How to Grow Apple Trees
How to Grow Apple Trees
Apples will grow in almost any reasonably good gardenalthough the best results are obtained in a rather deep loam with good drainage. On heavy waterlogged soil some varieties are apt to suffer from canker, while on poor, sandy or gravelly soil the fruits are likely to be of small size and inferior quality. Well-rotted manure or can be used freely in the preparation of the ground, which should be dug as deeply as possible.
Apples can be trained in a great variety of shapes from standard trees, which will probably take up too much valuable room in smaller modern gardens, to bushes and dwarf pyramids and restricted forms of training like espaliers or cordons, which may be single or double stemmed.
Pruning of trained trees should be carried out in both summer and winter. During July and the early part of August the new side shoots should be shortened to three or four leaves each, not counting the basal rosette of small leaves. Then in November these laterals can be further shortened to within two or three dormant buds of the main stem to encourage the production of fruiting spurs. At the same time the leading shoots should be shortened by about a third. It is not essential to carry out such restrictive pruning with well-established standard and bush apple trees, which after a while can be left to go their own way, with little beyond thinning of badly-placed branches in November, to prevent overcrowding and the removal of any cankered or otherwise diseased branches or shoots.
When trees are cropping freely it is necessary to reduce the number of fruits to not more than two at each spur, or if exhibition fruits of culinary varieties are required, only one should be left at each spur. The thinning should be done when the fruits are about the size of marbles, the ‘king’ fruit (the one at the centre of the cluster) being removed first and badly-shaped specimens as necessary.
Increase byin March or April, or by budding in July and August. Although seedling crab apples are sometimes used as rootstocks it is best to use the much more reliable Mailing or more recently introduced Mailing-Merton rootstocks. The latter are resistant to woolly aphis in so far as the rootstocks themselves are concerned but not the variety grafted on to them.
Some Varieties (in order of ripening)
The very large selection available includes Scarlet Pimpernel, dessert, August. Grenadier, culinary, August — October. James Grieve, dessert, September — October. Egremont Russet, dessert, October — December. Bramley’s Seeding, culinary, November-March (too large for). Cox’s Orange Pippin, dessert, November — January (I like to grow James Grieve with it as a pollinator, superb flavour). Lane’s Prince Albert, culinary, November — February. Sunset, dessert (not very good colour on some soils, but can be a good substitute for Cox’s Orange Pippin), November — December. Russet, dessert, December — March. Winston, dessert, January — April (crops best as a bush form).