Apple blossoms are an attractive feature of an apple tree in the front yard, even if you do not plan to harvest the fruit.

How to Grow an Apple Tree in Your Front Yard

by Veronica Smith-Jennings

An apple tree, laden with pink blossoms in the front yard, is as appealing for its beauty as for the learning experience it can provide for the family. With careful attention, an apple tree (Malus) in the front yard enhances your landscape while, with careful attention, producing fruit. Grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8, apples are not the easiest fruit to grow. Care of the tree will make it at least an attractive specimen in the front of your house, and possibly a source of a healthy snack. (Ref. 2, 4)

Consider the pollination needs of your apple trees. Trees need to be planted close to an apple tree of a different variety to bear high-quality fruit. When growing an apple tree in your front yard, consider if you want it to bear fruit and how another tree would impact your landscape design. (Ref. 1)

Maintain the area around the tree so that your tree gets full sun to maximize its health and fruit yield. Other trees in the front yard may been to be trimmed to avoid shading the apple tree; if your house is shading the tree, the tree's health will suffer. (Ref. 1, 3)

Protect the apple tree's trunk from rodent damage with guards made of plastic or wire mesh. Put the guards 2 inches into the soil and make sure they are 18 to 20 inches tall. Depending on the landscape design in your front yard, these rodent guards may be an unattractive addition, but they will provide necessary year-round protection. (Ref. 5)

Maintain a 3- to 6-inch layer of wood chip mulch within 3 feet of the trunk. This conserves soil moisture, provides space so lawn mowers do not get close enough to damage the trunk and keeps weeds away so they don't compete for soil moisture and nutrients. Keep a 2-inch space between the trunk and the mulch so that insects and rodents cannot take shelter there. (Ref 3, 6)

Apply 10-10-10 fertilizer to the apple tree at the rate of 1 pound for the first year after planting, and an additional pound every year until year six. For older trees, use 4 cups of 33-0-0 when the tree is six years old, then use 6 cups when the tree is nine years old. Fertilize before new growth begins in the spring. Apply the fertilizer to the surface of the soil within the tree's drip line (the space under the outermost branches), but keep it from getting within 6 inches of the apple tree's trunk so that it doesn't burn the base. (Ref. 1, 3)

Spray the apple tree with a multipurpose fungicide and insecticide as well as horticultural oil (enough to coat the leaves) when the first sign of new growth appears. The multipurpose spray may include insecticides Methoxychlor and Malathion along with Captan to prevent disease. If you discover that you do not need both insecticide and fungicide, consider buying these sprays separately. Spray every two weeks throughout the summer. For an apple tree in the yard, these chemicals may interfere with spaces where children play or enter the house, so take care to spray during times when people will not be around. (Ref. 1, 7)

Items you will need

  • Rodent guard
  • Mulch
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • 33-0-0 fertilizer
  • Methoxycholor
  • Malathion
  • Captan
  • Horticultural oil

About the Author

Veronica Smith-Jennings is a former teacher who started freelance writing in 2003 and has been published in regional parenting magazines as well as on various websites. Her writing interests include home renovation and gardening, politics, education, sports and early childhood development. She has a Master of Arts in English education and a Bachelor of Arts in English.

Photo Credits

  • NA/ Images