Apple trees are fruit trees that produce showy pink or white blossoms in the spring and apples in the autumn. Picking the right spot to plant an apple tree is crucial in keeping the tree healthy and productive. Planting an apple tree against a north-facing wall is a recipe for a stunted, weak tree.
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Apple trees, like all fruit trees, require direct sunlight for the majority of the day to grow to their full potential. An apple tree growing against a north-facing wall is going to receive the least amount of light in the garden or orchard; plants placed in south-facing areas receive the most. Planting an apple tree against a north-facing wall denies the tree access to the sunlight it needs and leads to a weak, small tree that may not produce apples.
Although apple trees do grow in temperature areas where the winters drop below freezing and there is snow and ice, planting apple trees against a north-facing wall places them at greater risk of damage from cold temperatures. As with access to direct sunlight, north-facing areas of the garden, especially if shaded by a wall, will have lower temperatures than the rest of the garden or orchard. An apple tree planted against a north-facing wall may suffer damage to its leaves and fruit from the low temperatures.
Apple trees will grow if planted near a wall, but it is important to keep the space needs to the apple tree in mind before planting it. An apple tree placed too close to a wall may experience overcrowding underground when it tries to push its roots too close to the wall. Apple trees' root systems cover about the same area underground as their crowns do above-ground. Plant an apple tree where it will have enough space for its roots.
The ideal planting location for an apple tree is in the southern area of a garden orchard where it receives direct sunlight throughout the day, in an area with nutrient-rich, well-drained soil and protection from excessively low temperatures or exposure to heavy winds. Higher elevations help protect the tree from wind and low temperatures. A north wall is unlikely to meet the ideal requirements for growing a healthy, productive and long-lived apple tree.
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