APPLE Rosaceae Malus sylvestris M. pumila
HABITAT: Native to Europe. Zones 3-8.
USES: Fruit, flower, espalier, hedges.
HABIT: 6-25' hardy trees bearing 2 to 4 inch red, yellow, green fruits (often striped or mottled) which follow 1-1 1/2 inch fragrant pink to white flowers in early spring. Dwarf 6-8' forms are available. Fruit production varies per variety with production during early summer, late summer, and fall. A standard tree yields 15 to 20 bushels per year: semi-dwarf 5 to 10 bushels per year: dwarf 1 to 2 bushels, under ideal conditions. Some trees bear every other year. Plant two to three varieties together for best pollination.
SEED GERMINATION AND CULTURE: Seed of the species may be grown but do not come true from seed. Best to start with vegetative propagated plants.
Set out 1-2 year old trees in sun in a good garden loam with humus (peat moss, leaf mold, compost) added. Good drainage is essential and a pH of 5.5-6.5 is recommended. Plant in late fall in zone 6-8, for an early spring in zones 3-5. Although hardy, it is best to plant where protection can be offered from winter wind and frost.
Plant standard trees 40' apart: semi-dwarf 20' apart: dwarf trees 10 to 12' apart. Cut off all but 3 to 4 of trees strongest and best placed main branches which are about 6-12 inches apart. They should form an angle greater than 45 degrees with the main trunk, and they should be placed on different sides of the main trunk. Prune these to 6-8". Feed established trees in early spring with a balanced garden fertilizer such as 10-10-10 at the rate of 1 pound per 3 inches of trunk diameter for standards: 1/4 pound for semi and dwarf trees 3 to 5' tall: or 1/2 pound if 6 to 8' tall. It is best to under feed and add later than to over feed as over feeding will promote many leaves and few apples. This will also reduce resistance to cold weather.
When plant is of bearing size and age, thin out fruit when they are 1/3 grown to 6 to 7 inches apart to prevent over production. About 30 to 40 leaves per apple is recommended. Pick apples when ripe but still firm. Twist rather than pull the fruit off, otherwise the fruit spur will be damaged and future fruit production lessened. Mulch the trees with humus each year.
As the trees begin to bear heavily, annual pruning consists of removing dead and diseased wood, suckers, down-growing branches, small branches that interfere with better ones, old unproductive branches and branches that cross others. Prune to keep the tree open and not too tall. Pruning should be done in late winter and when the temperature is still above freezing.
Follow a regular spray program such as: Spray when dormant and when leaves are off and before buds swell in the spring with a dormant oil spray plus a Bordeaux Mixture. Spray again in the pink stage just before blossoms open with Zineb or Ferbam. Spray at petal fall when 3/4 of the petals are off with a general purpose orchard spray and repeat the general purpose orchard spray 14 to 21 days later, then 10 to 14 days later, then 10 days later, and finally 21 days later. Repeat this again with two sprays tree weeks later and again three weeks later. Follow package instructions.
To store apples, pick just prior to ripening fully and keep them ina cool, somewhat humid area.
VARIETIES: Baldwin-dull red. Processing. Late, Biennial producer. Poor pollinator. Zones 5-8.
Cortland-red with dark stripes. Mid-season. Annual bearer. Poor pollinator. Zones 4-7.
Dudley-greenish yellow. Firm. Mid-season. Zones 3-8.
Golden Delicious-medium. Yellow. Poor keeper. Late. Biennial bearer. Good pollinator. Zones 5-8.
Gravenstein-large. Red. General purpose. Poor pollinator. Mid season. Zones 6-8.
Grimes Golden-medium. Yellow/green. General purpose. Mid-season. Zones 5-8.
Haralson-medium. Red. Tart, juicy. All purpose. Zones 3-8.
Jonathan-small to medium. Red. Tart. All purpose. Mid-season. Susceptible to Fire Blight, Rust, Mildew. Zones 5-8.
Lodi-large. Yellow. All purpose. Stores well. Early. Good pollinator. Zones 4-8.
Macoun-medium. Dark red. Mid-season. Needs thinning. Susceptible to Scab. Good pollinator. Zones 4-8.
Mantet-medium. Yellow striped with red. All purpose. Early. Zones 3-7.
McIntosh-large. Red. Mid-season. Superb. Annual bearer. Zones 4-8.
Melba-small. Red striped. Dessert. Early. Zones 4-8.
Milton-large. Pinkish red. Mid-season. Zones 4-8.
Northern Spy-large. Red striped. Late. Must have perfect drainage. Delicious. Bears at 10 years and on. Poor pollinator. Zones 4-8.
Patricia-small-medium. Pinkish red. Good quality. Mid-summer. Heavy producer. Zones 3-8.
Red Delicious-red, slightly cone-shaped. Eating. Late. Zones 5-8. Poor pollinator.
Red Dutchess-medium. Red. Cooking, jelly. Early. Zones 3-8.
Rhode Island Greening-very large. Green. Tart. Pies. Late. Poor pollinator. Zones 5-8.
Rome Beauty-large. Red. Baking. Susceptible to Fire Blight. Late. Zones 5-8.
Stayman Winesap-large. Red. Striped. Juicy. All purpose. Stores well. Late. Poor pollinator. Zones 6-8.
Summer Pippen-medium large. Green. Pies, sauce. Very early. Zones 6-8.
Summer Bamboo-large. Cooking. Early. Poor pollinator. Zones 6-8.
Tydeman's Red-medium. Red. Early. Zones 4-8.
Wealthy-medium. Red striped. All purpose. Early. Zones 3-7.
Winesap-all purpose. Small. Red. Crisp. Keeps well. Poor pollinator. Zones 6-8.
Yates-small. Red striped. Late. Stores well. Good pollinator. Zones 5-8.
Yellow Transparent-medium. Greenish yellow. Very early. Cooking. Zones 3-8.
York Imperial-red. Cooking. Susceptible to Fire Blight. Zones 6-8. .
INSECTS: Tree Hoppers, Saw Fly, Scale, Thrip, Mealy Bug, Midges, Psyllids, Leaf Hopper, Leaf Minor, Leaf Roller, Leaf Skeletonizer, Aphids, Beetles: Use an approved insecticide such as Malathion.
Crickets, Weevils, Wire Worm, Termites: Use an approved insecticide such as Chlordane.
Leaf Crumpler, Mites, Bud Moth: Use an approved insecticide such as Diazinon. Wasp, Web Worm, Span Worm, Canker Worm, Butterfly, Casebearers, Fruit Worm, Maggot: Use an approved insecticide such as Sevin.
Curculio: Spray with an approved insecticide such as Sevin before bloom. Repeat 3 times every 10 days.
Borers: Keep plants fertilized, watered, and cultivated. Wrap newly planted tree trunks. Spray with Lindane. Spray leaf eating insects with Sevin..
DISEASES: Fire Blight: Cut out diseased wood at least 6" below diseased area and destroy. Avoid over feding trees. Spray with Agri-Mycin or use a Bordeaux Mixture.
Anthracnose: Increase air circulation. Spray weekly with an approved fungicide such as Maneb, Zineb.
Crown Gall: Sterilize the soil with a fumigant such as Chloropicrin.
Blight: Destroy plants. Control insects. Spray with an approved fungicide such as Maneb, Zineb.
Blotch: Prune trees for better air circulation. Remove infected parts. Control insects. Dust with Captan.
Canker: Prune and destroy infected parts. Dust with Bordeaux mixture, Lime-Sulfur. Die Back: Cut our diseased portions. Avoid late fertilizing. Destroy infected parts. Sterilize soil with fumigant such as Chloropicrin prior to planting. Avoid over-watering. Keep watered during droughts.
Fruit Spot, Leaf Spot: Use an approved fungicide such as Captan, Ferbam. Chlorosis: Feed with Iron Sulphate. Apply this to soil monthly. Powdery Mildew: Use an approved fungicide such as Benlate. Rust, Scab: Destroy diseased plants. Spray every 7-10 days with Maneb. Sooty Mold: Control insects with Malathion. Mosaic: Destroy diseased plant. Control aphids with Malathion. Do not smoke around the plants.
Verticillium Wilt: Destroy plant. No chemically known control..
PROBLEMS: Little or no fruit: Immature tree, overproduction of fruit during the previous year, late frost killing flower buds, overfertilization, lack of pollinator (only 1 tree planted).
PROPAGATION: Budding, grafting, seeds (species only).
REMARKS: If the above list of insects and diseases seem appalling or discourages one from planting, remember that most garden centers carry combination sprays that control and eliminate most problems. It is important, however, as with most plants to spray regularly to achieve the greatest success with a minimum of problems.