Home > Fruit Trees & Bushes > Apple Trees

Apple Trees

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 24 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Apple Trees Apples Growing Apples

The apple tree is one of the most widely cultivated of fruit trees. They are deciduous (they shed their leaves in the autumn) and are small reaching just 5-12 m tall. They normally flower in spring, producing white flowers, sometimes with a pink tinge. The fruit matures in mid-late autumn, and can be eaten raw, used in cooking, juiced or made into cider.

Types of Apple Tree
There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples. The world's biggest collection is housed at the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale farm in Kent. There are three main types of apple tree, each producing either: dessert, cooking or cider apples.

Over the years the variety of apples commercially available has diminished. Customers have been left with a poor choice in supermarkets that tend to be chosen for their storage ability rather than their taste. English varieties are some of the tastiest varieties of Apple available, with a crisp, fresh taste and wonderful exuberant names to match.

English Apple Varieties
English dessert Apple varieties include:
  • Worcester Pearmain – delicious sweet taste and smell similar to a strawberry
  • Lord Lambourne – classic English dessert apple with high levels of juice and acidity
  • Egremont Russet – traditional dessert apple with distinctive nutty taste and thin, dry texture.
English cooking apple varieties include:
  • Bramley's Seedling – tangy, sharp flavour. Fruit is large and greenish-yellow with light red striping.
  • Cathead – very old large round English apple with greenish-yellow skin that supposedly resembles a cat’s head.
  • Allington Pippin – conical shaped apple with a greenish yellow or reddish flush. Flesh is cream-coloured
English cider apple varieties include:
  • Brown Snout – the fruit is small and green with patches of russet. Produces a mild to medium bittersweet cider
  • Brown's Apple – a vintage apple, which makes a tangy, scented, fruity cider. It is dark red with creamy flesh that is often stained with red. It has a crisp, clean flavour.
  • Crimson King – this apple produces an acidic juice and makes a light, fruity cider. It is a bright crimson colour
Characteristics of Apple Trees
Like most perennial fruits, apple trees are propagated by the grafting a cutting of an existing variety on to the root of a new tree. This is because you can’t guarantee that a tree grown from the seeds of an apple will be the same as its parent tree. Growing apple trees from seed can result in brand new cultivars, however, so many breeders deliberately cross-fertilise specific varieties to produce new breeds.

Apples can also form bud sports. These are mutations of the cultivar on a single branch. Some bud sports can actually be improved strains of the parent cultivar. Some differ sufficiently from the parent tree and can be considered as new cultivars.

Growing Apple Trees
Apple trees can be grown in orchards, large pots, or trained as espaliers along a wall or trellis. If you want to grow your own apples, you will need at least two trees so they fertilise each other and produce more fruit. There aren’t many flowers in bloom in early spring when the apple trees are in blossom, but it’s a good idea to plant primroses and rosemary in your garden to attract early bees and other pollinators, who will pollinate your apple flowers and increase your yield. There are self-fertile varieties, however, such as Jonagold, if you are short of space.

A common problem for apple growers is a late frost that destroys the flowers and therefore prevents them from turning into fruit. It is best to plant the trees on a slope or against a wall to help prevent it from frost attack. You could also try growing a frost-resistant variety such as Court Plendu Plat, which is known historically as ‘the wise apple’ because it flowers late and avoids the harshest frosts.

If the frost is not too severe, the tree can be sprayed with very cold water before the morning sun hits the flowers. This helps the cells within the flowers re-adjust to the warm temperature easier, and can help save your crop.

How to Choose Your Apple Tree
Before buying your apple tree, consider what size (height and spread) is appropriate for your garden. The size of the tree can be determined by its rootstock (the lower part of the tree on to which different varieties are grafted). The label should also tell you how fast the tree grows and how high.

Apple trees are normally sold as either one or two year old plants. If you want your tree to produce fruit sooner, it’s best to opt for a two year old tree.

Planting Your Apple Tree
Dig a hole deep enough to just cover the soil mark on the stem of your tree and wide enough for the roots to spread themselves out 30 to 45cm (1 to 1.5 ft) should usually be about right. Part-fill it with compost and place the roots in it. Tie the tree to a support and fill in the hole with soil, firming gently. Water well, and ensure it is well watered during dry spells. You should have apples within two years.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
@Ash - it might be a cooking apple or crab apple tree :)
LOU - 24-Mar-17 @ 1:51 PM
I recently bought a house in UK and there is a apple tree in the garden. The fruit is not sweet and tasty which makes it difficult to consume directly. I am not sure what variety it is and would need some advice why the fruits are non eatable.
Ash - 24-Mar-17 @ 7:05 AM
Dhami - Your Question:
Hi,I am from Nepal,I have apple firm from 3year but it's can't give a fruit so I am warry about my forming,so what can I do?can you advise me please

Our Response:
There are many possible causes of poor crops of fruit, from environmental conditions such as weather (i.e too hot, cold, dry, wet), plus pests or disease to more controllable causes, including overpruning or underfeeding. You can see more via the RHS link here.
FruitExpert - 24-Feb-17 @ 10:24 AM
Hi,I am from Nepal,I have apple firm from 3year but it's can't give a fruit so I am warry about my forming,so what can I do?can you advise me please
Dhami - 23-Feb-17 @ 6:45 AM
Hello Could you advise me where to buy a Fugi apple tree. Also why do my apricot fruits become cement hard?Regards e.t je27gr uk
Ed - 5-Feb-17 @ 10:06 PM
Hello, I have just started eating my apple and have noticed red dots in my apple and they don't stop going through the apple. I have seen posts about people injecting blood with diseases in fruits. Is there any natural explanation for this or shall I go see a doctor? please respond asap. Thank you
Molly - 15-Nov-16 @ 6:55 PM
Henry - Your Question:
Hi there, I planted 2 x 1 year old Cox trees in Feb this year. They took pretty well and I've kept them watered over the hottest days this summer. Over the past weeks I was surprised to see that they have started to blossom. I wanted to know if I should remove the blossoms, or is there advice you can give on what I should do?Many thanks

Our Response:
It is quite unusual, but as the trees are young and if you've experienced a cold-snap in summer followed by a warm spell, your eager juvenile trees may think that they're currently in spring.
FruitExpert - 19-Aug-16 @ 2:34 PM
Hi there, I planted 2 x 1 year old Cox trees in Feb this year. They took pretty well and I've kept them watered over the hottest days this summer. Over the past weeks I was surprised to see that they have started to blossom. I wanted to know if I should remove the blossoms, or is there advice you can give on what I should do? Many thanks
Henry - 18-Aug-16 @ 9:11 PM
Ash - Your Question:
I have one apple and one pear tree, 2 years ago my apple tree yield fruit in July, but has never yeilded again. It blossoms but no fruit for 2 years. The pear tree only slightly blossoms, never had any fruit in 6 years. I'm unsure of the varieties of these as they were a gift. Is there anything I can do to encourage fruit to grow? Many thanks.

Our Response:
There can be may reasons, such as; being in the wrong climate, another cause for lack of fruit production is frost damage. One of the most common reasons for failure of the trees to bear fruit is poor or no pollination, or you do not have compatible fruit varieties for pollination purposes. Over-pruning and over-feeding can also be a cause - please see more via the RHS site here to see if any of these causes fit. I hope this helps.
FruitExpert - 4-Jul-16 @ 11:32 AM
I have one apple and one pear tree, 2 years ago my apple tree yield fruit in July, but has never yeilded again. It blossoms but no fruit for 2 years. The pear tree only slightly blossoms, never had any fruit in 6 years. I'm unsure of the varieties of these as they were a gift. Is there anything I can do to encourage fruit to grow? Many thanks.
Ash - 3-Jul-16 @ 9:49 AM
Last autumn the leaves on an apple tree turned brown very early. This plenty of blossom but little fruit. Leafage very sparse cf pear tree
jumbo - 26-Jun-16 @ 11:41 AM
@Gilly - If there are any areas of the tree that are dead then you can try to prune those areas back and wait to see if it recovers. Sometimes there is no rhyme nor reason why a tree may not flourish or will die. If the bark is still alive then wait until next spring.
DavidJ58 - 15-Jun-16 @ 11:42 AM
Hi, we bought two bare root fruit trees (one apple, one pear) in early May and planted them in large containers the same day.The pear tree is growing leaves and looks well.The apple tree isn't doing anything - no leaves or buds.I have scratched the bark on the trunk of the apple tree which is green inside so I think it is alive.Just wondered if there was anything I need to do to help it to start growing?Would pruning it slightly help? or do you think there may be a problem with it roots? Thanks
Gilly - 14-Jun-16 @ 1:45 PM
dp - Your Question:
Our apple tree does not flower, can anything be done.

Our Response:
In the first instance you would need to check whether your tree of the self-pollination species or does it require another tree nearby for pollination and blooming? Your tree will not bear fruit if it is not pollinated, a nearby pear tree could also do the job.
FruitExpert - 8-Jun-16 @ 2:48 PM
Our apple tree does not flower, can anything be done.
dp - 8-Jun-16 @ 8:56 AM
Dan - Your Question:
I have 8 apple trees, varying between cooking apples, cider and deserts all circa 10 years old. 7 of the 8 look under severe pressure now. They all blossomed beautifully. The best we have ever had. Their transition from blossoming to flush with leaves though has not happened successfully. It appears all the blossoms are dying, gone brown and shriveled up. Now the leaves are drying out and dying too. Is it lack of water? surely not as no other tree has suffered. All our pear trees are looking fantastic as are our Willows and Horse Chestnuts Please help

Our Response:
I'm afraid this is a tricky question to answer as it could be a few problems, such as disease etc. Underwatering is not likely to be one cause if your tree is well established as the roots will dig down to find water. I have included an RHS link here which may help you further.
FruitExpert - 31-May-16 @ 11:21 AM
I have 8 apple trees, varying between cooking apples, cider and deserts all circa 10 years old.7 of the 8 look under severe pressure now.They all blossomed beautifully.The best we have ever had.Their transition from blossoming to flush with leaves though has not happened successfully.It appears all the blossoms are dying, gone brown and shriveled up.Now the leaves are drying out and dying too. Is it lack of water? surely not as no other tree has suffered.All our pear trees are looking fantastic as are our Willows and Horse Chestnuts Please help
Dan - 30-May-16 @ 12:31 PM
please could you tell me why the Braeburn Apple is not in your book when it is widely available to buy in the uk?thanks
Gavler33 - 24-Apr-16 @ 8:29 AM
Tina - Your Question:
Hi. We are planning on relocating two apple trees (8 & 7 years old) and one pear tree (4 years old) Is it safe to move them and if so is there a better time to do so?

Our Response:
It may be a little late to re-plant this year as you should really tackle this after frost and before the trees comes out of their winter dormancy. Dependent upon the size of the trees you should keep in mind the roots will have spread both across and downwards to the same height of the tree and while some damage will be expected, too much could kill. It's a tricky job and one that will need quite a bit of man or womanpower. Moving a tree is very stressful for the plant, so it before and after care will have to be researched thoroughly.
FruitExpert - 18-Apr-16 @ 11:16 AM
Hi. We are planning on relocating two apple trees (8 & 7 years old) and one pear tree (4 years old) Is it safe to move them and if so is there a better time to do so?
Tina - 17-Apr-16 @ 9:35 AM
Hi, Am in Uganda, Eastern part of Africa, I am so interested in planting apples I need anyone who can supply me, even if with only two tree plants. Anyone willing to help?
Robby - 23-Feb-16 @ 8:36 AM
Juwev - Your Question:
Hi, I was given an apple tree that a friend dug up at the end of last summer. I replanted in my garden and have noticed it isn't shooting at all. Does this mean it has died?

Our Response:
I'd give it a bit of time before you try to establish whether or not it has died as dormant plants wake up at different times in the spring. However, you can also do a scratch test - if you take of a small knife and score a piece from the cambium layer (beneath the bark), it should be a greenish colour if the tree is alive. If it is brittle and brown then I'm afraid your tree hasn't survived.
FruitExpert - 17-Feb-16 @ 2:58 PM
Hi, I was given an apple tree that a friend dug up at the end of last summer. I replanted in my garden and have noticed it isn't shooting at all. Does this mean it has died?
Juwev - 17-Feb-16 @ 11:52 AM
@non- it may be because we've had a winter frost and the weather has warmed up since, so the trees think it is spring.
Ali - 10-Dec-15 @ 3:13 PM
Can you tell me why my apple and pear trees are budding and it's December thanks
non - 10-Dec-15 @ 2:11 PM
Hi, I have 2 cooking apple trees in my garden whichplanted about 16 years ago.They have been good producers.This year, (I don't know if I am going a bit bonkers !) they have produced lovely red/yellow eating apples !!How is this ?
kat - 23-Oct-15 @ 3:26 PM
Hiya am looking to buy two apple trees tangy flavoured eating apples for allotment plustwo plums one tangy one sweet can you help plz.
mike - 22-Oct-15 @ 10:55 PM
My Ergomont Russet is blooming right now, in September! What should I do?
bevly - 20-Sep-15 @ 1:34 PM
Nikki - Your Question:
My family and took a walk near the beach by our house and noticed the beach house now has two apple trees. For fun we picked a few but my son is dying to eat them. How do I know if there safe to eat?

Our Response:
While not wanting to ruin your son's enjoyment, you may need to get some advice from the local garden centre. Get it wrong and if they are cooking apples, they will give him a stomach ache, crab apples will taste bitter and other wild apples have not been treated so may be wormy, or have other parasites. So, if you are unsure a few prior checks may be advisable.
FruitExpert - 10-Aug-15 @ 11:32 AM
My family and took a walk near the beach by our house and noticed the beach house now has two apple trees. For fun we picked a few but my son is dying to eat them. How do I know if there safe to eat?
Nikki - 7-Aug-15 @ 5:41 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • FruitExpert
    Re: Pear Trees
    None - Your Question:My pear tree starts with a lot of small fruit, but very quickly they turn blackand dries up?
    24 May 2017
  • None
    Re: Pear Trees
    My pear tree starts with a lot of small fruit, but very quickly they turn black and dries up?
    23 May 2017
  • Gav
    Re: Why do we not hear about Winberries?
    Wimberries are really common around bolton and chorley and many people collect them for pies in summer. And in…
    22 May 2017
  • Chief
    Re: Pear Trees
    I brought a pear tree,it blossomed now all the buds have fell off,any ideas
    20 May 2017
  • Rentam
    Re: Cherry Trees
    Last year my tree had a lot of sap on the trunk (clear jelly) and very few leaves in the summer. This spring it has had wonderful blossom and sap on…
    19 May 2017
  • FruitExpert
    Re: Cherry Trees
    Dr Turab Syed - Your Question:I have two trees in garden which blossom in spring ( cherry blossom) like whole Milton Keynes is turned out in blossom. T
    17 May 2017
  • Maga
    Re: Growing Grapes
    Can I plant grape vine in Enugu state Nigeria and if I can please tell me how I will do it
    17 May 2017
  • Blackie
    Re: Pear Trees
    Hi my conference mini pear tree is in a large plant pot it blossoms brilliant get plenty of pepears on but they all drop off and the leafs go black and…
    14 May 2017
  • Jane
    Re: Pear Trees
    Hi ,someone above asked about Harvest Green pear tree ..I have just purchased one from Homebase for £14 plus ,am gonna prepare ground then plant it My…
    14 May 2017
  • Dr Turab Syed
    Re: Cherry Trees
    I have two trees in garden which blossom in spring ( cherry blossom) like whole Milton Keynes is turned out in blossom. Then they have yellow fruit…
    13 May 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the FruitExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.