Apple - Cultivation
Apples are the fruits that grow on perennial, deciduous trees. There are over 10,000 different varieties of Apples, and the tree size ranges from full, standard size to dwarf trees. Apple trees can grow in many temperate zones but grow best in climates that have warm and humid summers and cold winters. Apple trees also have chilling requirements, which is the term used to describe the number of hours that the temperature needs to be below forty-five degrees for the plant to be able to bloom the following spring. Chilling requirements can range from 400-1000 hours depending on the variety. Apple trees grow best in loamy soil, which is an equal mixture of clay, silt, and sand. This soil provides the tree with time for absorbing the water, but it is still well-draining to avoid rot. Mulching with organic materials such as hay or straw will also help provide nutrients and moisture. Apple trees are planted in the spring and need full sun and pruning to encourage optimum growth. It will take full-sized trees six years, and dwarf-sized trees three years to bear fruit. Apples are harvested in the midsummer through the late fall.