How to Care for Gala Apple Trees. Gala apples, which originated in New Zealand, came to America in 1965 and are now one of America's top-ranking apples. Growing Gala apple trees will give you orchard-fresh fruit right from the tree. Here's how to care for the trees.
Choosing and Planting Gala Apple Trees
Choose 1 to 2-year-old Gala apple trees. If you have little experience in training new trees, you might opt for a more expensive 2-year-old-tree which has most of the training done. Gala apple trees are partial self-pollinators. Buying 2 or more trees will increase your yield.
Select a planting location. Keep in mind that Gala Apples prefer full sun and well-drained soil, as well as plenty of room. Expect your Gala apple tree to spread 22 feet in diameter. Gala apples are hardy to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, but will not tolerate temperatures over 100 degrees for long.
Till compost into the planting area to about an 18-inch depth. Space your trees about 25 feet apart, water heavily and mulch 2 feet around to keep the roots moist. Water every other day for the first few days and during dry spells.
Pruning, Feeding and Harvesting Gala Apple Trees
Feed Gala apple trees in the winter or early spring the following year after planting. Spread the fertilizer under the spread of the branches and be careful not to overfeed.
Thin the fruit clusters to 2 per cluster. Gala apples are especially vigorous and need to be thinned heavily to produce properly sized and shaped fruit.
Apply some sort of insect control. You'll find apple tree insect solutions at Gardensalive.com. Gala apples are susceptible to fire blight, so watch for dead and dying shoots in the spring, particularly flowering spurs. Remove and destroy the infected material and apply an anti-bacterial spray.
Harvest your gala apples about 130 days after the emergence of their light pink blossoms. One tree may produce between 6 and 12 bushels of apples, and they will keep well for about 2 months.
Prune your Gala Apple tree. The 1-year-old Gala needs more training, so prune it in winter, which will encourage more structural growth. After the first few years, prune during the spring to encourage fruit production. (See the related eHow article titled "How to Prune an Apple Tree" for more general directions.)