated. Most garages and sheds are ideal, while attics and basements should be avoided due to either excessive heat, lack of ventilation or low humidity. Our growers check stored apples regularly and remove any that are going soft, brown or rotting.