Kei apple growth

I bought a few kei apple tree planting next to my boundery wall as a hedge.

How long does it take to grow and what can i do to speed up the growth.

I planted it the end of may. I do see a few new leaves.

The intention, i need a hedge for privacy so that our dogs can roam the garden freely and as detergent for others to enter our garden.

I live in northern suburbs Cape town

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Jun 28, 2021
More on Kei apple growth
by: Caroline

Hi again

Two sources, including SANBI claim that the Kei apple grows up to 60 cm a year. This would mean you may have your screen within two years, or a bit longer if it takes time to establish.

Speeding up the plant growth may be difficult. It seems it does not like artificial fertilizer, but you can add organic fertilizers like compost. I never water my trees at all. You could try weekly watering when the dry summer starts again. I think they grew at about 40cm a year and then topped out at about 3.5 meters.

May I make a suggestion ?
You mention planting them against a wall. I grew the Kei apple hedge in a very similar situation, above one of those low boundary walls you typically find in Goodwood. The intention was for privacy and security.

See how much extra height you need for privacy on top of the wall and make a temporary privacy fence. You can drive stakes into the ground and tie horizontals to those.

For stakes you could use any straight, hard and sharpened sticks. If you want to use metal, scrap dealers sell rebar cheaply. SA Metal in Epping sells it by weight and can cut for you.

For horizontals you can use any sticks, crooked or straight, palm fronds, anything you can find. I have also used the long flexible slats used to make blinds. You find factories that make blinds throw a lot of odd lengths away. But these will have to be tied perfectly to look good and tend to slip with time.

For ties you can use cable ties, wire or string.

These kinds of natural fences can look beautiful, if craftily made and are a mainstay of British gardening for creating screens.

Just pay attention to the rhythm of the organic material and repeat again and again so that it is not chaotic looking and messy, but rhythmical and harmonious, and you may have something really beautiful. If you would like me to help you make the temporary fence just get in touch again.

The screen would not have to be permanent and in a few years you can just pull it out of the ground. In the meantime it may create a visual barrier or make it too much bother for any intruder and deter them from taking the trouble to enter, which is about what a thorny hedge achieves too.

If you can weave thorny branches into the screen it will create an added deterrent.

Kind regards

Jun 28, 2021
Kei apple hedge
by: Caroline

Hello there

I also live in the northern suburbs Cape Town. My 2 year old Kei apples are putting out fresh green too. It seems they put on a growth spurt with the winter rains, like so many other plants.

I'm afraid I don't know from personal experience how long it will take to grow, or how to speed up the growth. I have two varieties of Kei apple, and the deciduous variety of tree is very very old, close on thirty years. The others are newly planted and they seem to grow faster. I just neglect them both. I will do some research and try to find an answer to your question.

There is a saying that trees sit for a while and then suddenly boom. You get them through the first year and its a victory to keep them alive, then you get them through the second year and they just sit. It is only in the third year that they really put on a growth spurt. I do think the growth of your trees will speed up with time until they reach their climax height.

I must say though, try not to be frustrated by hedges which grow slowly. It means they will be less work down the road. When your garden is thirty years old you will be very grateful for this. In time cutting back becomes a large percentage of the garden work. For example, fast growing Eugenia turns into a monster and a lot of work, because its climax height is as a huge canopy tree.

However giving them a short term growth spurt to reach the height you need would be just the thing.

I will get back to you. Thank you so much for getting in contact.


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