Apple trees will grow in Yuma, but not all varieties are grown in Washington. Varieties that grow well in our warm climate need 300 chill hours or less to produce apples. These varieties include Anna, Dorsett Gold, and Ein Shemer. Both Anna and Ein Shemer were developed in Israel, where summers are hot.

Dorsett Gold requires a pollinator tree, such as Anna or Ein Shemer. Anna and Ein Shemer are self-pollinating but bear a heavier crop if a second tree is present.

‘Anna’ apple is an easy-grow tree that does well in Yuma. Thin clusters of fruit from 4-5 apples to 1-2 apples for large fruit. I have two Anna apple trees and harvest more apples than I can use each summer. The apples are ripe in July and get mealy if I don’t pick them up on time. With such a large crop, I use my instant pot to make apple butter and freeze it for use later in the year.

Planting an Apple Tree

January and February are the best months to plant fruit trees in Yuma. For a container tree, dig a hole 3-4 times the width of the tree’s container and as deep as the container. When placing the tree in the hole, make sure the bud union where the tree was grafted is well above ground level. Backfill the hole with dirt dug from the hole. If the soil is heavy clay, mix sand and compost with the soil before backfilling to improve drainage.

Build a low basin around the tree at least 2 feet away from the trunk to hold water when the tree is watered. As the tree’s canopy grows larger, move the basin outwards to match the outer edge of the tree’s canopy. Water deeply to encourage the tree’s roots to grow downward to support the tree’s canopy.

When your tree produces fruit, thin each cluster of 4-5 fruit to one or two apples. (Thin means to remove some of the apples) This will allow the apples to grow large instead of having a cluster of tiny apples.

Plant an apple tree or two next winter, and you’ll be picking your own apples in a couple of years.