Apple tree planting: how to plant a seedling in autumn and spring correctly

The apple tree is a numerous genus of deciduous trees in the family Rose. It includes 62 species. Wild varieties have long been the basis for the development of cultivated varieties, which are divided according to the timing of fruit ripening, tree height. Breeders’ work does not stand still. They work on the creation of released varieties and improvement of varietal qualities, which are fully manifested when observing the agrotechnics of cultivation – the rules of planting and care.

When to plant apple trees

When to plant the apple tree

The apple tree’s immature root system is vulnerable to weather changes. If planted too early in the spring it dies from return frosts. And if you procrastinate with the work in the fall, it will be ruined by the unexpected cold. When accurately determining the timing of planting, take into account the agroclimatic features of the region of cultivation:



Northern regions

Because of the short summer and harsh winter the optimal time for planting is spring (end of April-middle of May). During even a short period of warmth the tree will have time to take root, go into winter hardened. In case of autumn planting there is a high risk of frosting of apple trees even with mulching of the rootstock area

Middle belt

Planting in spring and autumn (3 weeks before frost) is acceptable. But because of the abrupt onset of winter with significant temperature fluctuations and frequent lack of snow, preference is given to spring

South of the country

Landing is carried out in two terms: in spring – in the middle of the season, in autumn – until the third decade of November (guided by the local weather forecast)

For your information!

When planting in the spring, in our opinion, you should make sure that the soil is sufficiently warm. Ready for planting is indicated by a spade bayonet coming in without resistance.

Choosing a planting stock

On the quality of seedlings depends on the success of growing apple trees and obtaining an abundant harvest with appropriate varietal characteristics. Quality planting material is purchased in nurseries and specialized outlets, where there is an assortment of zoned varieties, adapted to the agroclimatic features of the region. In spontaneous markets, we have observed that graft-free apple trees are often sold.

The optimal age for the seedlings is 1-2 years. They still have a compact root system, which is not injured when extracted from the ground, as in older, larger specimens. Visually inspect the roots for signs of disease and dry patches. If a seedling is sold in a container, assess the development and condition of the shoots.

The timing of planting also affects the choice of planting material. When acquiring take into account the following:

  1. Apple tree age.For the spring terms of planting, seedlings up to 2 years old are suitable. Older apple trees with higher resistance are planted in the autumn.

  2. Type of root system. In areas with mild weather conditions, specimens with closed and open roots are appropriate. If conditions are harsh, select seedlings in containers, regardless of the timing of planting.

  3. Variety features. With spring terms, the choice of forms is wider: in addition to conventional apple trees, dwarfs and semi-dwarfs with a developed root mass are suitable. Rooting is good for colony-shaped trees with few roots. During the warm period, while intensive photosynthesis processes take place, the root mass will grow. But the rootstock areas are still insulated for the winter.

If you need to transplant an adult tree, in our opinion, the best time is under the winter. By the cold, the life processes in the plant tissues almost stop. In a dormant state, the mature apple tree will more easily tolerate a change of location.

Selection and site preparation

Apple tree likes a lot of light, fertile soil. Under the culture allocate sunny places, protected from draughts, but well ventilated, for example, near the fence. The territory is chosen with a rich soil composition. Waterlogged areas should be avoided, since stagnant fluid in the roots leads to the development of diseases.

When selecting a location, take into account the predecessors. Crop rotation allows you to protect the plant from accumulated infections in the soil and a stockpile of pests. Apple trees are a poor predecessor. The good ones are plum, cherry. It is acceptable to plant an apple tree in a previously empty place. Excellent if nettles were growing there before. If the variety is not in the group of self-pollinated, prepare another plot nearby for a pollinator.

Before planting work, the area with the mentioned requirements is prepared, creating an optimal microclimate for the apple tree. To make the soil richer, add organic matter – humus, compost. They perfectly loosen the soil, make the structure breathable. If the soil is heavy, add sand, which has good drainage qualities.

Nuances of planting by dates

How to plant an apple tree

The technology of planting apple seedlings in the stages is similar – digging a hole, setting the planting material. But there are also peculiarities in the preparation of planting material, subsequent care, depending on what is coming soon – summer or winter.


Prepare the planting hole with a diameter of 1 x 1 m in advance (15-20 days) before the optimum time. The arable, aka fertile, layer of soil (20 cm) is removed and neatly and put separately. Dig to a depth of 70 cm. In the center of the planting hole, a one-meter stake is hammered in to support the young seedling. Calculate so that after planting it protrudes by 30-40 cm. Fertile soil is thoroughly mixed with the rest and a third is measured.

The resulting soil mixture is enriched with macro- and micronutrients: add 20 kg of humus, 300 g of wood ash, 200 g of superphosphate, 120 g of potassium salt. After mixing it thoroughly, return the fertile soil, rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in an accessible form, to the planting hole. Put the rest of the nonfertile soil from a meter layer on top. The place is watered. When the soil has settled, topdress to make the site level.

When the trees in the garden shed their leaves, it’s time to start the main work.Sequence of steps:

  1. In the prepared place make a hole according to the size of the root system of the planting material, add a small amount of chernozem.

  2. Install the planting material, spread the roots, cover the soil so that the root neck is elevated above its level by 5 cm.

  3. The sapling is tied to the spike.

  4. Water abundantly (3-4 buckets of water), so that no air pockets remain around the roots.

  5. Backfill the hole so that the neck of the plant is level with the soil, or 2 cm higher.

  6. When the liquid is absorbed, the soil in the rootstock circle is mulched to prevent moisture evaporation. Use peat or compost. The thickness of the layer – 10 cm.

After the first frosts, the mulch layer is increased, young trees are wrapped with thick paper or covered with spruce lapnik to keep them from frost, burns from the spring sun, as well as hares and mice. If the growing region is characterized by low snowy winters, boles are buried. The maximum height is 20 cm.

Please note: But the plant will continue to accumulate root mass until the mercury column sinks to +4°C!

Seedlings without foliage are used for planting – it seems that they are already dormant. But the plant will intensively grow root mass until the mercury column does not fall to +4 ° C.


Prepare the hole, when the ground thaws – about 7-10 days before the planting work. In fertile soil, dig it to a depth of 60 cm, on scarce soil – make at least 70 cm. Diameter – 60 to 80 cm. Hammer in the stake. After a specified time, when the heat becomes stable, proceed to planting. Well moisten the root system of the seedlings, putting them in a container with water for a day. Absorbing a lot of moisture, the roots will be protected from drying out. In the rest, the technology is similar to the autumn one, except for watering. It should be more abundant. Water is poured under the planted tree until the soil no longer absorbs it.

If colony-shaped apple trees are selected, the technology is slightly different. Under each seedling, prepare a strip of 3×3.5 m, dig it to the bayonet of the spade. By the plot (at the rate of 1 m)2) distribute 6 kg of compost (humus), 50 gr each of superphosphate, potassium salt. The soil is raked, covered with a 60 cm layer of soil. Planting is carried out after 15-20 days. If groundwater is close, drainage trenches are dug between the rows of apple trees.

Growing an apple tree begins with the selection of quality planting material, accurate timing and compliance with the rules of planting. But it does not end there. A stable yield is also an indicator of quality care.

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