Apple trees are a lot like people; plant them in the wrong place and they just aren’t happy. What’s great for one apple tree may be intolerable for another. That’s why one of the most important things you should do before planting any fruit tree is to research the best varieties for your region.
The photo above is glaring example of how two apple trees planted side by side can perform so differently in the same climate. While both are originally from England, in my orchard they are world’s apart. Bramley’s Seedling is a robust grower and producer of large, tart blemish-free apples. Cherry Cox Pippin on the other hand is the orchard weakling, prone to disease, and fussy about weather, water and sun. I don’t spray my apple trees, so disease resistance and vigor are important attributes when I choose a new variety for my orchard.
The next time you want to plant a fruit tree, choose wisely grasshopper. Look to the experts in your area, like extension programs, garden forums and nurseries. As gardeners, we’re a chatty lot and always looking to toss in our two cents about what works and what doesn’t in the garden, orchard, meadow or pond. And look to universities, where research and studies highlight best practices and how-tos. The more you know the farther you grow.
Here are some resources you may find helpful in finding the best apple for your backyard:
- My favorite apples
- GardenWeb Forums: Search by topic or region to find gardening answers or post a question.
- Cox Pippin: Index of Apple Varieties
- Washington State University: Apple Trials
- University of Missouri: Disease-Resistant Apple Cultivars
- Ohio State University: Growing Apples in the Home Orchard
- Apple Journal: Choosing Apples
- Fine Gardening: No-Spray Organic Apples
- Purdue Extension: Managing Scab-Resistant Apples
- Dave Wilson Nursery: Apple List & Descriptions
- Trees of Antiquity Nursery: Apple List & Descriptions