Jake Peterson for PlantOGram In a past blog, we’ve already talked about why it’s important...Read more
Apple Tree Granny Smith Variety Grafted
Apple Tree Granny Smith Variety Grafted in a 3 Gallon Container. Granny Smith Apples are crisp, juicy, and tart which makes them perfect for either baking in pies, stewed in sauces or eating out of hand. They're also great in salads because once cut, they keep their color longer than other apples. Low chill requirement good for Southern climates.
Origin of Name
Maturation And Harvest
Apple tree (Malus domestica) Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Rosales Family: Rosaceae Subfamily: Maloideae Genus: Malus Species: M. domestica Binomial name Malus domestica Borkh. The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. The tree is small and deciduous, reaching 5-12 m tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown. The leaves are alternately arranged simple ovals 5-12 cm long and 3-6 cm broad on a 2-5 cm petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside. Flowers are produced in spring simultaneous with the budding of the leaves. The flowers are white, five petaled, 2.5-3.5 cm in diameter, white with a pink tinge that gradually fades. The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically 5-9 cm diameter (rarely up to 15 cm). The centre of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds.
Origin of Name
The word "apple" comes from the Old English word æppel, which in turn has recognisable cognates in a number of the northern branches of the Indo-European language family. The prevailing theory is that "apple" may be one of the most ancient Indo-European words (*abl-) to come down to English in a recognisable form. The scientific name malus, on the other hand, comes from the Latin word for apple, and ultimately from the archaic Greek malon (melon in later dialects). The legendary placename Avalon is thought to come from a Celtic evolution of the same root as the English "apple"; the name of the town of Avellino, near Naples in Italy is likewise thought to come from the same root via the Italic languages. Linnaeus assigned the apple to the genus Pyrus, along with pears and quinces. Philip Miller subsequently separated the apple into its own genus, a division repeatedly ratified over many years.
Wild Malus sieversii apple in Kazakhstan Apple cut horizontally, showing seedsThe wild ancestor of Malus domestica is Malus sieversii. It has no common name in English, but is known in Kazakhstan, where it is native, as 'alma'; in fact, the region where it is thought to originate is called Alma-Ata, or 'father of the apples'. This tree is still found wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang, China. For many years, there was a debate about whether M. domestica evolved from chance hybridisation among various wild species. Recent DNA analysis by Barrie Juniper, Emeritus Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences at Oxford University and others, has indicated, however, that the hybridisation theory is probably false. Instead, it appears that a single species still growing in the Ili Valley on the northern slopes of the Tien Shan mountains at the border of northwest China and the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan is the progenitor of the apples we eat today. Leaves taken from trees in this area were analyzed for DNA composition, which showed them all to belong to the species M. sieversii, with some genetic sequences common to M. domestica. Some individual M. sieversii, recently planted by the US government at a research facility, resist many diseases and pests that affect domestic apples, and are the subject of continuing research to develop new disease-resistant apples. Other species that were previously thought to have made contributions to the genome of the domestic apples are Malus baccata and Malus sylvestris, but there is no hard evidence for this in older apple cultivars. These and other Malus species have been used in some recent breeding programmes to develop apples suitable for growing in climates unsuitable for M. domestica, mainly for increased cold tolerance. The apple tree was perhaps the earliest tree to be cultivated, and apples have remained an important food in all cooler climates. To a greater degree than other tree fruit, except possibly citrus, apples store for months while still retaining much of their nutritive value. Winter apples, picked in late autumn and stored just above freezing, have been an important food in Asia and Europe for millennia, as well as in Argentina and in the United States since the arrival of Europeans.
Like most perennial fruits, apples are ordinarily propagated asexually by grafting. Seedling apples are different from their parents, sometimes radically. Most new apple cultivars originate as seedlings, which either arise by chance or are bred by deliberately crossing cultivars with promising characteristics. The words 'seedling', 'pippin', and 'kernel' in the name of an apple cultivar suggest that it originated as a seedling. Apples can also form bud sports (mutations on a single branch). Some bud sports turn out to be improved strains of the parent cultivar. Some differ sufficiently from the parent tree to be considered new cultivars.. Some breeders have crossed ordinary apples with crabapples or unusually hardy apples in order to produce hardier cultivars. For example, the Excelsior Experiment Station of the University of Minnesota has, since the 1930s, introduced a steady progression of important hardy apples that are widely grown, both commercially and by backyard orchardists, throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its most important introductions have included 'Haralson' (which is the most widely cultivated apple in Minnesota), 'Wealthy', 'Honeygold', and 'Honeycrisp'.
Apples are self-incompatible and must be cross-pollinated to develop fruit. Pollination management is an important component of apple culture. Before planting, it is important to arrange for pollenizers, cultivars of apple or crab apple that provide plentiful, viable and compatible pollen. Orchard blocks may alternate rows of compatible cultivars, or may have periodic crab apple trees, or grafted-on limbs of crab apple. Some cultivars produce very little pollen, or the pollen is sterile, so these are not good pollenizers. Quality nurseries have pollenizer compatibility lists. Growers with old orchard blocks of single cultivars sometimes provide bouquets of crab apple blossoms in drums or pails in the orchard for pollenizers. Home growers with a single tree, and no other cultivars in the neighbourhood can do the same on a smaller scale. During the flowering each season, apple growers usually provide pollinators to carry the pollen. Honeybee hives are most commonly used, and arrangements may be made with a commercial beekeeper who supplies hives for a fee. Orchard mason bees are also used as supplemental pollinators in commercial orchards. Home growers may find these more acceptable in suburban locations because they do not sting. Some wild bees such as carpenter bees and other solitary bees may help. Bumble bee queens are sometimes present in orchards, but not usually in enough quantity to be significant pollinators. Symptoms of inadequate pollination are excessive fruit drop (when marble sized), small and misshapen apples, slowness to ripen, and low seed count. Well pollinated apples are the best quality, and will have 7 to 10 seeds. Apples having fewer than 3 seeds will usually not mature and will drop from the trees in the early summer. Inadequate pollination can result from either a lack of pollinators or pollenizers, or from poor pollinating weather at flowering time. It generally requires multiple bee visits to deliver sufficient grains of pollen to accomplish complete pollination. Apple tree in flower a common problem is a late frost that destroys the delicate outer structures of the flower. It is best to plant apples on a slope for air drainage, but not on a south facing slope (in the northern hemisphere) as this will encourage early flowering and increase susceptibility to frost. If the frost is not too severe, the tree can be wetted with water spray before the morning sun hits the flowers, and it may save them. Frost damage can be evaluated 24 hours after the frost. If the pistil has turned black, the flower is ruined and will not produce fruit. Growing apples near a body of water can give an advantage by slowing spring warm up, which retards flowering until frost is less likely. In some areas of the USA, such as the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, the southern shore of Lake Ontario, and around some smaller lakes, this cooling effect of water, combined with good, well-drained soils, has made apple growing concentrations possible. However, the cool, humid spring weather in such locations can also increase problems with fungal diseases, notably apple scab; many of the most important apple-growing regions (e.g. northern China, central Turkey, and eastern Washington in the USA) have climates more like the species' native region well away from the sea or any lakes, with cold winters leading to a short, but warm spring with low risk of frost. Home growers may not have a body of water to help, but can utilise north slopes or other geographical features to retard spring flowering. Apples (or any fruit) planted on a south facing slope in the northern hemisphere (or north facing in the southern hemisphere), will flower early and be particularly vulnerable to spring frost.
Maturation And Harvest
Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock. Some cultivars, if left unpruned, will grow very large, which allows them to bear a great deal more fruit, but makes harvest very difficult. Mature trees typically bear 40-200 kg of apples each year, though productivity can be close to zero in poor years. Apples are harvested using three-point ladders that are designed to fit amongst the branches. Dwarf trees will bear about 10-80 kg of fruit per year.
Apples, with skin (edible parts) Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 50 kcal 220 kJ
Carbohydrates 13.81 g
Sugars 10.39 g
Dietary fiber 2.4 g
Fat 0.17 g
Protein 0.26 g
Thiamin (Vit. B1) 0.017 mg 1%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.026 mg 2%
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.091 mg 1%
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.061 mg 1%
Vitamin B6 0.041 mg 3%
Folate (Vit. B9) 3 µg 1%
Vitamin C 4.6 mg 8%
Calcium 6 mg 1%
Iron 0.12 mg 1%
Magnesium 5 mg 1%
Phosphorus 11 mg 2%
Potassium 107 mg 2%
Zinc 0.04 mg 0%
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
An old proverb attests to the health benefits of the fruit: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Like many fruits, apples contain Vitamin C as well as a host of other antioxidant compounds, which may reduce the risk of cancer by preventing DNA damage. The fibre content, while less than in most other fruits, helps regulate bowel movements and may thus reduce the risk of colon cancer. They may also help with heart disease, weight loss and controlling cholesterol, as they do not have any cholesterol, have fibre (which reduces cholesterol by preventing reabsorption), and are bulky for their caloric content like most fruits and vegetables. A group of chemicals in apples could protect the brain from the type of damage that triggers such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer's and Parkinsonism. Chang Y. 'Cy' Lee of the Cornell University found that the apple phenolics, which are naturally occurring antioxidants found in fresh apples, can protect nerve cells from neurotoxicity induced by oxidative stress. The researchers used red delicious apples from New York State to provide the extracts to study the effects of phytochemicals. Lee said that all apples are high in the critical phytonutrients and that the amount of phenolic compounds in the apple flesh and in the skin vary from year to year, season to season and from growing region to growing region (November/December 2004 issue of the Journal of Food Science). The predominant phenolic phytochemicals in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2 (PMID 14558772). The seeds are mildly poisonous, containing a small amount of amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside, but a large amount would need to be chewed to have any toxic effect. Pesticide contamination is linked to an increasing number of diseases, and they are mostly found on the outside of fruits and vegetables. Washing or peeling before eating may reduce pesticide intake but peeling will also reduce the intake of the beneficial nutrients. Apple consumption can help remove trapped food and clean between the teeth, but the malic acid contained within the fruit is also capable of eroding tooth enamel over time, and through excess consumption.