Planting work by gardeners is associated with spring. However, some crops are best planted in the fall. And not only for the purpose of unloading the "hot" season, but also taking into account the physiological characteristics of the plant. In the Volga region and Central Russia, the preferred time for planting apple and other seedlings is autumn. Here there is more time and better survival rate. The high winter hardiness of the apple tree (in comparison with the stone fruit) allows the seedling to perfectly tolerate the cold. But is this true for Siberia? What are the features of planting apple seedlings in Siberia in the fall, and what are the risks?
Features of the Siberian climate
Of course, the main distinguishing feature of Siberia is its harsh climate with low winter temperatures and early frosts. But there is one more feature - waterlogged soils, snowy winters and a close occurrence of groundwater. Of course, the latter factor does not allow one to be guided by the classical technique of planting an apple tree when laying a garden in Siberia. The first factor for a winter-hardy apple tree with the correct selection of varieties is not limiting.
All the pros and cons
To begin with, let's figure out whether it is possible, in general, to plant an apple tree in Siberia in the fall. Inexperienced gardeners may find spring more attractive in this regard. Planting in the spring has its drawbacks. Summer in Siberia is short, spring comes late and often protracted with recurrent cold weather, the soil freezes deeply and melts for a long time. As a result, early planting of a seedling becomes impossible, and in a short growing season, taking into account the long rooting period, the apple tree simply does not have time to prepare for the coming winter and will die. If even spring in Siberia is not ideal for planting, then why not consider autumn?
Many summer residents of Siberia, taught by bitter experience, will unanimously assert that planting an apple tree in the fall is doomed to failure. Yes, but only if this landing was carried out incorrectly and in a missed time.
Important! Do not delay planting the apple tree until October. The climate of Siberia will destroy the seedling.
An apple tree planted in late autumn will simply not have time to take root and give new roots. Even if it overwinters safely (suddenly the winter will be less severe and with less winds), in the spring such a tree without a powerful root system will quickly lose moisture, without having time to gain strength. And if the planting material purchased at the bazaar is also of low or dubious quality, then nothing good can be expected from such a planting. Hence the negative assessment of the autumn planting period, which allegedly leads to large falls of apple seedlings.
Gardeners confident in their experience boldly plant an apple tree in the fall and get beautiful fruit-bearing trees. What's the secret? Let's point out the main benefits of properly planting an apple tree in the fall:
- the seedlings have time to take root, the bark and buds ripen and the prepared trees go into winter;
- the root system that has had time to develop provides the crown with water and increases frost resistance;
- after winter, mature seedlings wake up early and begin growing earlier than those that will be planted in spring;
- due to the full growing season, young apple trees will safely prepare for the coming winter and are more likely to endure it, while seedlings of spring planting with an unfavorable summer risk not surviving their first winter.
As a result, we get enough arguments for the autumn planting of an apple tree. Only this must be done correctly. How to avoid the typical mistakes of summer residents and grow a strong and healthy apple tree?
What to consider
Planting fruit trees in Siberia has its own difficulties. The harsh and unpredictable climate requires deliberate action from gardeners. There are no sure and effective ways. It is necessary to act according to the prevailing weather conditions. But there are rules that must be followed in order for the planting in the fall to be successful.
Here are the golden rules for planting an apple tree in autumn in Siberia:
- optimal planting dates from late August to mid-September;
- seedlings should have a closed root system or a good earthen ball;
- leaves should not be sniffed before planting, they are important for transpiration and photosynthesis, let the seedling complete the growing season and discard the foliage;
- do not buy seedlings with peeled leaves, since numerous wounds in the place where the petioles grow strongly weaken the plant (conscientious gardeners sell seedlings with petioles, but uncut leaves, otherwise the seedlings cannot be transported over long distances);
- before planting, you need to cut the crown almost twice for two reasons: damaged roots (and this is inevitable) simply will not be able to "stretch" the seedling in the spring, besides, when growing fruit trees in Siberia, bush or dwarf crown formation is practiced, and this procedure will already lay a good foundation for the correct formation of the trunk;
- buy only those varieties that are allowed in the region, and always on the local rootstock (Siberian apple, purple ranetka and dwarf forms of Siberian apple);
- choose a windless cloudy day for planting, while a place for a seedling can be prepared in advance.
These are perhaps the most important recommendations adapted for Siberia. But their observance is not enough for good survival of the apple tree. You also need to know the intricacies of planting, taking into account the climate and soil.
Description of landing technique
Most of the well-known textbooks on gardening are written in relation to the Central zone and the South of Russia. This is not surprising, because industrial fruit-bearing orchards and nurseries are concentrated in these regions. But is it possible to apply this experience to the Siberian region? Most probably not. And the climate is different, and the soil is different.
We will not dwell on the classic technique of planting an apple tree with a device for deep irrigation holes, but consider the advice of experienced and well-known Siberian gardeners. Their practice will give more valuable advice on how to properly plant an apple tree in the fall in the harsh climate of Siberia.
The main difference between the Siberian apple planting technique and the classical one is planting in small mounds, and not in holes. Why are holes so bad? Melt water accumulates in them, which leads to damping, and return frosts threaten to rupture the root collar. But making high ridges is also an overkill. This will lead to the freezing of the young root system of the apple tree. The mounds should be about 35 cm. This will be enough for the outflow of excess moisture. In the area of the root collar there should be a small hole in order to provide free access of fresh air; it cannot be covered with earth. At the same time, the landing pit is being prepared, but not so deep.
Advice! Before digging an apple tree seedling (if you buy from a nursery), mark the root collar with a marker on the south side, so that when planting in your area, you will keep the orientation to the cardinal points.
The next important point of planting is fertilization. It is absurd to give specific recommendations in numbers. It all depends on the type of soil, level of fertility, structure. By introducing overestimated doses of mineral fertilizers, the root system of the apple tree can be ruined, and the addition of organic matter will lead to a decrease in growth activity. Why move deep and wide when all the nutrients are there?
It is difficult for summer residents to make a chemical analysis of the soil for an accurate calculation of fertilizer rates. If the soil on the site is sufficiently structured and nutritious for other crops, when planting an apple tree, you can do without fertilizers at all. Only compost or rotted humus mulch will remain mandatory. Such a blanket will serve as a young seedling and nutrition, and additional protection from the cold.
Do you need drainage? In Siberia, groundwater passes very close, and the drainage layer does not stop them, there will be flooding in any case. Consequently, drainage will not be able to save from flooding by melt water. However, it will interfere with the normal growth of the roots.
Advice! Give preference to annual seedlings with a compact root system - they get sick less after transplanting, gain strength faster and are easier to form.
During soil preparation, a stake is driven in at the planting site, to which a young seedling will be tied.
The soil in the root zone is moistened and gradually compacted, monitoring the level of the root collar and preventing it from deepening. Gradually, a dense, gentle mound is formed around the trunk. The mulching layer should not come into contact with the stem.
If the weather is sunny, then you need to take care of the shading of the apple tree for the survival period to prevent wilting.
When laying a garden, you need to take into account the apple planting scheme. For vigorous seedlings, they adhere to the 3x4 scheme, and for an apple tree on a dwarf rootstock, 2x3 is enough.
In Siberia, you can also use the classic apple planting scheme if your site is on a hill. Moreover, in winter, with the onset of the first frost, the trunk circle must be covered with a thick layer of mulch so that a funnel for water does not remain.
Apple varieties for Siberia
Long-term selection work not only made it possible to grow apple trees in Siberia, but also gave gardeners large-fruited varieties that are not inferior to European ones. A competent approach to choosing a variety is the key to a good harvest.
Warning! Do not listen to the claims of sellers about the high frost resistance of their apple varieties, but trust official sources (data from local nurseries, scientific reports and the State Register).
You can watch the following useful video about choosing apple varieties for Siberia:
All Siberian apple varieties can be divided into 3 groups: ranetki (record winter hardiness, small fruits suitable for processing), semi-cultivated (the golden mean in winter hardiness and taste of fruits), large-fruited (more valuable, but also more capricious).
Representatives of the 1st group - Ranetka Ermolaeva, Gornoaltayskoye and Dolgo. From the 2nd group, Bayana, Souvenir of Altai, Altai Bagryanoye, Zavetnoye are popular. Varieties of the 3rd group are grown far from everywhere. Melba, North Sinap, Welsey, White filling have proven themselves well. They have different ripening periods, fruits are more often used for fresh consumption and for storage.
In Siberia, apple trees can be planted both in autumn and spring. Which period will be better depends on the weather conditions of the year and the chosen planting technique.