Apple Braeburn from Thompson & Morgan
Popular and easy to grow, start your own mini orchard with apple trees
Image: Apple ‘Braeburn’ from Thompson & Morgan

Here’s where you’ll find our collection of the best expert content on growing apple trees. If you love to grow apples for cooking or eating, these garden bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers offer the fruits of their own experience to help you grow your own bumper crops. If you want to know which apple trees to grow, or need help with pruning, training, pests or harvesting, this is the place to start…

Plews Garden Design

Apples ripening on tree
Choosing an apple tree is a long term investment you shouldn’t rush into
Image: Plews Garden Design

“Did you know that you could eat a different variety of British grown apple daily for over 6 years,” asks Marie Shallcross at Plews Garden Design? To help you choose which apple trees to grow in your garden or allotment, this excellent article runs you through all the things you need to take into consideration before you choose. She covers everything from your taste in dessert or cooking apples right through to the advantages of local varieties which are likely to be hardier than some others – essential reading for anyone thinking of growing their own apples.

@thecountrycrib

Discovery apple tree covered in fruit
Discovery dessert apples are best eaten fresh from the tree in August
Image: @thecountrycrib

If you’re looking for an apple variety which fruits early, ‘Discovery’ makes a great choice, say Stephen and Brett at The Country Crib. These organic flower, fruit and veg growers hail from rural Somerset where they’re slowly renovating their thatched cottage and making their garden their own. Featuring a small orchard, you can see for yourself just how well ‘Discovery’ fruits – check out the guys’ Instagram showing their tree laden with this delicious dessert apple which can be eaten from August.

@ems_allotment_garden

Dessert apple 'Greensleeves' blossom
Dessert apple, ‘Greensleeves’ is self-pollinating meaning if you’ve only room for one tree, it will still fruit
Image: @ems_allotment_garden

For a dwarf apple you can grow in a container, look no further than ‘Greensleeves’. A relative of the ever popular ‘Golden Delicious’, this eater has the same yellow-green skin and crunchy flesh as its French cousin, but offers a slightly sharper tang. Emma @ems_allotment_garden describes hers as “a wonderful little tree that produces sweet and crisp, green dessert apples that turn a golden yellow when they ripen.” Greensleeves crops in September and the apples keep for a month.

Gardens, Weeds and Words

Bramley Apple closeup
The Bramley apple dates from 1856
Image: Gardens, Weeds, and Words

How about an apple that’s “less sweet and more acidic than dessert apples when picked from the tree, [and] the appley flavour is retained when cooked.” Can you guess what it is? The Bramley apple, says Andrew at Gardens, Weeds, and Words, is the nation’s favourite cooker, but if you’d like to grow your own, just bear in mind that you’ll need two other species growing close by for this classic apple to pollinate. As Andrew says, “what a great excuse to start your own mini-orchard, growing dessert and cooking apples together.

GrowVeg

Bramley apple blossom with honeybee
Bramley apples require cross-pollination from two other varieties
Image: Shutterstock

Some apples have the ability to self-fertilise while others require cross pollination, says Ben Vanheems at GrowVeg. In all cases though, “a small group of trees is always better than one lonely specimen, even if it is self-fertile.” If you’re wondering how to combine apple trees to give them the best chance of producing a fine harvest, this post is essential reading.

Stephen Hayes

Leopard moth damage to tree
Leopard moth damage to an apple tree trunk
Image: Stephen Hayes

Have you discovered a deep gash in a branch or trunk of your apple tree? It’s probably the work of a woodpecker boring into the wood in search of a leopard moth grub, says orchardist and YouTuber, Stephen Hayes. Join him as he conducts a walk through his trees, something he says you should always do in late spring or early summer to check for problems. His advice is to cut back to living wood and to burn all deadwood to kill diseases and pests.

Thompson and Morgan

Apple 'Red Falstaff' from Thompson & Morgan
Apple ‘Red Falstaff’ is resistant to apple scab
Image: Thompson & Morgan

Apple scab is a fungal infection which commonly affects apple and pear trees. While it doesn’t pose an immediate threat, it’s important to recognise and treat, because it does affect harvests and, over time, will weaken your trees. Here at T&M, you’ll find all the info you need to deal with apple scab fast. Damaged fruit and leaves contain spores, so don’t compost them at home. Take them to your local green waste recycling centre instead.

Garden Ninja

Pruning apple tree during wintertime
Prune your apple tree to make sure you have an open goblet shape and no crossing branches
Image: Garden Ninja: Lee Burkhill

Winter is the perfect time to prune apples, says Lee of Garden Ninja, in his excellent video guide to winter pruning apple trees. Pruning a young apple tree is essential, explains Lee, to prevent it from putting all its energy into producing new growth, rather than delicious apples to eat. And winter is the best time to get your secateurs out, because the tree is dormant and it’s easier to shape without leaves in the way. For clear, concise and practical tips, Lee’s video is a must-watch.

Huw Richards

Thinning apple trusses after June drop
Wait until after the June drop before thinning out your apple trusses
Image: Huw Richards

Thinning out your apple trusses stops you ending up with a big crop of undersized apples one year, and nothing the next, says organic gardener and YouTuber, Huw Richards. To demonstrate exactly what you need to do, this video featuring Huw’s dad, Steven Richards-Price, is a must for anyone keen to optimise their apple harvest. Start with small and misshapen fruit, Steven says, then take out any damaged or split apples. You’re looking for a maximum of two apples to a truss.

Naturally JB

Twist and pull method of apple harvesting
JB demonstrates the twist and pull method to test for ripeness
Image: Naturally JB

If you’re wondering how to tell whether your apples are ripe and ready to pick, a quick visit to YouTube channel, Naturally JB is well worth it. Here, JB runs you through the lift and twist test to make sure you get it just right. He says, you should also run the taste test, not least because an apple fresh off the tree is the tastiest you’ll ever try. His tip for apple harvesting is to be very careful to check all your apples for damage and treat them very gently as any bruising will lead to rot which spreads very quickly among stored apples.

Dave Goulson

Homebrewed cider from homegrown apple
Dave Goulson, biology professor, YouTuber, and cider maker tastes the raw ingredients
Image: Dave Goulson

There’s nothing like the sound of apple juice pouring from the press to make you think of autumn days and the opportunity to make cider from your leftover apples. That’s exactly what apple grower, organic gardener, bumblebee expert, and YouTuber Dave Goulson gets up to in this fun and informative video. Here he demonstrates his Vigo apple press in action and tastes a glass of the raw juice which he says is amazing. This post is perfect for anyone looking to convince themselves to construct or buy a press and have a go at cider making.

Grow With Kit

Growing apple trees from pips
These apple pips germinated in just a few days
Image: Grow With Kit

Growing apples from seed is great fun and your kids will love it, says Kit, the man behind YouTube channel, Grow With Kit. But when growing this way, there are no guarantees. You could get a nice dessert apple, or you might get a crab apple. If you still fancy having a go, apple pips are quick and easy to germinate – all you need is a container, some compost, a sandwich bag, and Kit’s excellent instructions.

@naams_garden

Apple 'Blenheim Orange' from Thompson & Morgan
Growing your own apple trees from cuttings takes a little practice, but is so worth it!
Image: Apple ‘Blenheim Orange’ from Thompson & Morgan

If you’re not in a hurry and don’t mind a few failed attempts, you can try growing your favourite apples by taking a cutting from an existing tree. That’s exactly what Instagrammer, Naam Kaur @naams_garden did. This avid allotmenteer from Birmingham says, “I’ve had [my cuttings] standing in water since the 4th Feb, potted them up with rooting powder on the 13th Feb (they hadn’t produced roots).” Those twigs soon showed signs of life – for next steps, check out Naam’s post.

A Clothes Horse

Crab apple jelly in jar
Crab apples are the base ingredient for a wonderfully tangy jelly.
Image: A Clothes Horse

If you do happen to inherit a crab apple tree or indeed, grow one from seed, you’ll need this post from Rebecca at A Clothes Horse. While a fashion and lifestyle blog might seem an unlikely place for expert apple content, this blogger is something of an apple enthusiast and posts an excellent recipe for a classic clove and crab apple jelly which comes courtesy of her mother-in-law. Do take a look for detailed instructions for making this lovely autumn treat, along with some lovely pics of the cook taking a break to play the harp.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our collection of some of the best expert apple content from across the web. If you’ve been inspired to grow more fruit trees or expand into an orchard, take a look at our fruit trees hub page for information and advice.

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