top of page


We recommend planting your trees as soon as possible after receipt.

Young apple trees are quite hardy, and will withstand freezing temperatures after planting. 

If you are unable to plant your trees within 24 hours after receipt, we recommend "heeling" them in.

This entails unpacking your trees and temporarily planting them together in one big hole in the ground or raised bed until the tree's permanent location is ready for planting.



You will greatly increase your chances for apple success by adhering to the following when planting:

1) Avoid planting apple trees in ground prone to standing water. Apple tree roots need oxygen to survive, and standing water eliminates oxygen from the soil.

2) Dig a hole larger than the tree's root system. Saplings establish best when their roots don't have to struggle through compacted soil to reach their initial supply of water and nutrients.  Our orchard trees were planted into a 3'x3' square hole dug with a backhoe. 

3) Plant your tree so that the graft union (see below) is 2-4" above the ground. If the graft union is buried, then the scion variety will root, which may lead to delayed fruiting and/or change in vigor. 

4) Water your tree immediately after planting and then weekly throughout the year. Orchard guru Michael Phillips recommended a 5-gallon bucket of water per tree at planting time, and then 5-gallons per week per tree until fall rains began. 

5) Limit grass and weed competition around your tree. We try to keep a 3'x3' weed-free square around our trees the first year. We let orchard vegetation fill in during the 2nd year, though we still remove any plants within 6" of the main trunk in order to promote air circulation. 

6) Protect your tree from hungry animals! Deer love to "prune" apple trees. Voles and rabbits will girdle and kill young trees. We highly recommend protecting your apple tree with a tree guard at least 18" tall, or significantly taller in areas with winter snowpack. We cut up rolls of 1/2" hardware cloth into rectangles and then secure them around our trees with rabbit cage j-clips.




How far apart you space your M111 apple trees depends on your equipment needs and pruning desires.

In The New Cider Maker's Handbook, Poverty Lane Orchard's Steve Wood relays that he spaces his M111 trees 10' apart, with his rows spaced 20' apart. This seems about right for those with ample space and want to maneuver machinery through their aisles. 

At Pipsqueak Orchard we planted our M111 trees 8' apart, with our rows 15' apart.   We maintain our trees using 'tall-spindle' criteria - keeping one central leader and pruning all over-vigorous limbs that are greater than 2/3 the diameter of the main trunk. 

When limited space, not tractor access, is a concern, M111 trees can be spaced as close as 8' apart in any direction. This spacing would require attentive pruning to make sure the trees don't shade each other in future years. 

Tree spacing is a personal decision, and we recommend doing as much research possible prior to digging. 

bottom of page