How To Take Care Of A Apple Tree

Caring for an apple tree requires dedicated effort, but can yield a delicious reward. To keep your tree healthy and productive, it’s important to properly water and fertilize it, as well as conduct routine pruning and pest control. Trees should also be protected from temperature extremes and given winter protection in colder climates. Here’s how to look after your apple tree:

Watering Apple Trees

Whether your apple tree is young or mature, it needs a regular supply of water. Water deeply at the base of your tree for optimal absorption. Ideally, give one inch of water a week, either from rain or from a sprinkler. A slow trickle of water at the base of the tree, rather than overhead sprinkling, will help to minimize the chance of fungal diseases on the leaves.


Apple trees will need an annual application of fertilizer to produce a good harvest. Choose one that’s specifically formulated for fruit trees, such as a 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 blend. You should spread the fertilizer around the base of the tree in the springtime. Make sure the fertilizer you choose doesn’t contain herbicides, or you’ll damage the tree.


Pruning is a yearly task that’s necessary to maintain the shape of your apple tree and limit its size. Pruning should be done in the wintertime, when the tree is dormant. Cut back dead or diseased branches, as well as any that are crossing each other or rubbing together. Also, any new vertical shoots should be trimmed to keep your tree from becoming too tall and lanky.

Pest Control

Apple trees can be attacked by pests such as aphids, scale, borers, leaf miners and apple maggots. Check your tree regularly for signs of an infestation. Remove any pests by hand if possible, or treat with a pesticide if needed. Be sure to follow the instructions precisely and wait as long as possible before harvesting the fruit after using a pesticide.

Temperature Extremes

Extreme temperatures can cause serious damage to your apple tree. To protect it from winter cold, apply a heavy layer of mulch and wrap the trunk with a tree wrap in the wintertime. Position plastic tree guards around the base of your tree to protect it from sunscald in the summer. Finally, use shade cloth to protect your tree from wind and excessive heat.

Winter Protection

Apple trees grown in colder climates need extra care during Winter. Be sure to wrap your tree with burlap or blanket wrap if temperatures drop below zero degrees, and if extended snow cover is likely, attach a snow fence at the base of the tree to protect against root damage. You can also drive stakes into the ground in the fall and wind twine or burlap around the tree and stakes to protect it.

Disease Control

Apple trees can be prone to fungal diseases, including scab, fire blight and Apple rust. To reduce the chance of a fungal attack, provide consistent water at the base of the tree and make sure your tree isn’t too close to a fence, wall or other trees. Regular pruning should also be done to increase air circulation. If signs of disease appear, treat with a fungicide immediately.

Weed Control

Weeds can rob your tree of much-needed nutrients, so it’s important to keep them under control. Applying a thick layer of mulch around the base of the tree should help to prevent the emergence of weeds and to conserve moisture. Weed out any that do grow, manually or by spot treating with an herbicide. Take care not to damage the roots of your tree while doing so.

Bird Control

Birds can be a real problem for apple trees, eating the blossoms and fruitlets in Spring and early Summer. Protect the tree with bird netting, or set up a decoy to scare them away. You may also have to spray an animal repellent to keep birds from feasting on your harvest.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

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