A columnar apple is an upright apple tree that is especially suitable for gardeners with little space, but who want to grow their own fruit. Read here how to plant it, where it grows best and how to care for it.
For hobby gardeners who have limited garden space or even only a balcony or terrace, a columnar apple tree is an excellent choice. If you want to grow your own fruit in a small space, then this space-saving apple tree variety is worth a try. Columnar apple trees grow slenderly upward, you rarely have to prune them, and they bear a lot of fruit if you take good care of them.
Planting a columnar apple: location, timing and procedure
If you want to plant a columnar apple tree in your garden or keep it on your patio or balcony, the new location must meet a few conditions. Columnar apples prefer sunny to maximum partial shade locations. If they receive too little light, in the worst case, they may fail to bloom and fruit. As for the soil, you can’t go wrong with loose, nutrient-rich and slightly acidic to neutral soil.
It is best to plant it in early spring after the last frost, i.e. in March or April. Proceed as follows:
- Dig a sufficiently large planting hole. This should be about twice as large as the root ball of the plant.
- Then enrich the excavated soil with some compost or horn shavings. If the soil is very compacted, you should also mix in a generous amount of sand.
- Then place the tree and root ball in the hole and fill it. Lightly tread down the tree with your feet. You can also provide a support stake for the tree so that it does not topple over in the beginning.
- Finally, water the columnar apple tree vigorously.
Tip: If you place the apple tree in a container, make sure it is large enough for the roots. Apple trees are shallow rooted and spread their roots rather wide than deep. You can also place a drainage layer of pebbles or expanded clay at the bottom of the pot.
Columnar apple: care and pruning
If you want a rich harvest, you need to properly care for your columnar apple tree. It does not demand too much from you:
- Always keep the soil around the tree moist, both in the container and outdoors. However, you should avoid waterlogging at all costs. Especially in the beginning, the columnar apples need enough water to root well.
- You can fertilize either with liquid fertilizer, which you add to the water, or with compost or horn shavings. You should fertilize especially during the flowering and ripening period of the plant, i.e. between April/May and August/September.
- Because columnar apple trees naturally grow very slender, pruning is very simple. Simply cut back all side shoots that grow longer than 20 centimeters to about five to 15 centimeters. It’s best to do this in late February or mid-summer.
- Protect the potted apple from heavy rain, wind, hail and frost. In winter, you can place the pot on a high base so that it does not come into direct contact with the cold ground. You can wrap coconut fiber or jute mats around the trunk.