Collection: Apple Tree | Dessert and cooking apples trees

Apple trees are a delightful addition to any garden, offering both aesthetic beauty and practical benefits. Their spring blossoms add a charming touch of colour, while the autumn harvest provides a bounty of fresh fruit. Purchasing an apple tree is an investment in sustainable living, encouraging healthier eating habits with home-grown produce. It's also a rewarding hobby, fostering a connection with nature and the satisfaction of nurturing growth.

A Quick Guide to Buying the Perfect Apple Tree

Growing apples is very popular in the UK and it’s no surprise - it is easy and rewarding! 

If you are thinking about jumping on the bandwagon and growing your own tasty apples, there are a few key things to know before buying apple trees.   

If you are near Chichester, West Sussex, or Hampshire you are more than welcome to visit our Arundel Arboretum nursery and meet our experts. They will gladly chat with you, show you around, answer your questions, share some valuable advice, and offer you the best apple tree UK selection.

If you are looking for apple trees for sale online, explore our web store and our carefully curated, both young and mature apple trees for sale.

How to Choose Your Apple Tree?

Before heading to an apple tree farm or browsing to buy apple trees online, you need to answer a few questions to figure out the best apple variety for your needs. Check out this simple guide to decide:

1. A Dessert (Eating) or Cooking Apple? A Cider or Crab Apple?

Dessert Apples. Primarily grown for fresh eating. They are usually sweet, crispy, and juicy. The most popular dessert apples in the UK are:

Cooking apples. All apples are suitable for cooking, but certain varieties are especially good for culinary purposes (for pies, tarts, crumbles, sauces, and other dishes). The best cooking apple trees to grow in the UK are:

Cider apples. Cider apples are cultivated for the production of cider, an alcoholic drink made out of pressed apple juice. The best cider apple trees are:

Crab Apple Trees are small, ornamental trees or shrubs, more grown for decorative purposes than for eating. With their attractive flowers, foliage, and sometimes fruits, crab apples are perfect for landscaping.

2. Which Apple Flavour Do You Like Best?

Apples come in different flavours. They can be sweet, tart, and sweet-tart. Think about the taste you like and then decide what varieties you want to have in your garden. Here are some examples:

3. What Is a Rootstock and How to Choose the Right Size?

Many fruit trees are grafted onto rootstocks. These rootstocks control the vigour of the plant, allowing the cultivation of trees in smaller spaces. If you want a small apple tree or a miniature apple tree, you have to look for specific rootstocks. 

Rootstocks sizes essential to know:

  • M27. Ultra-dwarfing. Grows to 1.7m. Requires a permanent staking. Good for pots. 
  • M26. Dwarfing. Grows to 3m. Good for cordons and small espaliers.
  • MM106. Semi-dwarfing or Half-Standard. Grows to 5m. Good for espaliers. 
  • M25. Vigorous or Standard. Grows more than 5m.

4. Are Apple Trees Self-Pollinating?

Apples are usually not self-pollinating but need pollination from another apple tree that flowers at the same time. Keep that in mind when you choose apple plants for your garden. If you have a large garden, you can plant 2 or 3 different cultivars. In that case, you need to find apple varieties compatible for pollination. If your space is limited, you can buy ‘family’ trees which have two or three cultivars grafted onto one tree. 

5. When Will Your Apple Tree Bear Fruit?

When picking apple varieties for your garden, keep in mind that each type has its own timing for bearing fruit. For example:

Early season. These varieties crop in late summer, usually from August to September

Mid-Season. For these, fruiting occurs in mid-autumn, usually from September to October

Late season. These varieties bear fruit in late autumn, from October to November

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it hard to grow apples? Not at all! Apples are one of the easiest trees to grow. Once established, they require very little care.
  • When is the best time to plant apple trees? The best time to plant an apple tree is usually late winter or early spring. In that period, the trees are dormant and can establish roots before the growing season.
  • How long does it take to get the first crop? Half standards crop 2 years after planting and reach full cropping after 5 years. Full standards usually need 5 years to start producing fruit and 10-12 years to reach full cropping.
  • How much sunlight does an apple tree need? Apple trees love full sun and require at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight for best fruit production.
  • What type of soil is the best for apple trees? Apple trees grow best in loamy, slightly acidic to neutral, well-drained soils.
  • How far apart should I plant multiple apple trees? The distance between apple trees depends on their variety and rootstock. Standard apples need to be planted more than 5m apart, while dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties can be planted 3-4m apart.
  • Do apple trees require cross-pollination? Many apple varieties need cross-pollination for better crops. Each variety has its own pollination requirements.
  • How often should I water my newly planted apple tree? Newly planted apple trees need to be watered regularly. The soil must be constantly moist. Once, they are established they need deep, infrequent watering. Should I fertilize my apple tree, and if so, how often?
  • When can I expect my apple tree to bear fruit? In general, dwarf and semi-dwarf trees bring fruit sooner than standard-sized apple trees. Other factors are the tree’s age, variety, and growing conditions.
  • How to prune apple trees? Pruning is important for shaping the tree, improving air circulation, and enhancing fruit production. Pruning is usually done in late winter or early spring.
  • How tall do dwarf apple trees grow? Dwarf apple tree’s height and width range from 1.5 to 3 meters.
  • What are the advantages of dwarf apple trees? Dwarf apple trees can grow in small spaces and are much easier to maintain. Also, dwarf apple trees produce fruit much quicker than larger apple trees.
  • Are there any apple trees for sale near me? If you are looking for an apple tree sale UK and you are near Chichester, come and visit our Arundel Arboretum nursery. If you are not near us, we invite you to explore our online store and find your perfect plant. The rest is on us. If you have any questions or if there's anything we can assist you with, please feel free to reach out.

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