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Caring for Home Apple and Fruit Trees

Pruning Apple Trees

Caring for your Home Apple and Fruit Trees

We get lots of questions about caring for your home fruit trees. Here is some of the best information we feel is out there about taking care of apple trees at home.

What should I know before growing my own fruit trees?

There are several things you should know before you plant fruit trees. Here are a few:
-You will need to plant more than one variety of trees. Apple trees must be cross-pollinated with another variety (this can include ornamental crab apples) that blooms at the same time.
-Apple trees do take some maintenance to get a good crop in the fall. You should plan to prune or trim your trees in the spring of the year, as well as, spray regularly during the spring/summer to keep out unwanted pests.
-Apple trees must be grown from baby trees, not from seed.
-There are different sizes of apple trees. You can choose between large trees or smaller dwarf trees. The tree’s size is determined by the size of the root stock. We suggest smaller dwarf trees for home use as they are easier to care for.

What varieties should you plant?

This depends on many factors, including how much care you are willing to invest, what your growing climate is, and of course you personal taste. Below are some links to good resources to help you make up your mind.

Apple Cultivars for Indiana

Home Fruit Tree Variety Recommendations

Where can I find apple trees in Indianapolis area?

From what we are aware, the following garden centers carry some varieties of apple trees:
The Garden Center, 3205 W 71st, Indianapolis
Dammann’s Garden Center, Three Indianapolis Locations

Allisonville Nursery, 116th and Allisonville Road area in Fishers

Tractor Supply can also have good trees early in the spring.

It is best to buy your trees from a location that is familiar with apple trees for fruit and not just for ornamental purposes. Mail ordering bare-root trees will often provide you with the best selection and quality. We would highly recommend Stark Brothers Nursery. This is where we get our apple trees. They are one of the oldest and most respected nurseries of fruit trees.

Caring for your Trees:

Here are recommended publications about caring for your home fruit trees:

For Spraying:

Here is a link to the publication about managing pests in home fruit trees that is available from Purdue. We highly recommend this for caring for any type of fruit (including berries). Information about pruning, spraying, and much more is included. Managing Pests in Home Fruit Trees

For choosing varieties:  Home Fruit Variety Recommendations 

Some other publications that you might also find helpful are: Apple Scab on Tree Fruit in the Home Orchard Fire Blight on Fruit Trees in the Home Orchard
Disease Susceptibility of Common Apple Varieties

Pruning Tips

For information on pruning your apple trees, join us for our Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop held each spring.
You can also get more information on Apple Works’ (another great Indiana orchard) website under pruning guide.

Further Questions?

You are always welcome to call us with any other questions you have about your fruit tree care. We can also get you more information on the Eastern Indiana Horticulture Society (a group of small and large orchard growers that meet for meetings and instructional activities) and the Indiana Horticulture Society.