Planting and Apple Trees for the Home

Apples

Some
varieties set no fruit at all when self-pollinated,
while others under favorable conditions set a fair crop.
Yields are better when there are enough varieties for
cross-pollination. There are a number of popular varieties,
which are poor pollinators (triploid varieties) but
most are diploid, which pollinate each other very well.
It is important to have at least two diploid varieties
in a collection, unless the pollinator chosen is sufficiently
self-fertile alone. When choosing varieties select those
which will flower about the same time or overlap by
a few days with others. There is some variation in the
flowering periods of varieties but on the whole the
times are very consistent. Winter temperatures and district
can affect flowering periods.

In
the following tables varieties are in seven flowering
groups. Select if possible varieties within the same
group for pollination. The old very late variety ‘Crawley
Beauty’ is sufficiently selffertile to set a crop.

Most
varieties bear their fruit mainly on spurs formed on
the older branches. The tip bearers do so on the tips
of one year-old shoots. Some sorts fruit on both kinds
of wood.

Named
varieties are propagated by vegetative means, as they
do not come true from seed-by budding in July or August
or by grafting in March or April (see Grafting) on to
clonal rootstocks appropriate to the size of tree desired.
The following rootstocks are commonly used: Malling
IX (very dwarfing), Malling 26 (dwarfing), Malling VII
(semidwarfing), Merton-Malling 106 (semidwarfing), Malling
II or Malling I, the latter for wet soils (moderately
vigorous), Merton-Malling III, Malling XXV and Crab
C (vigorous).

Dwarf
trees permit spraying, pruning and harvesting to be
done without the need for step-ladders; they are also
more easily protected from bird damage.

A
number of small trees in a range of varieties covering
a long season is preferable to a few large trees each
giving an excessive quantity of fruit at one season
and with one flavor. On average, a cordon tree gives
1.5-2.5kg (3-5lb) of apples, pyramids 3-4kg (6-8lb),
bush trees on Malling IX rootstock 12.5-15kg (25-30lb),
bush trees on Malling II 40-50kg (80-100lb), and larger
trees according to size.

Alternatively,
a `family’ tree having several varieties grafted on
the one trunk can be grown or additional varieties are
grafted on to an established tree, which is yielding
glut crops.

Apple
trees have a long expectation of life and may remain
fruitful and healthy for 50 years or more.

Cultivation
Apples prefer deep loam but can be grown on sandy
soils and heavy clays, if care is taken to drain wet
soils and irrigate dry ones.

Cordons
[planted 75cm (2.5ft) by 1.8m (6ft)] espaliers [3-5m
(10-18ft) apart], and arcure trained trees [90 x 180cm
(3 x 6ft)], are grown against walls, fences or on post
and wire supports; dwarf pyramids [105 x 210cm (31 x
7ft)], spindle bushes [180 x 390cm (6 x 13ft)], pillars
[180 x 300cm (6 x 10ft)], bush [360 x 360cm (12 x 12ft)],
and half-standards [480 x 480cm (16 x 16ft)], on an
open, but sheltered, site. Provide windbreaks if natural
shelter is not present.

Plant
in November, if possible, or up to the end of March
whenever the soil is sufficiently friable. It is best
not to incorporate farmyard manure before planting into
any except the poorest of soils. Plant as firmly as
possible, ramming the soil round the roots with the
square end of a stout post, and tie the tree to a substantial
stake. Mulch the root area to conserve moisture in the
soil during the first season, thereby minimizing the
transplanting check to growth.

Subsequently,
control the vigor balance by applying farmyard manure
annually as a mulch in the spring and fertilizers according
to the tree’s needs.

Trained
trees respond to being summer pruned in July or August,
the side shoots being shortened to five leaves, the
leaders remaining unpruned. Winter pruning consists
of shortening summer-pruned shoots to two buds and reducing
the lengths of the leaders by a third. Bush and half-standard
trees are not summer pruned: in winter, the dead and
crossing shoots are cut out and also sufficient branches
to keep the head of the tree to an open habit. The leaders
are shortened by a third for the first four years only-leaving
them unpruned from then onwards induces the branches
to droop and become more fruitful.

Putting
the soil down to a mixture of fine grass and clover,
which is kept cut short, retards tree growth and induces
fruitfulness. In addition, dessert apples take on a
better color when grown in grass than under clean cultivation
and have a longer storage life.

Many
varieties set an excessive number of fruitlets and hand
thinning is necessary if the apples are to grow to a
worthwhile size. Many fruitlets fall naturally to the
ground during the `June Drop’ but additional thinning
is necessary in June and July. Each cluster of dessert
fruit must be reduced to two fruitlets, always removing
the largest one-the ‘king’ fruit-first, and the clusters
reduced to at least 7cm (3in) apart. Thin cookers to
single fruits 16-20cm (6-8in) apart.

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Apples
are ready for harvesting when well colored, with the
seeds becoming brown in color, and when they part readily
from the fruit spurs. Test for fitness for picking by
raising each apple to a horizontal position, giving
a slight twist-if the stalk separates readily from the
spur, without tearing, the apple is fit to pick.

Eat
early maturing varieties direct from the tree or within
a few weeks after being harvested. Store keeping varieties
in a cool, dark, moist and frost-proof place.

Flowering Times for
Apples
Very
early

Aromatic Russet (B)
Gravenstein (T)
Keswick Codlin (B)

Early
Adam’s Pearmain (B)
Beauty of Bath Ben’s Red (B)
Bismark (B)
Cheddar Cross Christmas Pearmain (B)
Discovery
Egremont Russet
George Cave
George Neal
Golden Spire
Irish Peach
Laxton’s Early Crimson
Lord Lambourne
Lord Suffield
McIntosh Red Melba (B)
Michaelmas Red
Norfolk Beauty
Patricia (B)
Rev W. Wilkes (B)
Ribston Pippin (T)
St Edmund’s Pippin
Scarlet Pimpernal
Striped Beefing
Warner’s King (T)
Washington (T)
White Transparent

Early mid season
Arthur Turner
Belle de Boskoop (T)
Blenheim Orange (TB)
Bowden’s Seedling
Bramley’s Seedling (T)
Brownlee’s Russet
Charles Ross
Claygate Pearmain
Cox’s Orange Pippin
D’Arcy Spice
Devonshire Quarrenden (B)
Early Victoria (Emneth Early)
Emperor Alexander
Epicure
Exeter Cross
Fortune (B)
Granny Smith
Grenadier
Howgate Wonder
James Grieve
John Standish
Jonathan
King’s Acre Pippin
Kidd’s Orange Red
Lord Grosvenor
Merton Pippin
Merton Prolific
Merton Russet
Merton Worcester
Miller’s Seedling (B)
Ontario

Early
mid season cont
.

Peasgood’s Nonsuch
Red Victoria (B)
Reinette du Canada (T)
Rival (B)
Rosemary Russet
Sturmer Pippin
Sunset
Tydeman’s Early Worcester Tydeman’s Late Orange

Wegener (B)
Wealthy
Winter Quarrenden (B)
Worcester Pearmain

Mid season

Allington Pippin (B)
Annie Elizabeth
Chelmsford Wonder (B)
Cox’s Pomona
Delicious
Duke of Devonshire
Ellison’s Orange
Golden Delicious
Golden Noble
Herring’s Pippin Lady Henniker
Lady Sudeley
Lane’s Prince Albert
Laxton’s Superb (B)
Monarch (B)
Orleans Reinette
Sir John Thornycroft

Late mid season
American Mother
Coronation (B)
Gascoyne’s Scarlet
King of the Pippins (B)
Lord Derby
Merton Beauty
Newton Wonder
Northern Spy (B)
Royal Jubilee
William Crump
Winston
Woolbrook Pippin (B)

Late
Court Pendu Plat
Edward VII
Heusgen’s Golden Reinette

Very late
Crawley Beauty

B=biennial or irregular
flowering varieties. T=triploid varieties with poor
pollen. Those not marked T are diploid varieties.
Coloured sports eg Red Millar s Seedling usually
flower at the same time as the parent.

 

Apple tree

Apricots
Blackberries

Cherries
Gooseberries

Grapes
Loganberry
Peaches and Nectarines

Pears
Plums
Raspberries
Strawberries


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