Plant apple trees in full sun, in soil that drains well and on a high point so frost gathering in low pockets will not damage the tree or the fruit. If you plant apple trees close to the south or west side of a building, they might also bloom too early in the spring and be damaged by frost.
Reliable varieties for our area are Cox Orange, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Jonathan, Fameuse, Northwest Greening, Joyce, Wealthy, Lodi and Haralson.
Select two different varieties for cross pollination and good fruit production. In most cases, planting semi-dwarf varieties rather than standard size trees allows enough room for at least two varieties in the landscape.
The best time to prune apple trees is in early March. Allow sunlight to penetrate into lower areas of the tree to encourage better fruit production and strong branch structures.
Insect and disease controls are important for successful fruit production. Scale insects, mites and aphids winter on trees and can be suppressed by spraying the tree in late March with dormant oil. Some apple varieties are susceptible to fireblight which can be somewhat controlled by spraying with streptomycin during the flowering period.
Wormy apples at harvest time are frustrating. The worms are larvae of the codling moth and can be controlled by spraying with Permethrin. Begin spraying about two weeks after the blooms fall and re-spray every two weeks throughout the growing season. Don’t use the insecticide Sevin on bearing apple trees because it can cause the fruit to fall off.
Removing fallen leaves and apples each fall can also help control coddling moth.
For “Aphids” refer to message number 1402.
For more information, see the following Colorado State Extension fact sheet(s).
- Backyard Orchard: Apples and Pears
- Fire Blight
- Cytospora Canker
- Aphids on Shade Trees and Ornamentals
- Insect Control: Horticultural Oils
- Pollination of Tree Fruits
- Training and Pruning Fruit Trees
- The Science of Planting Trees