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Pollinator needed?

Usually

Flowering Period

Mid April

Mature Height

8-28 feet

Produce fruit In

3-5 years

Support needed?

No

Harvest Period

Aug - Oct

Sun Exposure

full

Soil Type

all types


Apples are one of the most widely grown of hardy fruits and are available in a wide range of varieties and cultivars.

One thing that should be understood about apples is that the are two components to the tree. The roots and the top-growth that actually come from two different plants. The top growth -  the apple variety is chosen for its fruiting qualities, this is grafted onto the rootstock which is chosen for hardiness, disease resistance and also the size the tree will ultimately grow to. The rootstock determines the size that the tree will grow to and not the variety. There will be one of a number of possibilities from "very dwarfing" rootstocks that will allow an apple tree to be grown in a container, to "extremely vigorous" where you'll need a ladder to reach much of the fruit. Most nurseries these days will sell apples grafted onto "dwarf" or "semi-dwarf" rootstock which are relative phrases, you might imagine dwarf trees to be below waist height, but they'll actually be 7-10 feet tall with semi-dwarfs about 12-14 feet tall.

When positioning an apple tree ensure that it has enough room all round to develop to its full size. A sunny position is required to get good crops and should be as sheltered as possible too. If you live in an area with late frosts, select late flowering varieties.

No apples are consistently and reliably self-fertile where possible, they should always be planted with other varieties that flower at the same time to ensue cross-pollination and so achieve better fruit set.

Apple trees can be easily gown in a variety of forms, bush, fan, espalier, cordon or flat against a wall or fence. The easiest form to train is a bush and is also the most useful shape for most gardens. The aim is to achieve an open crown with 8-10 branches radiating from a short trunk. Apples are readily trained however, more so than almost any other fruit tree and the other forms may be achieved relatively easily.

Pruning should take place in mid to late winter, while the tree is dormant, but after the harshest weather is over. Initial training removes the leader to just above 3 or 4 strong lateral buds, over the next three years, a network of laterals should be encouraged to produce the required 8 - 10. Other branches not selected for the main ones should be pruned to just 4-5 buds in length, The strong laterals should have about 1/4 of the seasons growth cut from them at this time. All cuts should back to outwards pointing buds so that shoots don't cross over. Any dead or damaged wood should be removed all together.

Subsequent pruning is to prevent any shoots taking over from the main branches and to keep fruiting spurs back to 4-6 buds in length. Allowing any longer fruiting spurs will run the risk of them breaking under the weight of the fruit which will damage the shape of tree and allow disease in.

Restorative pruning of neglected trees, should take place over 3 or 4 years if possible. If a tree has been neglected for some time, it will have long pendulous branches that bend considerably under the weight of fruit and some may already have broken. Cut any that have broken to a point beyond the break so the tree can form a clean wound seal. Cut back no more than 1/4 - 1/3 of the elongated branches in any one year to no less than 1/2 of the previous length (unless removed altogether). The tree will probably produce a large number of vigorous shoots in response - many where you don't want them to be. These should be removed or encouraged as appropriate.

Apple problems

Apple Sawfly - In early to mid summer the apples drop soon after forming and have a maggot hole in the side that is surrounded by sawdust like frass (yes - caterpillar dung has a special name! - frass). Control is by picking and destroying affected fruits before they fall off and the moth escapes. If there have been heavy infestations in the past, then spraying with bifenthrin at the point where the petals fall can be effective.

Aphids - Twisted curled or puckered leaves and shoots which on inspection have hundreds or thousands of tiny green, black or pale colored insects. Spray at first sign with a systemic insecticide or your preferred organic alternative.

Codling moth - In mid to late summer small holes in fruits and maggots feeding near the core. Treatment is by the insecticide bifenthrin in early summer followed by another application about 2 weeks later. The timing of the application can be gauged using pheromone traps to see when the moths are most active. Alternatively if you don't want to apply an insecticide, then pheromone traps can catch enough moths if the trees are reasonably isolated to reduce the number of maggoty apples. You will never really totally control codling moths.

Bitter Pit - Small brown indentations in the skin and fruit of the apples. Caused by a calcium deficiency, treat be applying lime to the soil and watering in well (takes over a year to have an effect) or spray with calcium nitrate if available.

Red Spider Mite - Leaves become mottled and fall off, branches can be almost bare except towards the tip. Fine webs are found on the leaves and tiny red mites may be seen, but not easily. Spray with rotenone, malathion or dimethoate in June. This is worse in dry, hot years and rarely a problem outdoors in cooler areas in normal or damp years.

Apple Scab - Black/brown scabs appear on the fruits with similar scabs on the leaves, though green/gray in color. Fruit may also be small and misshapen, secondarily split and become infected with fungal rots. Venturia inaequalis fungus is the culprit which over winters on stems and fallen leaves. Fallen leaves should be raked up and burnt or otherwise disposed of out of the garden. Spray the tree with a fungicide containing carbendazim or mancozeb, some apple cultivars are resistant. Trees with overcrowded branches are more susceptible, so pruning to open the crown will help, the disease is more prevalent in damp years.

Brown Rot - Soft brown spots on the apples and white or yellow fungal growths grow on these. Remove and destroy (not on the compost heap) affected fruits, fallen, on the tree or in store. Spray with a general fungicide or benomyl.

Apple canker - Patches of dead or dying bark on the branches and trunk. Twigs are killed as the diseased bark rings the twig. Cut out and burn affected parts, stumps can be painted with a proprietary canker paint.

Powdery mildew - White powdery deposit anywhere on the tree which distorts leaves and shoots. Remove affected shoots and spray the tree with a general fungicide, benomyl or thiophanate-methyl.

Capsid bug - Puckered regions on apples with a brown corky swelling at the center. Capsids feed on immature fruits so killing some of the developing cells and so there's a region that is not so well developed as the surrounding region, the brown corky growth is a sort of tree allergic reaction to the saliva of the bug. The damage is only skin deep and the fruits are perfectly edible. Severe damage in previous years can be treated by spraying with bifenthrin or pyrethrum at petal fall.

Apple Apple ' Red Falstaf' - 1 bare root apple tree
£ 14.99


Apple Apple 'Braeburn' - 1 root wrap apple tree
£ 17.99


Apple Apple 'Bramley's Seedling' (patio) - 1 patio apple tree
£ 29.99


Apple Apple 'Bramley's Seedling' - 1 root wrap apple tree
£ 19.99


Apple Apple 'Cox's Orange Pippin' - 1 root wrap apple tree
£ 19.99


Apple Apple 'Egremont Russet' - 1 root wrap apple tree
£ 26.99


Apple Apple 'Family Apple Tree' - 1 apple tree
£ 29.99


Apple Apple 'Gala' (Mini Fruit Tree) - 1 apple plant in 9cm pot
£ 12.99


Apple Apple 'Gala' (Mini Fruit Tree) - 1 x 9cm potted apple plant
£ 14.99


Apple Apple 'Golden Delicious' (Mini Fruit Tree) - 1 apple plant in 9cm pot
£ 12.99


Apple Apple 'Golden Delicious' (Mini Fruit Tree) - 1 x 9cm potted apple plant
£ 14.99


Apple Apple 'James Grieve' - 1 root wrap apple tree
£ 24.99


Apple Apple 'Pixirosso' - 1 root wrap apple tree
£ 27.99


Apple Apple 'Red Falstaff' - 1 root wrap apple tree
£ 34.99


Apple Apple 'Sir Isaac Newton' - 1 root wrap apple tree
£ 29.99


Apple Apple 'Spartan' - 1 bare root apple tree
£ 14.99


Apple Apple 'Worcester Pearmain' - 1 bare root apple tree
£ 14.99


Apple (BritainApple (Britain's Favourites Collection) - 3 apple trees - 1 of each variety
£ 34.99


Apple and Pear Family Collection - 2 apple trees - 1 of each varietyApple and Pear Family Collection - 2 apple trees - 1 of each variety
£ 49.99


Apple Braeburnbare root treeApple Braeburnbare root tree
£ 14.99


Apple Columnar Apple Columnar 'Purple Haze' - 1 bare root apple tree
£ 29.99


Apple Duo - 1 root-wrapped apple treeApple Duo - 1 root-wrapped apple tree
£ 19.99


Apple Duo - 2 root-wrapped apple treesApple Duo - 2 root-wrapped apple trees
£ 29.98


Apple Fiesta on M26 potted treeApple Fiesta on M26 potted tree
£ 19.99


Apple Golden Delicious on M26 potted treeApple Golden Delicious on M26 potted tree
£ 9.99


Apple Greensleeves on M26 potted treeApple Greensleeves on M26 potted tree
£ 19.99


Apple Queen Cox treeApple Queen Cox tree
£ 19.99


Golden Delicious & Braeburn 2 Patio Apple TreesGolden Delicious & Braeburn 2 Patio Apple Trees
£ 19.99


Patio Apple(Golden Delicious) & Pear(Conference) Trees 9cm PotPatio Apple(Golden Delicious) & Pear(Conference) Trees 9cm Pot
£ 19.99



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