An apple a day is said to ‘keep the doctor away’, and the same could be said for its source, the humble apple tree. Most gardens, a few years ago, had at least one apple tree, and this vital source of fresh fruit saw many people through the last war. Baking may have fallen out of fashion in the post-war years, but many people are starting to re-acquaint themselves with natural sources of fruit and vegetables, and where is a better place to start than in your own garden?
Pies, crumbles, sponges, jellies and chutneys, apple wine or cider, really the list is endless. If you’re already lucky enough to have an apple tree in your garden, or are looking to buy some young saplings, then this wonderful tree will give you almost endless bounty to harvest. A true wildlife garden demands an apple tree, but all gardens can accommodate one, even the smallest of plots. So, Tree Removal in Gold Coast should be avoided. Let’s look at a few varieties.
Apple Tree Varieties
It all depends on what type of fruit you prefer. Do you want cooking apples or eating apples? Do you want a sweet, juicy fruit such as a Cox’s Orange Pippin or a late harvest of sweet Worcester Permain apples that make lovely crumbles! Other varieties include Russet, Idared or the sweet, nutty flavour of the Egremont Russet.
Trees bought at most nurseries are about two years old; obviously size needs to be taken into account when selecting your trees and the rootstock, that is, the base part of your tree, will determine this. The scion or upper part of your sapling, will give you the type of tree and its subsequent fruit. Most trees these days, are bought this way, and have been grafted by the grower to produce the needed variety. Very few trees are now grown from the seed; you will also need other apple trees of differing varieties in the vicinity to create a good crop of fruit, for apple trees rely on cross-pollination, bees being obviously vital for this process.
If looking for smaller trees or dwarf varieties, then Bud. 9 rootstock or M27 is a good rule of thumb to look for. Remember, it will take three to four years to get a good crop of fruit from your new trees.
When to Plant?
Autumn or spring is the best time of year to plant; water well and prune back when planting. Apple trees grow in most soil conditions but prefer a slightly acidic soil. They also adapt well in other environments but always need a position that is sunny. Why not consider planting a crab apple tree? If you can, these beautiful trees, the ancestors of all newer varieties, will produce marvellous fruit, and crab apple jelly makes a wonderful alternative to marmalade. You will need to prune your trees in autumn and cut out dead wood, this will keep your trees healthy and disease free. You can train roses, clematis or honeysuckle up your trees, but keep an eye on clematis, for it does tend to become a little rampant, especially Montana varieties.
Apple Tree Stories
- If you slice an apple lengthways, through the middle, a five-pointed star is revealed. This knowledge is revered by pagans, for it is the symbol of knowledge, surrounded by the circle of the apple itself.
- King Arthur, as he was dying, is believed to have been carried to the vale of Avalon, a magical orchard of renowned beauty, surrounded by weeping maidens. The word Avalon means apple in the ancient Celtic language and many ancient monasteries had vast acres of apple orchards for their personal use, the fruit being so versatile and easy to store.
- In the first paragraph of this article, the little rhyme of ‘keeping the doctor away’, is actually quite factual, for apples are filled with vitamin A, and as such are good for teeth and bones.
- If you want to know the name of your sweetheart, then peel an apple in one continuous go, then let the peel fall to the floor and his or her initial will be revealed.
So, why not start to harvest your own apples, and before you know it, you will be another convert and a fully paid up member of the apple-lover appreciation society. Enjoy!