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Ideal in a natural garden, the wild apple tree offers us a beautiful spring bloom. Its fruits are acidic, they are readily left to the birds which benefit from them in winter, when food is scarce. Planting, pruning maintenance ...
Find out how to grow this small tree in your garden.
Malus sylvestris: a small country tree
The wild apple tree reaches between 5m and 10m high. It is characterized by a brown bark, covering slightly crooked and thorny twigs. Its leaves are first covered with small hairs before becoming smooth and satiny. The foliage is medium green, oval and ribbed. Malus sylvestris is adorned with white or pink flowers in May. Small apples 3-4cm in diameter take over from September-October.
Where to place it in the garden?
The wild apple tree finds its place in any exterior, thanks to its small size. Thus, he even composes free hedges with large shrubs. You can also plant it in a grove or in isolation. It goes well with rowan and lilac. In any case, it gives a natural and bucolic style to the garden.
An edible wild apple tree?
Apples have a harsh and sour flavor, which has earned this tree the nickname "Bitter Apple". When the fruits are not too bitter, some make jellies.
However, it is a tree that will be cultivated instead for other reasons. These small, cherry-sized fruits stay in place much of the winter. Thus, they constitute a food reserve for the birds.
Malus sylvestris is also honey and has a long flowering time! It is an ideal tree for a garden in favor of biodiversity.
How to cultivate the wild apple tree?
Where and when to plant the wild apple tree?
Malus sylvestris appreciates deep, rich and fresh soil. It is not very demanding on the nature of the soil and is satisfied with ordinary soil as long as it is drained. A light exposure will guarantee a beautiful development, to this tree which has a slow growth. So, choose a location in the sun or in partial shade. Be sure to keep a distance of 2.5m around the tree, so that it has room to develop properly. Planting takes place in spring or autumn, excluding periods of frost.
Place the root ball in a basin of water to hydrate it well before putting it in the ground. Meanwhile, dig a hole twice the volume of the root ball. Add two shovelfuls of compost to your soil, apple trees like fertile substrates. If your soil is heavy, cut it with sand to make it more draining. Then place the root ball in the hole, reseal and tamp. Finally, water copiously and spread a layer of mulch at the base of the tree.
Each spring, add some compost to the apple tree. To do this, you just have to spread some at your foot. Rustic, it supports harsh winters without problems. This undergrowth tree cannot withstand drought, so remember to water it regularly after planting. Then only water in case of prolonged drought. Mulching will keep the soil cool. Why not take a little walk in the forest and collect some leaves for this purpose?
How to prune the wild apple tree?
Light pruning allows the apple tree to remain vigorous and stimulate its growth.
It takes place at the end of winter, before new leaves form. Remove dead branches, which cross or are too low. Also cut off the suckers, those small, thin branches that grow in the axils of secondary branches. Avoid removing healthy branches as this will affect the already slow growth of Malus sylvestris.