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Transplanting Spy Apple Plants

Q: I have just obtained two Spy Apple plants. They are about three feet in height in the pots. Please advise me on transplanting.

Hardiness Zone: 7a


Damann from Brooklyn, New York

A: Damann,

Ideally, apple trees (all trees) should be transplanted in the early spring or late fall when they are in a dormant state in order to minimize transplant shock. As long as you take time to ensure the young trees get off to a good start, however, they can be planted now and will still do just fine.

To plant your Spy Apple trees, select a site with well-drained soil that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sun per day. For each tree, dig a saucershaped hole 2 to 3 times wider than the root ball, and at least 18 inches deep-or no deeper than you intend to plant the tree. Gently remove the tree from the container and shake off about half the soil from the roots and position it in the hole. If the tree's roots are pot bound, make vertical slices each quarter around the soil ball and score the bottom with an X. Continue to plant as normal. Backfill the hole if necessary to bring the tree up to the proper planting depth.


It's important not to plant your trees too deep. Plant them so that the graft union is 2 inches above the final soil line. Position the tree so that is straight and in the center of the hole. Backfill the hole with the soil that was removed. If it's necessary to add some compost, make it no more than 30% of the total fill.

As you fill in the hole, lightly tamp the soil around the roots or water the soil and let it settle briefly before continuing to fill it up with soil. The idea is to remove any air pockets around the roots. Apply 4 inches of woodchips to within 4 inches of the trunk. Young trees should be watered slowly and deeply (use a soaker hose for 1 hour) each week-adjusting for rain as necessary. Let trees settle in 1 year before adding any fertilizer.


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