Over the past couple of weeks, 3,000 new apple trees have been planted here at Kimmel Orchard. Several different varieties were planted including Fuji, Braeburn, and Evercrisp. Follow along to find out the steps we took to plant our new trees!
- Dig a hole that is double the width of the roots and around 2 feet deep. Here at Kimmel, we use a mechanical auger connected to a Bobcat to dig the holes uniformly.
- Place a grafted tree in the center of the hole with the graft union about 2-3 inches above the soil line and in a north to south orientation. Place the graft union about 2-3 inches above the soil to prevent the scion portion of the tree from producing roots. Planting the graft in a North to South orientation helps reduce stem breakage in strong winds.
- Refill the hole with the same soil that was removed to ensure the tree is surrounded with soft, uncompacted soil. Make sure the soil is pressed down around the tree once filled in to hold the tree in place as its roots develop.
- Make sure your new tree is watered and you’re done!
You may be wondering what we meant by saying the “graft union” in Step 2. Apple trees are grafted from two different varieties to display optimal characteristics from each different type in one tree. The rootstock is the bottom roots of the tree from one variety while the scion is the top portion of the tree. The rootstock will determine the size of the tree. This is also where a tree gains its resistance from various things like weather, insects, or diseases. The scion portion of the tree will determine the type of apples produced. The graft union is where these two parts, the rootstock, and scion, are grafted together.
Because Kimmel uses a fully dwarfing rootstock, these apple trees will start bearing fruit after only 2 to 3 years compared to 5 to 7 years of a standard rootstock. Happy planting!