Alright, I pulled the trigger and ordered our apple trees. After some Sunday, all day, fretting I made some phone calls on Monday and came to a resolution by that afternoon. I was looking for semi-dwarf trees in three varieties (gala, fuji, and yellow delicious; three each). One option was to drive down to the Columbus area this week and pick up three of each at a garden center. Cost would have been about $50 apiece for trees in 5 gallon pots, figure about 5′-6′ tall trees. Online I found several sites, and two that peaked my interest because of their offering in terms of available sizes and “species”. I could have ordered trees that were up to 9′-10′ tall (before pruning for shipping), but those cost in the $175 range apiece. Being on a budget I found a good compromise at $50 each for trees in the 5′-7′ range that may even produce fruit this year if all goes well. Yay!
The trees I ordered are all bare root trees, which like the bushes we got last year, and the baby trees we got last year, there is no soil around the base of the tree, rather some sort of nutrient jelly material. This is fairly typical for fruit trees or ordering trees and bushes from out-of-state. Our trees are coming from down south, but I do not believe this will cause any issues – us being in Ohio – because all the trees are “rated” for growing in our planting zone (zone 6 I believe). The trees I could have gotten down in Columbus probably came from out-of-state anyway so no advantage there. I did find one reputable dealer in Pennsylvania but they had a ton of specialized varieties and grafting (size) options that just confused the heck out of me. I’ve learned a lot about apple trees in a short period but right now I just want to stick to the basics: semi-dwarf trees (15′ tall, 12′ wide) in a simple fuji, gala and yellow delicious variety. Actually there are several varieties of the first two, and the latter I found to more likely be called golden delicious, which I think is synonymous. The nursery I ordered from had simple nomenclature and after a phone call I was able to confirm their trees were semi-dwarf. One note though, here we are mid-March and nurseries are already sold out of many types of apple trees for 2013, so it’s important to order well in advance.
With my information at hand I decided I’d save time and just order the trees and have them delivered. In the three varieties, I ordered one each with the description “EZ pick” which means they’ll grow up to have lower branches allowing short people to pick apples from my trees. I live in a household with three short people so by doing this I have increase my odds of having help come fall harvest time. These trees were about $40 apiece and should be 5′-6′ tall, and supposedly fruit this year (though maybe with planting shock or depending on how well I take care of them, I wouldn’t be surprised if they took a year off).
In addition to my “EZ pick” trees I ordered two “heavy branched” regular semi-dwarf trees in each variety. These ran about $50 apiece and should measure 6′-7′ tall, though they might be pruned for shipping. The caliper on a tree like that is about 1″ I believe. On Sunday we went to our local nursery and I think I measured the trunk on the three nice yellow delicious trees to be 3/4″ or 1-1/4″ (I can’t remember). So my trees that I ordered should be decent size. We’ll have to wait and see. Fingers crossed they show up alright, I get them planted and they flower this spring. If that happens I’ll consider it a success even if we don’t get any apples this year. By the way I did get golden delicious trees and not the yellow delicious that were specified on our landscape plan. Generally speaking I think they are synonymous like I said, and the blossom at the same time, mid Spring so they should help pollinate our fuji and gala trees nicely.
Beyond that I’m busy working. We’ve got several things going on in the studio, and I even have my first consulting job that should pay me some money so that’s always a good thing, in light of the fact that we are broke. Here are some pics of the animal habitat boxes I saw at the garden center on Sunday. They’re all on my wish list.