Growing Apple Trees in Florida
If you are considering growing apples or are an apple lover that might like to grow a tree, the good news is you can still do so in north or central Florida with some proper selection. There are only a few varieties of Apple trees that grow well, as the amount of “chill hours” needed to ripen most apple trees then is between 500-1000 hours at temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees. Two such Apple varieties that fit the bill are the Anna and Dorsett Apple, both will get sufficient chill hours even in the north or central Florida.
The first stage involved finding and preparing a good spot for the trees to grow; good sun, proper soil preparation, and a water source. I had a great spot picked out that would give them all the sun they need and room to grow. Another good thing is I already had run piping to water my citrus trees so tapping in was easy. The introduction of low to moderate chill apple trees in the market that allows the trees to bear fruit in Florida is a great advantage since most people don’t associate apples with Florida. As popularity grows so does the number of farms raising apple trees, and so does the quality of the trees as well. I stand as a beneficiary of the production of hardy trees that enable the trees to fruit up without the long chill requirements. The varieties I chose, Anna and Dorsett both require less than 300 hours of chill time compared to 900 hours for Mcintosh apples.
The trees I bought are a couple of years old and complement each other well. They are a good cross-pollination pair to use. Apple lovers in Florida have the period from June till the end of July to reap the rewards of their harvest. Given that my trees are well along, I should be able to get some apples this year which is going to be very exciting. My children are avid apple eaters and go through pounds a week, so any I get will be quickly devoured. I don’t expect more than 50 pounds or so from our young trees, which should be about 150 apples. When fully mature that number should grow to around 1200 apples from the two trees.
Most apple trees do not produce fruit for the first five years and then takes another ten before it is fully mature. Once you have your tree established the work doesn’t stop there, you will need to prune, add fertilizer every year, and the main part which is to monitor for any number of diseases or insects. Which will improve the performance and help to keep their health. As a side, apple trees are very beautiful to have. If you are planning on planting a tree, why not choose one that has aesthetic and food value? When compared to a vegetable garden fruit trees take less work produce for a very long time, but cost way more and take longer to get back benefits. That should be taken into consideration when deciding why you are planting.
It will be almost two decades before most fruit trees start producing at their peak. Even though you can harvest some fruits from the tree annually, its full production won’t be for many years.