> Hello, hubby and I are retired and next year will be moving to a smaller
> property. There is just the 2 of us and a sloppy labrador. We would love
> to plant an apple tree or 2 but have no idea of how to go about it.
> Could you suggest a type of tree, which will start fruiting before we
> are dead(!) We've heard of patio ones maybe they would suit us? Many
You mention "patio" trees - these are just apple trees on very dwarfing
stock that means that they can be grown in large containers, though they
can also be grown in the ground. If you do grow heavily dwarfed trees
in the ground, they need more feeding and more protection from competing
vegetation, eg grass, than other forms of apple tree, so you do need to
keep the ground clear under them. In that sense they can be more work
than a typical orchard tree in the ground that tolerates grass growing
under it, because you have to weed under them. It is said that patio
trees give fruit earlier than orchard forms. But my observation,
growing apples from 1-year "maidens", is that you get a bit off them by
the 3rd year and they are doing better by the 4th and 5th years, etc.
And you can speed that up by buying a 2nd or 3rd year tree, though they
cost a lot more, and don't ultimately establish as well as if you get
them when they are maidens. It depends what you think is a long time.
I remember a cousin of mine in his mid-60s buying a large quantity of
port to lay down, that wouldn't be drinkable for the next 15 years - he
dropped dead shortly afterwards, but at least he had provided for his
pleasure had he lived.
You need to choose a variety suitable for your local climate. For
example in the country I am in, UK, varieties suitable for growing in
cooler or wetter parts of the distinct. Also you need to think about
pollination. If there are lots of apple trees in the gardens around you,
well then you can forget about pollination. But many of us find that we
need to choose two trees of compatible pollination to get good crops.
This information will be on the websites of good nurseries, such as
'Keepers Nursery - possibly the largest range of fruit trees and soft
fruit plants in the world' (http://www.keepers-nursery.co.uk ) if you are
in UK. You should look to local nurseries for this information if you
are in a different country as the varieties available and issues in
relation to the varieties suitable for your local climate will vary
considerably according to your locality.