Our climate is ideal for growing apple trees. They like well drained, fertile soil and grow inland at altitudes up to about 800-900 feet (250-300 metres+). The trees will grow at much higher altitudes, but the pollinators in the UK struggle at 900-1000 feet. Apple orchards are best planted where bees don't have to fight the wind. Apple trees reach full size at between 8-10 years old and then produce their best crops for another 60 years. The yield you get in that time per tree varies, but 10,000 - 15,000 apples is a reasonable figure. If you buy a half standard (the biggest apple tree we sell), that is less than 0.25p for every fresh, organic apple grown in your garden. As a general rule, the earlier apples ripen, the less well they keep; early apples have thinner skins than later ripening varieties and so dry out more rapidly.
Apples are versatile. If you store apples carefully and preserve the fruit you don't eat as chutney, jam or apple butter, you can have tasty homemade apple produce all the year round. Some of the most delicious apples don't travel or store well which is why they are never seen in shops and supermarkets. All the more reason to grow them yourself. There is no clear distinction between cooking, eating and cider apples. They are all varieties of Malus domestica and very close relations of one another. Cookers apples are usually large and sharp although some sweeten as they ripen and can be eaten late in the year. Eating or dessert apples are smaller with more sugar. Cider apples are the smallest members of the family of Malus domestica. They are (usually) inedible. Good bitter or bittersharp cider demands apples with high tannin levels and most cider apple tree varieties deliver this to a level that will defeat even the toughest palate.
Apart from location the main concern when planting apple trees is their ultimate shape. They are amenable to being trained. In the open you may prefer bushes or half standards, but when planting apple trees against a wall or fence, think of growing them as cordons or espaliers. You might like to browse our range of over 130 apple trees here