The commercial cultivation of apples is a very old business. The apple is a very common fruit found throughout the world. It is a very nutritious and very popular fruit.
Apples are available in all parts of the world. Apple trees are grown throughout the world and are the most widely cultivated species of the genus Malus.
The apple tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor (Malus sieversii) is still found. And apples were grown for millennia in Asia and Europe and were brought to North America by European settlers.
The apple is a very important fruit in many countries. And it has religious and mythological significance in many cultures, including Scandinavian, Greek, and European Christian traditions
Apple trees are usually large when grown from seed. But today, commercial apple growers have used rootstock grafting (which controls the size of the resulting tree) to propagate apple varieties.
Today there are many varieties/cultivars of apples available all over the world. Each of these varieties has its characteristics. Different varieties are bred for different tastes and different purposes, such as cooking, making cider, or eating raw.
Read also: How to Start Cucumber Farming
How to start an Apple farming business
Apple trees are very strong and hardy, usually require less maintenance, and plant maintenance is very simple and easy. You can practically learn from an experienced farmer in your area before starting this business commercially.
You can take good care of your plants even if you are a beginner. Here we are trying to describe more information on how to start and operate a commercial apple growing business, from planting, grooming to harvesting and marketing.
You have to choose a very good place to start your apple-growing business. Apple trees grow well in clay soils rich in organic matter.
A good drainage system is necessary because apple trees do not tolerate waterlogging well. The soil pH range should be between 5.5% and 6.5%.
However, you can use the land you have if it meets all the requirements listed above.
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Prepare the soil
When growing apple trees, it is very important to properly prepare the soil before planting. Make a plow, cross the plow and then level the ground.
And then prepare the soil so that no standing water is produced in the field. Because apple trees do not tolerate waterlogging.
You should add as much organic matter as possible when preparing the soil. Adding organic matter will help the plants grow well and produce more.
Climatic requirements for growing apples
Apple trees can be grown in suitable climatic conditions. These plants can be grown at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,700 meters above sea level. [two]
Temperatures during the apple growing season should be around 21 ° C and 24 ° C. These trees require 100 to 125 cm of annual rainfall (evenly distributed throughout the year).
Too much rain and mist during fruit ripening will result in poor quality fruit with abnormal fruit color development and fungal spots on the fruit surface. Apple cultivation is not suitable where high wind speeds are expected.
varieties of Apples
There are currently many varieties/cultivars to choose from. You can choose any variety that will grow well in your area. Consult some existing farmers for the best recommendations.
Common and popular varieties: Alice, Ambrosia, Ananasrenette, Arkansas Black, Aroma, Belle de Boskoop, Bramley, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Cox Pomona, Cripps Pink, Discovery, Egremont Russet, Fuji, Gala, BlBolsterGolden Delicious, Goldrenette, Granny Smith …, Honeycrisp, James Grieve, Jonagold, Lobo, Mclntosh, Pacific Rose, Red Delicious, Champion, Stark Delicious, SugarBee, Summer, Tellissaare, Transparent Yellow, etc.
The industrial propagation of the apple tree is carried out by the methods of sprouting and grafting of the tongue. Buy the planting material needed to grow apples from registered nurseries.
Purchase of plants
Apple plants are readily available where they grow. You can easily buy it at any nursery near you.
Today, many nurseries are represented on the Internet. So, you can order plants online.
You can plant apple trees at any time. But it is recommended to plant the plants in January and February.
The average number of plants per hectare can range from 200 to 1250. Although the planting density depends on many factors.
Population density can vary depending on the plantation system. Implemented 4 different types of planting density. Such as low, medium, high, and ultra-high density.
Typically less than 300 plants per hectare for the low-density type, 300-500 plants at moderate density, 500-1300 plants per hectare for high density, and over 1300 plants per hectare for the high-density type.
Caring for Apples
Apple plants are very strong and hardy. They usually succeed in less loving and different management. However, taking more care will help your plants grow well and produce more. Here we are trying to describe in more detail the care process in the commercial apple growing business.
Providing plants with the right fertilizers is essential for good plant growth. Add suitable organic fertilizers (such as garden manure) along with other chemical fertilizers.
The ratio of K, P, and N, which is used in a garden with optimal fertility, is 70:35:70 grams per year of tree age. Use correct fertilization when boron, zinc, manganese, and calcium are deficient.
Watering of Apples
The irrigation requirement for commercial apple cultivation is around 115 cm per year, which should be planned for 14-20 irrigations/irrigations.
Watering should be done at intervals of 6-10 days in the summer season and 3-4 weeks in the winter. And in the critical period (from April to August), after setting the fruits, at least 8 waterings are required.
Weeds consume nutrients from the soil and plants suffer. Therefore, timely and regular weeding is very important.
Sowing of catch crops
Mixing cultures is a great way to make extra money. It also helps to minimize weed problems. Green fertilizers such as beans and sunflowers can be grown in the early years of apple planting to improve soil texture and improve soil nutrients.
Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil. It will also help reduce weed growth. Organic materials can be used as mulch.
Training and pruning
Timely training and pruning are essential for good plant growth and good yields. Appletree seedlings are trained on the growth pattern and the strength of the patterns.
Standard apple trees are trained with a modified central guiding system to obtain adequate light. This improves the color of the fruit and also minimizes the effects of heavy snow and hail.
The spindle bushing system is best suited for planting high-density apples in a mid-hilly environment.
Plagues and diseases
As we said earlier, “apple trees are very strong and resistant.” And they are less prone to pests, diseases, and other problems.
The main pests in apple cultivation are eriosoma lanigerum, quadraspidiotus pernicious, thrips rhopalantennalis, pseudoulacaspis sp. etc.
And the main diseases found in apple cultivation are venturia, inequities, phytophthora cactus, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, sclerotium rolfsii, ulcers, diseases that cause extinction, etc. Carbendazim, copper oxychloride, mancozeb, and other fungicides can be used to fight disease.
Depending on the variety, apple trees begin to bear fruit from the eighth year. Apple’s performance continues to grow from year 8 to year 17, and after that, production remains unchanged for up to 30 years.
The lifespan of apple trees can be increased up to 40 years, depending on weather conditions. The fruit is usually harvested before it is fully ripe.
After harvesting apples, there are many tasks/activities to complete. Post-harvest tasks include precooling, size and weight sorting, storage, packaging, and transportation. Perform all of these steps very carefully.
It is impossible to name the exact amount. Because the exact amount depends on many factors. On average, you can expect between 10 and 12 tons per hectare.
Selling apples is very easy and simple. Apples are in great demand and appreciated all over the world. You can easily sell your products in the local market.
Here are the general steps and ways to start and run a successful apple growing business. Hope this guide helped you! Good luck!