What should I do with these potted apple grafts?

4 out of the 5 apple grafts I made this spring have grown nicely over the summer. My only fail was Goldrush which was my most highly regarded. Anyway, below are the potted grafts. I’m in 6A and I can tell fall has arrived. I’m not really sure what to do with these at this point. Should I plant them in the ground now and protect them with hardware cloth cages or should I wait another month until after they drop their leaves and plant them in-ground at that time? Or should I over - winter them in my unheated garage and plant them in the spring?

The small tree in the foreground is Williams Pride and really needs to be pruned to encourage upward growth. But I wanted to leave as many leaves on to help with photosynthesis.

Speed, I got the same problem, thanks for asking the question

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Speedster and Chikn,

Actually Fall is a great time to plant them. Mild weather with lots of moisture will help them rooted well. The eventual cool weather and cold will tell them to go into dormacy. No fertilizer what so ever at this point in time.

Tony

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I’ve noticed my potted trees leaves change colors faster then the ones in the ground… maybe the containers soil cools overnight tricking them or something (vs the warm ground soil)… I have a Satsuma graft on a potted tree…the leaves have already turned and fallen off…Apricots seem to keep growing all fall…i see new growth right now.

I’d plant them if that is your plan. I have a bunch of trees in pots i need to deal with… i plan on dropping as many as i can into the soil .

Sept has been as warm or warmer then August up here.

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Tony is right. Zone 6 or higher-- fall is a great time to plant apple trees. Get 'em in the ground now!

(Zone 5 or less— might be better to wait until spring to plant).

At the tail end of this video, Tim Hensley explains the benefits of planting apples in the fall:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IlYgwMR9Gno

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Thanks all and great video Matt. I’ll definitely plant them this fall. But I still have the question, do I plant them now in their current state with potted soil intact? Or should I wait a month until they go dormant, pull them out of their pots and shake the soil off the roots and plant them bare root?

Just loosen the rootball so the roots aren’t circling and you’ll be fine. No need to bareroot!

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On that Williams Pride with forked leader, one option is to tie the two top branches together now, forcing one to be vertical and calling that one the future permanent leader and calling the other branch temporary. When dormant you can then top the temporary branch a bit to throw dominance to the vertical leader and maybe next year cut off the temporary branch completely after the leader has become vertical on its own.

Hope this makes sense.

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Good call! I just tied it up based on your suggestion. Thanks.