I only have 2 trees at the moment and I just bought mine at a nursery. I think it's tough to keep deer away from them. Mine are fairly close to home which probably helps but after planting they did come and take some nibbles early in the season. I hung some fragrant bars of soap from the tree branches and this seemed to help (I read about that trick somewhere).
As for varities I don't think they are too picky. Something suited for your hardiness zone and produces well and your good to go. You will need a cross-polinator to get apples as you probably know so 2 different kinds is a good plan. Perhaps an early and late ripening variety so you've got apples available over a longer period. A buddy of mine has a fruit stand and picks up apples directly from the orchards ... he's going to start selling trees this year and is picking up some saplings from the growers, not a bad plan if they're nearby. I'm hoping to get a honeycrisp and empire from him this spring mainly cause I like eating them.
I read an article in a QDMA magazine that went to the length of creating an enclosed fence area for the trees (about 10 I think is what they planted) with a gate. Once the apples started to drop and trees were mature enough just open the gate and have them wait in line ... that would be the ultimate I think if money was no object!
Last spring I purchased 2 Haralson apple trees from Menards. I have been extremely happy wiith them so far. They already had apples on them this past year, about a dozen a piece and one of the apples was larger than a baseball. The trees are about 6ft. tall. I paid $25 a piece for them which I thought was a pretty good price. I also put cages around my trees and I watered them a few times over the summer when things got dry. Here are some pics of what I've got.
I would go with what has been said above.
Another thing I would recommend is to buy a tree as big as you can instead of buying them like a foot tall. I bought some from a nursery, some from big lots, and 2 from home depot (both died, wont buy from there again). The tree prices for me ranged from $15-$40.
I have a variety but I went with 3 cortland apple trees because they are well suited for the hardiness of my area and they are a great pollinater. They also produce alot of apples per tree. When you get looking into this you will find out that there are more apple trees than you could have imagined.
Like deerdown mentioned honeycrisp are delicous to eat, are hardy, good pollinater, but dont produce alot of apples per tree. An excellent eating apple but it is nothing I would get for deer. I have 2 in my little orchard as well. At first I just wanted trees that would produce many apples to get them into the area, then I added others that I plan to eat.
A guy who runs an orchard here always jokes about when people buy apple trees they want pies growing off it!
You can also look on the internet to find out about cross pollinaters and info on which trees do best in your area. Talking to someone who runs an orchard would be the best bet, I learned the most from him.
let us know what you go with!!
Do any of you guys put in 'fertilizer pods' at all for your trees? I've seen them do this on tv before. You basically have a pod that looks like a bean bag that's full of fertilizer, and you dig a hole next to the tree and plant it.
When you say 'cross-pollinator' what do you mean exactly? Two different varieties of trees or just two different trees? I'm new to all this....even though I have heard you do need more than one tree but just wondering what you meant by that?
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