Apple Trees Successfully Grown In Montana
Start With Montana-grown Apple Trees
by Damien Andrews
Needless to say, but I will anyway, it gets really cold in Montana during the winter! Did you know that the state of Montana often records snow precipitation every single month of the year? When I was ready to purchase my first fruit trees for our farm in Montana, I had no idea what kind of apple tree could endure the long months of freezing temperatures and still produce edible fruit. I needed to do my research before smacking down several hundreds of dollars on fruit trees, only to see them die off after transplanting.
A call to my local greenhouse revealed some much needed information about Montana grown apple trees. The arborist kindly informed me that the best fruit trees to buy are ones that are grown in your own state. In other words, you want the tree to be grown in, and accustomed to, the hardiness zone in which it will be transplanted in.
Another tip my local arborist gave me was how to properly transplant apple trees grown in Montana. And the final piece of information she gave me was to buy and plant at least two different species of apple trees. Apple tree blossoms must be fertilized with the pollen of a different variety in order to achieve good fruit set, or pollination (except for the Rome Beauty and Newtown varieties). All of these suggestions were going to help me make the most of my fruit tree investment.
Here is a great website where you can find out what plant hardiness zone you live in by typing in your zip code and hitting enter. http://www.arborday.org/treeinfo/zonelookup.cfm. Most of Montana is zone 4. After I found this out, I began to search for fruit trees that can be successfully grown in my zone. I quickly found out there are dozens of fruit trees to pick from! But I wanted to focus on apple trees. We try to only grow food that we can easily store, can or freeze for later use. And apples fall nicely into that category.
My first selection was a Montana grown Malus apple tree variety called Haralred, which is one of the most commonly planted fruit trees in the state. It comes in both a standard size fruit tree and a dwarf variety. The fruit that it bears is sweet and bright red. The Haralred apple tree will flower in late spring and then the fruit will ripen in the fall. This variety of apple tree is perfect for eating, and canning. I bought a two year-old tree in a 7 gallon squat container for about $175.00.
My second fruit tree selection was a Montana grown Malus apple tree variety called Goodland. This variety of apple tree ripens mid to late August, which is great for Montana conditions. The fruit is juicy and bright red. This variety of apple tree is perfect for eating. It is a hardy, heavy bearing fruit tree. I bought a three year-old tree in a 7 gallon squat container for about $200.00.
This is my first winter with these apple trees in my ground. Several close inspections this winter have shown that they are both wintering-over just fine. When spring arrives I will dig in some organic fertilizer, before the new growth starts to appear. Both apple trees were properly staked after transplanting, then given a thick straw mulch around their perimeter extending about 4 feet out. I can't wait to walk out and pick my own Montana grown apples in about two years or so. Well worth the time and effort, I'd say!
Here is a wholesale nursery in Montana that grows a variety of apple trees. http://www.glaciernursery.com/ . If you're local Montana nursery doesn't have apple trees that are grown in the state, ask them to call Glacier Nursery.