Site prep for transplanting apples

I grafted apples this spring and have them growing in my garden. I plan on transplanting them to the remote site early next year. I just augured the holes so that when I go to plant them I can just clean any sediment and drop them in. Is there any fertilizer that would be good to drop into the bottom of the hole. The neighboring area showed a low phosphorus number.

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Whereabouts are you and the remote site?

I might be inclined to add a little phosphorus to the hole. Phosphorus is relatively slow to move within the soil column and is necessary for good root development.

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What is the soil composition and incline? A hole may not be the best way to plant them. Recently there has been several discussions on this.

The traditional fertilizer to put in the hole is bonemeal, a source of calcium and phosphorus. This is the thing: nitrogen is extremely water soluble and easily makes it into the soil, which also makes it easily into bodies of water to screw everything up. Phosphorous, calcium, and potassium, do not behave that way, you can top fertilize all you want with vey little making it past a few inches of soil. Better yet, while plants can’t up regulate nitrogen absorption all that well, leading to burned up and dead plants, excess phosphorous and potassium is not as problematic; it can be in the soil without affecting the plants like excess nitrogen can.

Thanks for all the advice. I am in north east ohio (north canton) and the remote site is in south east (rutland) ohio. The soil is heavy clay and the site is level. Any suggestion on the amount of phosphorus/bonemeal per hole/tree?

Answer: not much. In the absence of a soil test showing a deficiency justifying it I’d stop at a tablespoon of treble super phosphate.

The only time I ever ran into a Phosphorus deficiency was that time I forgot and left the hose on the tree all night. It’s just really uncommon in North America.

I was able to correct it with Monopotassium phosphate spray and Treble Superphosphate.

It’s not like it’s hard to catch up if you fall behind.

The standard advice is to not amend the soil at all. Maybe screen the larger rocks from the backfill and give it a big berm.

Personally, I think that falls into a one-size fits all trap. The general point of being very conservative with soil amendments in the hole is very valid in my opinion.

Also. I know it’s been asked before but I’m thinking about waiting until dormancy to remove the grafting tape. I grafted at the beginning of May and just had one bud out. Is it bad to wait this long?

I’m pretty inexperienced about that, but I would be pretty surprised if waiting hurt anything.

Thanks kokopelli5A. I’ve read that the phosphorus deficiency (article in current Whitetail Institute magazine) is more common in the heavy clay soils of the foothills of the Appalachians. A spoonful seems like a good compromise.

To summarize a few recent discussions; on heavy clay it is best to build up rather than dig down. Basically break up the surface so you don’t have a hard pan, put the tree on the ground, surround with dirt up to the correct level. If the soil is really bad you can build up an even taller mound. Don’t forget to mulch heavily with green mulch, not bark.

Grafting tape just falls out on it’s own, no need to mess with it.

Not sure who’s right in the context of this thread, but I’m worried someone reading this might end up with the wrong impression.

Grafting tape made of Parafilm does not need to be removed. Buds can push through it, and over time it will decay away.

Grafting tape made of PVC (or vinyl, or poly) needs to be removed or cut. It would be good to hear peoples’ thoughts on when this should be done.