Apples & pears
Apples and pears are very popular backyard fruit trees. They are grouped together as ‘pome’ fruit and are part of the rose family (Rosaceae). Also classified as pomes are quince, nashi and medlar.
Plant potted apples or pears at any time (but avoid extremely hot or cold conditions). In winter plants are widely available as bare-rooted plants. Apples in particular, along with some pear varieties, require crosspollination. In areas where apples and pears are common backyard trees, it may not be necessary to grow a pollinator but for best fruiting, plant the recommended pollinator with your selected variety. Crabapples may also act as a pollinator. Apples and pears are bee pollinated.
For small gardens or for containers, select dwarf grafted trees such as an apple variety like Dwarf Pink Lady™ cv.’Cripp’s Pink’
There are also multi-grafts available with two varieties grafted on one rootstock often including a pollinating variety. Apples and pears can also be grown as espaliers in small spaces.
At planting time and to reduce transplant stress and aid plant establishment, water with Seasol or Seasol GOLD. Before planting improve soil by digging in well-rotted manure or compost or for a no dig option use Seasol Liquid Compost.
As there are many varieties of both apples and pears, choose your favourite fruit variety (for example ‘Pink Lady’ or ‘Granny Smith’ apple). If there’s room in the garden for more than one, choose varieties that ripen at different times to extend the harvest season.
TIP: If you are unsure of the variety of apple or pear that would suit your garden, check out your hardware or garden centre, who will have expert knowledge of the varieties that will suit your location
Aspect Apples and pears need a bright, sunny location with shelter from strong winds. Ideally, they should have sun from the morning onwards but can tolerate a little afternoon shade especially in summer.
Soil Apples and pears grow in a wide range of soils but grow best with good drainage in deep, fertile soils.
Climate Although most apples and pears are cold climate plants that require a period of winter chill to flower and fruit, there are low-chill varieties to grow in warm coastal and subtropical zones.