How to Grow Hedge Apple Trees

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Hedge apple trees (Maclura pomifera), also called Osage orange, are native to the southwestern United States, but have been used as a hedgerow so extensively throughout the Midwest that they are now considered naturalized to the region. This tree grows from 20 to 50 feet tall and can withstand almost any growing conditions. The fruit produced by the hedge apple tree is not a true apple, but a large, wrinkled yellow fruit that resembles an orange.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Container
  • Sand
  • Potting soil
  • Straw
  • Garden tiller

Place a hedge apple into a bucket filled with water. Leave the fruit there until it begins to feel mushy. Open the fruit and remove the desired number of seeds.

Drop the seeds into a container of water and place it in a warm location. Allow the seeds to remain submerged for six to eight days. Change the water every other day to keep the water from souring.

Drain the water away and replace it with equal parts potting soil and sand. Allow the seeds to remain in the mixture and stir once each day until they begin to sprout.

Plant the sprouted seeds in an area of the yard or garden that receives full sun and has rich, slightly sandy soil. Sow them 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep, and leave 1 inch of space between each seed. Water until the soil is moist and cover them with a light layer of straw.

Water the seedlings only when the soil feels very dry. Pull the weeds from around the young plants regularly.

Till the soil in the permanent planting location. Remove any large rocks or soil clumps left behind.

Move the hedge apple seedlings to the new location after they've developed three to four leaves. Plant the seedlings at the same level at which they were previously growing. Water until the soil feels very moist.

Keep the soil around the plants lightly moistened until they are well-established. Pull weeds and grass from around the hedge apple trees as necessary to prevent competition for water and nutrients.

Tips & Warnings

  • Leave 8 inches of space between each seedling when transplanting them to a permanent growing location.
  • The hedge apple tree is covered in large thorns; take this into account when selecting a planting site.
  • Hedge apple trees spread quickly and can overtake large areas if left unchecked.

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