Monday, 13 June 2011

How to plant apple trees

Apple Trees


We planted two purchased apple trees in October 2009, as apples need another variety close by for pollination purposes to set  their fruit. One is a local Cypriot variety and the other a late cropper. 

We also have another three apple trees which we have grown from offshoots, removed in about March 2010, from a local variety growing nearby.  At the time we thought the offshoots were plums and it was not until the Spring, when they produced leaves and blossom, that we realised they were apples. After the mother tree fruited we found that it produces smallish green apples which are slightly tart, it seems that they are a cooking apple type of fruit.  So, we now think we were fortunate to have made the initial mistake as having lots cooking apples means we can make lots of pies, tarts and sauces. The offshoots are growing rapidly, regular watering for a drought tolerant variety has meant rapid growth, and we should start getting some fruit in the next few years. Once all five trees are fruiting we should be able to harvest apples from August to October and preserve some for later use.

We would recommend, if you have space, planting a couple of apple trees. The trees prefer a pH of 6.5 to 6.8 and should be planted as same depth as the pot they are bought in. Newly planted trees will need watering three times a week for the first two weeks and then weekly but stop watering from mid-Autumn to mid-Winter. 

It is also a good idea to mulch apple trees, to help retain moisture and keep down weeds, in March for the first 2-3 years but keep the mulch away from the trunk. Also provide some fertiliser in the winter, at least for the first few years until the roots are well established. If pruning is needed to shape the tree or remove damaged or overcrowded branches also do this in the winter and remove at the same time remove any suckers that have emerged. 

Apple trees can be affected by a numbers of pests and diseases. Two of the commonest pests are: (1) the codling moth which results in grubs inside the fruit and these moths can be combated by hanging a container which has a solution made up of 1 cup of vinegar; a third of a cup of dark molasses; a pinch of ammonia and 4 cups of water. The moths will lay their eggs in the mixture which needs to be changed every 3 weeks between March and April (2) the other main pest is the Mediterranean fruit fly (pictured to the left) which will result in leaf curl and grubs inside the fruit. These can be combated by regular spraying with a strong solution of ecological washing up liquid mixed in warmish water.

9 comments:

  1. Hello, my sons have a school project about Cypriot apples. I would appreciate any information about the native apple tree (of Cyprus).

    Thank-you, Anna Marcos.

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  2. Hi Anna, I have not been able to locate any information about the native Cypriot apple. Hope the boys project goes well.

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  3. try.. Mule Apple. the story goes ..in World Wor I when armies were using Mules to transport heavy armories there was not enough grazing animal food so they fed the Mules with native huge apples that locals did not appreciate so much. so, slowly that variety of apple started to decline . until UN solders in 1970's discovered them again and thought it was a different taste to an apple. so natives came to their senses about the long abandoned apple variety and started to cultivate it again. They renamed it and called "Ghauromila" meaning Mule Apple. this variety is very large, tart and very juicy green and one side slightly pinkish when ripe.
    original to the island of Cyprus.
    Aaron B
    Aaron4USA@aol.com

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  4. please let me know if you find out more about the native apples of Cyprus. I have an imported grafted apple from Cyprus and this year it finally bloomed twice. i am ecstatic about it.

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  5. Sorry Aaron no further information on native trees

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  6. oh, that's a shame. Any local person would be able to help, Specially Orchard Nurseries...Just ask them about Ghauromila :)
    It's a Large Tart/Sweet apple, very juicy and crunchy.

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