Fruit Salad Trees | Growing Apple trees in Australian climates

June 27, 2019

Fruit Salad Trees | Growing Apple trees in Australian climates

Apples are one of the most popular fruit trees grown in the world. Here in Australia we are lucky enough to be able to grow ‘High Chill’ (cold) and ‘Low Chill’ (all) apple varieties. Here's a quick guide to growing different apple varieties in our Australian climates.

Which types of Apples will grow where I live?

Winter cold is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting an apple variety. If you are in a warmer climate then select low chill varieties as unless chilling requirements are met you will not get any fruit.

Look up your climate on our interactive climate map and then when you find your Apple Fruit Salad Tree, select the corresponding climate option (either All Climate or Cold Climate). Cold Climate combinations have longer chill hours.

Apple trees at 2 years

Apple tree growing tips

  • Flowering will start to appear around August for 'All climate' apple varieties. Don’t let your soil dry out now as your fruit size will suffer later on.
  • Do not place fertiliser in the hole around the root zone as it can burn the roots. The exception is a small, closed handful of blood and bone mixed into the loose soil in the bottom of the hole
  • The pH should be maintained between 6.0 & 7.0 – they don’t like alkaline soils.
  • Encourage bees and pollinating insects in your garden; create a herb or veggie garden nearby or just plant some varieties like marigolds, sunflowers or bottlebrush. Don’t use garden chemicals that will kill off the good insects in your garden – make sure any products are ‘bee safe’

Common growing queries

  • Apples – My tree is not going into dormancy - This generally occurs when there has been a sudden change in temperature during Autumn. If warm weather changes quickly to cold, it can kill green leaves before the abscission layer has formed and the leaves are ‘stuck’ on the tree. They will eventually become unstuck but this will take considerably more time. If the leaves do not naturally fall off when you run your hands gently down the branch you can either remove them with secateurs or leave them on the tree.
  • My potted apple tree isn’t waking up! In a pot, air temperature fluctuations have a more dramatic effect on soil temp compared with the ground. This means soil temp of pots can drop overnight (even though days may be warm) which affects the timing of emergence from dormancy. Dormancy of plants in pots can be very different from those in the ground. Even though you may have planted your apple in the ground, it may take a while to adjust to new soil temp regime and wake up.

  • My leaves are turning yellow/brown in summer – there are a few reasons; The most common may be stress caused by moisture issues – too much/not enough water. Try and water in the earlier hours of the day when it is cooler. Another reason may simply be caused by the pH levels of your soil – nutrient deficiencies of potassium or magnesium can cause the leaves to discolour. Potassium is critical to tree vigour and growth.

  • How do I protect my blossoms from frost in Spring – The tender blossoms need to be protected from spring frosts; we would recommend covering your multi-grafted apple tree with a frost cloth, or you can run a sprinkler over the trees throughout the night when frosts are expected - this can be a little tricky so try the frost cover concept first. The water will form a frozen protective layer on the flowers, meaning the blossom isn't subjected to damage from the short, harsh temperature drop of the frost. 

  • Do I need another tree to pollinate the blossoms? Simply the answer is no; you have chosen to grow a multi-grafted apple tree in your garden – it is set up to work with the other varieties on your tree!

Common Apple pest and diseases are powdery mildew, wooly aphids, codling moth, black spot – see our pest and disease table for more information.

Our fast fruiting trees can be grown in the ground, or in pots on your balcony. For more information on growing your tree in a pot, read our detailed guide here. For information on planting your Fruit Salad Tree read our step by step guide here, and for planting your tree in clay soil, watch Sue's informative video in our article on planting in clay soil here.

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