Today I planted my first ever apple tree!
I am just re-potting for now but it can stay potted for a year (or more) until I pick a permanent location for it.
I have gone for a Yorkshire Greening. Firstly I want, if possible, to only grow Yorkshire varieties. Secondly this is supposed to be a tough tree and a reliable cropper. But most importantly it is noted as a decent cider apple. (Eventually I want to make cider. Lots of cider. Cider. Mmm. Cider.)
I got this from my local nursery, Beardsworths. The rootstock is MM106, so it’s semi-dwarfing but will ultimately get to about 4m and yield lots of juicy, acidic apples. (Cider. Mmm. Cider.)
The tree is pollination Group 5. I was a bit concerned about having a partner for it but one of the helpful members of staff at the nursery said it wouldn’t be a problem. There are quite a few apple trees and loads of other fruit trees within half a mile of where we are, so it would be a surprise if this didn’t get pollinated. Plus I plan to buy more apples trees later.
Right, let’s get down to it…
Here is everything I used. First off I bought a nice heavy, terracotta pot. It is 35cm and nice and deep too. Two of these with matching dishes was about £12 at our local home and garden megastore, so not expensive at all.
First I jammed a few small rocks in the bottom, just to make sure the single, large hole at the bottom doesn’t get clogged when I water the tree. Now, soil time…
I used a John Innes Number 3. This is a soil which is especially for trees, or things with big or mature roots, and it apparently keeps nutrients well. Not the cheapest but still, a 20 litre sack was under a fiver. I only used about two thirds of it, if that. I also mixed in quite a bit of Perlite (the white bally stuff) as I went. This will help moisture retention so the experts say.
Now time to get the tree in there. I carefully snipped away and removed the cane and scraped off any weeds from the top of the pot, then popped it in, making sure to keep the base about an inch from the rim.
The tree was a little fragile (and carrying two quite large apples already) so there is Miss E holding it steady as I prepare to stake it. I have filled in around the side and lightly pressed the soil in around the rootball.
Hey presto! Stake in and tied with a small rubber tree tie, one should be enough for now. I winced a bit as I sunk the stake through the roots, but the tree is hardy so should take this slight damage. Plus it now has loads more room to spread out in to.
After another thin layer of the soil, time for a drink…
Then I put 5 of these bad boys in. They should add some nutrients for the next six months. I placed them mid way between the rim and the tree, and after taking this photo I sunk them in about an inch under, and covered them over.
Then a serious water. In total (before and after the fertiliser pellets) I used about 6 litres, just to bed things in. The water eventually found its way down and was escaping quite easily from the bottom of the pot, which is a good sign.
Now some inexpensive shingle or decorative stone. A huge bag was £2, and I used about one tenth of it. Hopefully this will keep the roots cool and help avoid moisture loss through evaporation. It also makes it look neat and tidy.
As you can see I was cajoled into placing Miss E’s hideous purple turtle planter on it. I suppose it has to go somewhere.