Plant bare-root trees Dec 15 – Feb 15
Most “regular” apple trees (Malus domestica) will grow quite large. Apples belong to the rose family, much beloved by deer. It is possible to “dwarf” apple trees by grafting on dwarfing rootstock and by summer pruning, beginning in June, but continuing throughout the summer.
Also see Texas Agrilife Apples PDF
Commercial apples may be stored 9-14 mos before appearing in supermarkets. Average in US supermarkets is 14 mos old. Antioxidant activity in apples gradually drops off after three months of storage in the cold. An apple stored for nearly a year? It will have almost no antioxidants remaining in it whatsoever. Good reason to grow and store your own! If you grow early and late apples, maximum storage time should be 6-7 months. And, really, we can go without apples for a couple months while other fruits are fresh!
Remove fruit by hand. Leave one apple per cluster, and space the clusters about every 6 inches. Start at one end of a branch and systematically remove fruit. To remove the fruit without damaging the spur or other apples on the spur, hold the stem between the thumb and forefinger and push the fruit from the stem with the other fingers. This method removes the apple and leaves the stem attached to the spur.
When picking apples, it is important to avoid injury to the fruit. Remove the apple from the spur by pulling upward and outward while rotating the fruit slightly. On some of the thin, long-stemmed varieties such as Golden Delicious, it is sometimes necessary to firmly place the index finger at the point of attachment on the stem and spur to prevent the spur from breaking. Apples picked with the stem attached to the fruit keep longer.
It seems to me that the most important consideration in root stocks is adaptability to local soils. Does the root stock perform well in calcareous soils? See Root Stocks for Apples.
Diseases and Insects in Texas
The best quality fruit is produced when diseases and insects are controlled. Common apple diseases that should be controlled include scab, cedar apple rust, fireblight, sooty blotch and bitter rot. Damaging insects are spider mites, plum curculio, aphids and coddling moth.
Tamu.edu recommended varieties for Zone 1 (Gillespie) of Texas:
Jersey Mac, Adina, Gala, Mollie’s Delicious, Ozark Gold, Starkrimson Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady
Note: Planting specifically warm-climate apples may be a mistake. Note the info in this email from Baxter Adams of Love Creek Orchards in Medina (Zone 8a):
“We graft and sell Anna and Dorsett Golden to folks at lower elevations, but we are a little too cold for them here. It wants to bloom about Christmas, before our winter really starts. Despite all, they usually make some apples on our graftwood trees. I picked a ripe Dorsett a few minutes ago. Our usual first harvest (Galas) is July 7th and our biggest harvest month is August. We let the Grannies and Pink Ladies hang as long as we can for maximum flavor. Most of my sales these days are pick-your-own customers because their kids need it for their mental health. I have a Red delicious that gives me super good red color (Adams Apple), Crispin, an early and a late Fuji, 2 different Jonathans, Mollies delicious, Jonagold,
Granny and Pink Lady. We’ve tried 50 or so and settled on these.”
Currently (Nov ’15) Love Creek lists these varieties on their Orchards page:
Apples: Gala, Fuji, Jonathan, Crispin, Goldina, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Anna, Dorsett Golden, Jonagold.
Tamu.edu recommends for “North Central Texas”: APPLES (Malus pumila):
Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Holland, Jerseymac, Mollie’s Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith
Purchasing Trees (Tamu.edu)
The old adage “you get what you pay for” is an important consideration when buying apple trees. Bargain plants may not be healthy or may be a variety not adapted to your area. Buy only trees of recommended varieties from a reliable source.
Remember the following points when purchasing apple trees.
- A healthy 1-year-old whip, approximately 2 to 3 feet tall with a 1/2-inch diameter trunk and a good root system, is preferred.
- A small tree with a good root system is more desirable than a large tree with a poor root system.
- Trees that are 2 years old or older are often not as good as 1-year-old trees. Older trees frequently lack sufficient buds on the lower portion of the trunk to develop a good framework. If older trees are purchased, cut them back to force out buds lower on the main trunk.
- Do not purchase trees that appear stunted, poorly grown, diseased or insect injured.
- Closely check labels to make sure the selection is the desired variety and rootstock; it is critical that the rootstock be specified, otherwise one may get a seedling rootstock which is very slow to bear.
- Do not purchase dried, shriveled plants even at discount prices.
Many of the 6,000 named apple varieties have given way to superior tasting varieties. Some apple varieties such Red Delicious and Golden Delicious are also available in various strains. A strain is a mutation of a variety that has been selected and propagated for an improved characteristic. Strains may differ in fruit or growth characteristics or both. Some varieties have many strains; for example, approximately 250 different strains of Red Delicious have been described and cultivated.
Strains may be spur-type or nonspur-type. Spur-type strains are ideally suited for home gardeners with space limitations because fruit spurs and leaf buds are more closely spaced than on nonspur strains. Spur strains of a variety generally grow only about 60 to 70 percent as large as the nonspur strains of that variety.
Many apple varieties can be grown in Texas. Top varieties are listed in order of ripening season. Refer to the Texas map for areas of adaptation for each variety.
Late June – Early July
Jersey Mac – Red McIntosh type apple with crisp texture and tart flavor.
Early to Mid-July
Adina – large fruit, sweet with distinctive taste.
Late July – Early August
Gala – orange-red, flavor is like a spicy Golden Delicious. A top quality eating apple. Susceptible to fire blight. 600 chill hrs
Stark Royal Gala – like Stark Gala except brighter red.
Early to Mid August
Mollies Delicious – red, excellent dessert quality, not Delicious-type although very similar in appearance and flavor. Good pollinator. Pollinated by Granny or Winesap.
400-500 chill hours. Ripens late August
Ozark Gold – yellow, Delicious-type dessert apple. Good pollinator.
Late August – Early September
Starkrimson Red Delicious – red, excellent quality, Delicious-type, widely planted in this area.
Braeburn – red, highly flavored with an even sugar to acid balance. A heavy cropper that will usually need thinning to
Early to Mid September
Fuji – red, sweet flavor, good crisp texture.
Liberty – disease resistant
Late September – Early October
600-700 chill hrs, Late Sep
Granny Smith – green, excellent quality for dessert or cooking.
Pink Lady – pinkish color with excellent quality for fresh or processing use.
- Gala, Fuji, Mollies Delicious, Yellow Delicious strains (July Gold is really good)
- See description of apple varieties in Texas.
low chill, for South Texas only
Anna Apple Trees
South Texas only, according to Tamu.edu
Zones 5-9. 200 hrs Fruit is green overlaid with about 1/3 red blush. Requires only about 200 hours chilling, yet it has produced well at DeLeon. (7b) Requires pollinizer such as Dorsett Gold. Developed in Israel. Ripens in July.
– an Israeli selection with a chilling requirement of approximately 400 hours. Trees produce at an early age, stores up to 2 months and typically ripens in late June. (http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/files/2010/10/apples.pdf) Will keep 2 – 3 weeks.
Although there are many things to like about Anna and Dorsett, there are some shortcomings also; they bruise easily and do not keep long, especially without refrigeration. They ripen over a short period, leaving the farmer with nothing the rest of the year. The flavor is good but does not have the complexity of many commercial apples. Good for drying. http://www.kuffelcreek.com/favorites.htm
Bob Well’s Nursery: 2 year old tree that is 4-5 feet tall, M111, $19.50
Tamu.edu recommended. Late June – Early July. Red McIntosh type apple with crisp texture and tart flavor.
Tamu.edu: Early to Mid-July. Large fruit, sweet with distinctive taste.
* Mollie’s Delicious
Grown as far south as Houston. Ripens late August.
New York, 1966 Unrelated to the accursed Red Delicious, Mollie’s Delicious is an excellent apple for hot climates, a cross between Golden Delicious and Red Gravenstein. Sweet, firm, crisp, and aromatic but with not much acid. Has a beautiful red blush over yellow. Pollinator required: Fuji, or Granny Smith; ripens mid-season, stays crisp in the heat, keeps rather well, supposedly improves after a month in storage. http://www.kuffelcreek.com/favorites.htm
Womack: Bob Wells:
Akane apple / M27 or MM126[SPRING] DW
A veritable jewel, and a great mid-season treat. Adaptable to zones 5 -9 and many climate conditions. In this time slot, nothing else compares. A small apple with big flavor, it is as consistent a producer as any variety under the most unfavorable conditions. (Dave Wilson)
- Species: Malus domestica
- Parentage: Jonathan x Worcester Pearmain
- Originates from: Japan
- Introduced: 1937
- Developed by: Morioka Experimental Station
- Akane ripens late August – early September. Like most early varieties the apples do not keep that long, however they hang on the tree rather than falling and cropping can therefore take place over a number of weeks. For the best flavor leave to ripen fully. Akane can also be used for summer apple cookery, slices will keep their shape when cooked.
Pronounced ‘ah-kah-nay,’ this firm, crisp and fully flavored red eating apple produces good crops every year, no matter how bad the spring pollinating weather. The scab and mildew resistant apple from Japan is an excellent variety for the organic grower. It ripens in early to mid September. Raintree, Trees of Antiquity $36.95
* Fuji TTW
Very crisp, sweet and flavorful.
- Chill hours: 500 Ripens Mid- September (Bob Wells) Dave Wilson’s Taste Test Top Scorer. Low chill hours, good choice for milder climates. Good keeper. Developed in the 1940’s in Japan and has since become California’s favorite apple. It is widely grown in China, the world’s largest apple growing region, accounting for 70% of production. Keeps 3 mos or more.
- Pollination: Self-fruitful and best pollenizer for other varieties
- Japan, 1962 Despite its commercial success, few people have tasted Fuji as it was meant to be, which is sweet, flavorful, crunchy, and ridiculously juicy. This is because it can require over 200 days to ripen to full maturity, long after the season ends in many apple-growing regions. Here in Southern California it can hang on the tree until its heart’s content, pumping the full quota of sugar and flavor into the orangish yellow flesh. Just because the skin has colored up doesn’t mean it is ripe, although the skin never does really color up well. Fuji’s grown here are world-class, and it can really take the heat. It takes about 5 years to start producing, but reliably sets a full crop every year after that despite neglect. Ripens in mid December, keeps extremely well, self-fertile. A mandatory apple for home gardeners to grow. http://www.kuffelcreek.com/applelist.htm
Bob Wells: 2 yr, M111, $19.50
* Granny Smith
Australia, 1868 Few folk realize that this is the oldest supermarket apple variety. It sprouted from a washtub of French crab apple trimmings tossed out by an actual granny, Maria Anne Smith of the Ryde District of New South Wales. You may be surprised if you’re expecting the homogenous, lime-green coloring like in the supermarket, as when ripe Granny Smith has a pinkish-orange blush on the sunny side. It is in high demand at our local U-pick orchards, which puzzles me as it is readily available at any supermarket. It needs a long, hot summer to attain the best flavor, and thus does well in our Southern California climate, requiring very little care. http://www.kuffelcreek.com/applelist.htm
(Better than Arkansas Black, same color. Arkansas zones are 6a-8a) Arkansas, 1893 This turned out to be one of our favorite apples, and for good reason; it was Stark Bros. Nursery’s biggest producer for years and considered tops in flavor in warm climates, proving itself very adaptable. The apples are very hard until ripe and are somewhat insect-resistant. It turns deep purple, almost black and hangs late on the tree and should be picked when full color develops. Yellow flesh, firm, crisp and juicy with a deep, dark, rich winey flavor that matches the color, a favorite with most people who try it.
Should be fine, since it is a “northern” tree. England, 1800 Bramley is the national cooking apple of England and many will find it odd for it to be on this list, but it has proven to be very reliable in a tropic climate. It is very vigorous (the original 200-year-old tree is still growing and bearing apples in Nottingham) and annual bearing. It is quite tart until completely ripe and makes an applesauce that will about blow your head off with an intense flavor. For an apple from such a cool climate it sure is not bothered by the heat any, tolerating 45 C. with no problems.
Dixie Red Delight
Alabama, 1960’s (Alabama zones are 6b-8b)A sport of Red Delight of the early 1900’s, Dixie Red Delight was developed by an amateur horticulturist, Oren T. Bolding, of Sylacauga, Alabama. It was patented in 1960 (Plant Patent No. 1974) and rights sold to H. G. Hastings Company of Atlanta, Georgia, who assigned their rights to the Commercial Nursery Company of Dechard, Tennessee. Fruit is medium to large, with red skin and yellow ground color. Flavor is sharp, sweet, aromatic, and spicy, and improves in storage; the closest thing to Virginia Winesap we’ve tasted in a hot climate. Keeps well and improves in storage, bears heavily and reliably, ripe late December and blooms late. An excellent apple that has been tested very good for Southern California
Australia, 1935 A Granny Smith offspring that is also a parent of Pink Lady. A pinkish-red apple with a distinctive horizontal white stripe on one side that ripens very late and needs a long hot season. In our climate it may ripen well into the New Year, probably February. Will keep until the first summer apples ripen and improves in storage. It is quite tart until fully ripe, when it developed a nice sweet/tart balance. So far it has out-produced its offspring Cripp’s Pink (aka Pink Lady) and has been tested very good for Southern California and added to our favorites list. It is one of the few apples that achieve marketable size, color, fruit quality, and production for commercial growing in Southern California
Georgia, USA, 1850’s (Georgia zones 6b-8b) An excellent old southern apple noted for its long-keeping abilities for warm winter areas. It originated before the American Civil War with a Mr. Terry of Fulton County, Georgia, and was soon widely sold throughout Georgia and neighboring states. Medium-sized fruit with thick, tough yellow skin covered with stripes and splashes of red and crimson. The white flesh is crisp, sweet/tart and juicy. This is one of the most prolific varieties we have, setting a huge crop the second year. Make sure to thin heavily for the best quality. Ripens late in the season over a long period.
Good Apples But Not on Kuffelcreek Favorite List
Honey Crisp TTW (Dave Wilson)
- 800-1000 Chill Hrs, Zones3-8
- Fruit is mottled red over yellow background color. Very crisp flesh. Excellent eating and keeping qualities. Ripens late September. (Bob Wells) Needs pollenizer: Gala, Granny, Red Delicious.
University of Minnesota, 1962 Yes, you’re reading right; the same Honeycrisp you see in the supermarket. Word is spreading like wildfire that it does very well in hot climates, and the ones we picked from our orchard this year were WONDERFUL! It was a stinking hot September, well over 100 since Labor Day, but the apples we picked were sweet, juicy, very crisp, a bit denser than in the store, but very, very nice with not a mark on them. Oddly enough it is famous for being hardy though the bitter winters of the upper Midwest, but it is not the first Northern apple to do well here (see Wealthy). It ripens in late September to early October, and keeps very well in the refrigerator. It has good pollen and is partly self-fertile, and will pollinate other trees.
Womack, Stark Bros, Kuffle Creek
Crisp with blend of sweet and tart. Dave Wilson’s Taste Test Top Scorer. Low chill hours, good choice for milder climates. From New Zealand and one of the main commercial apple varieties. Usually available in markets in both the southern and northern hemispheres year round. Ripens Mid-August to early Sep. (Bob Wells.) Will keep up to 3 mos. Pollination: Self-fruitful and a good pollenizer for other varieties
New Zealand, 1920’s Gala seems to grow well no matter what climate it’s raised in. If the only Gala apples you’ve had have been from the supermarket, you haven’t tasted Gala. This pretty apple is best enjoyed right off the tree when it’s crisp, dense flesh and mild, sweet, aromatic flavor is at its peak. It will keep a couple months in the refrigerator, but the flavor just doesn’t stay the same. Keep an eye out for fire blight, as the tree is very susceptible. The tree is vigorous and self-fertile, and recommended very good for Southern California.
Bob Wells, 2 yr, M111, $19.50
* Pink Lady (Cripps Pink) TTW DW
Zones 6-9, native of Western Australia and does extraordinarily well in warm and hot climates. Also thrives in colder climates– cold-hardy and heat-resistant. Pink Lady’s flesh is creamy light yellow, dense and juicy. Fruit size runs medium to large with a subtle aroma of sweet pear, melon and cider. Ripens late October (7b) Will store 3 months or more.
Root Stock: Bud. 9 Soviet Union, recent Short for Budagovski 9,
Dwarfing rootstock developed in the former Soviet Union. It is very dwarfing and makes a tree approximately 8′ tall. We include it in our apple selection because of its striking beauty as a red tree; it has red bark, reddish-green leaves, pink blossoms, and red apples that are not half-bad. They are a bit tart, but would do well for cooking. The apples ripen early fall. Since this is one of the premier commercial rootstocks, there is currently a nation wide shortage and our quantities are limited. http://www.kuffelcreek.com/applelist.htm
Homedale, Idaho- Recent (Should be good, since Idaho zones are 2b-7a) Bred by apple aficionado and all-round nice guy Garfield Shults, Coconut Crunch is an extremely solid apple that ripens fairly late, though it’s hard to tell when it’s ripe because you don’t use it until it has been in storage a while. It’s been known to keep for a full year in ordinary cold storage. Lately our apples from this tree have been excellent, very spicy and rich, and still very firm. We’re recommending it for all hot climates. http://www.kuffelcreek.com/applelist.htm
North Carolina, prior to 1858 Originated near Lake Mattamuskeet (Zone 7b) in coastal North Carolina. An old legend says that it came from a seed found in the gizzard of a wild goose by Mattamuskeet Indians. It was prized as a winter “keeper” that did well in the warmer coastal plains, a rarity that would be quite valuable before refrigeration. It keeps without chilling for months and like many winter keepers improves in storage, often reaching peak in April. It is a very late ripening apple, sometimes waiting until November. The skin is tough, greenish-yellow covered with a rusty red, with a firm, pale yellow flesh that’s moderately juicy and a bit tart when first picked. It mellows out in storage. Such qualities make it a great apple for Southern California, and our testing confirms this. Thanks to Lee Calhoun who rescued it from obscurity in 1986, and alert apple researcher Kenneth Dobyns for finding the correct date while scouring period literature.
Pristine (Co-op 32) PP# 9,881
(apple) – July 10. Yellow apple with smooth, glossy sin. Fruit is high in sugar content with very good keeping quality for an early apple. Tree is vigorus and considered very scab resistant, though somewhat susceptible to fire blight.
Redfree (apple) – August 5
Initial™ (X-6163 cltv.) (apple) – August 20
CrimsonCrisp® (Co-op 39) PP# 16,622 (apple) – September 10
(apple) – September 15
Outstanding, cold hardy, disease resistant apple; resists scab, rust, mildew, fireblight. Has crisp, rich, sprightly flavor. Skin solid red even in hot climates. Use fresh or cooked. Ripens in Sept. 500 hours or less. Self-fruitful; interfruitful with Red Delicious, Empire, McIntosh. Available on M111.
New York, 1966 Hailed as the most disease-resistant apple by folks in humid climates, Liberty is a product of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva fruit breeding program. The beautiful apple with a sweet, spicy flavor comes from an extremely productive tree. Although best eaten fresh, Liberty does store well for several months, and then makes an excellent pie. Ripens in mid-November and is self-fertile. Tested good for Southern California. KuffleCreek
(Svatava cltv.) (apple) – September 15
Trees of this cultivar have a moderate growth habit and are resistant to apple scab but may be susceptible to other diseases. Apples are yellow with a reddish-orange blush, have a sweet/acidic flavor and ripen around early September
Ripens just before Golden Delicious. Very productive, so thin. Sweet-tart. Stores up to 8 mos.
California, 1944 The Crimson Gold apple is the last of dozens of American apple varieties developed by fruit breeder, Albert Etter. Etter was fascinated with crab apples and chose to hybridize an entire class of apples specifically from crab parentage. Crimson Gold apples ripened early November this year for us and got pretty big, and were of excellent quality and nice color. We’re happy to count them as tested good in Southern California. KuffleCreek . Apparently grows in Zone 6b as well. (Adams County Nursery)
Galarina™ (X-4982 cltv.)
(apple) – September 25
Fruit resembles Gala. Will store up to 4 mos. Will hang up to 4 weeks after ripening with very little stem cracking. Vigorous, hardier than Gala, good tolerance to scab and mildew.
Freedom (apple) – October 1
- A scab-resistant cultivar released by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station breeding program. Trees are only moderately resistant to fire blight. The fruit has a spicy flavor and an orangish-red peel. In wet growing seasons, it may be susceptible to black rot.
Crimson® Topaz (Topaz cltv.) (apple) – October 5
Trees have an upright, vigorous growth habit and are resistant to apple scab but only moderately resistant to mildew and fire blight. Fruits are medium-size and yellow with reddish-orange striping. Harvest in mid-September.
Nova Spy (apple) – October 10
Pixie Crunch is immune to apple scab, moderately susceptible to fire blight and susceptible to downy mildew and cedar-apple rust. Trees have a spreading growth habit with some bare wood on their leggy branches. This red apple ripens about the same time as Liberty and the fruit tends to be small, but it has a crisp texture.
Hardy Cumberland (apple) – October 10
Co-op 31 Winecrisp™ PP#20,437 (apple) – October 12
Querina™ (X-2775 cltv.) (apple) – October 12
Enterprise™ (Co-op 30) PP# 9,193
(apple) – October 24
Indiana, 1990 (Formerly known as Co-op 30) A decent apple, but we did not sell enough to justify the yearly patent fee we had to pay, so we were forced to discontinue it. Another product of the PRI breeding program, we found Enterprise by accident when some scionwood was mislabeled. We were delighted however to find that the apples are outstanding in our climate and color up beautifully. The skin goes through several color changes, from green to orange to lavender as they develop a heavy “bloom”, a waxy coating that polishes off. When polished the apple is a solid fire-engine red that gleams like a hot rod. Fresh off the tree the apple is a brisk sub-acid, which mellows after a month or two in storage to a wonderful aroma and rich sweet-tart flavor. Very productive, but has a lot of premature drops . It ripens here in September through October. KuffleCreek
GoldRush (Co-op 38) (apple) – November 10
Illinois, 1972 Developed by the PRI breeding program that also developed Williams’ Pride. AKA Co-op 38, GoldRush is renowned for being battery-acid tart until in storage for a while, but ours are excellent off the tree, rivaling Fuji for fresh eating. It is considered one of the best storing apples, where it improves in flavor. It bears heavily and reliably in Southern California, but is subject to sunburn when exposed to our 110F September heat. Immune to scab, resistant to powdery mildew, we’re happy to be carrying it again now that the patent has expired. KuffleCreek
Kuffle Creek Favorites that are also northern apples:
Akane – Japan
Aunt Rachel ? NC Zones 7a – 8b
Bramley, England, tart until completely ripe. Good for applesauce.
Mollie’s Delicious, New York, cross between Golden Delicious and Red Gravenstein. Needs pollinator: Fuji, Granny or Yellow Delicious.
Red Rebel, Virginia
*Williams’ Pride, Indiana. Disease resistant. Early season, keeps well for early-season apple.
Other Kuffle Creek Varieties:
Coconut Crunch, Idaho. Solid apple, ripens late, stores for a year.
Sundowner/Cripp’s Two, popular in Engand. Ripens very late.
Fuji, Red, Required more than 300 days to ripen. Usually picked immature.
Gala, New Zealand. Susceptibel to fire blight. Self-fertile.
Golden Delicious (in cider apple section)
GoldRush, Illinois. Very tart unless allowed to ripen. Improves in storage if picked unripe.
Granny Smith, AU, tastes much better when picked ripe.
Gravenstein, Italy. Doesn’t like CA heat, so should be good for Harper.
Honeycrisp, University of Minnesota. Takes a few years to start bearing. Never bears heavily. Self-fertile and disease-resistant.
Hudson’s Golden Gem, OR, russet apple, stores well. Tree remains small, tends to biennial production.
King David – check Stark Bros for Zone.
Liberty, NY. Ripens mid-November.
Nittany, PA. Cross between New York Imperial and Golden Delicious. Ripens Oct. Stores up to 6 mos.
Pink Lady aks Cripp’s Pink.
Red Boskop. Netherlands. Good for dessert and cooking. Supposed to improve in storage. Mid-October.
Reverend Morgan, TX, Zones 7-9
Rome Beauty, Ohio. Blossoms late, missing frosts. Good for baking, drying. Keeps well. Good fresh off tree, not so good after storage. Ripens Sep. self-fertile, bears early.
Tompkins County King, NY.
White Winter Pearmain, England.
Yellow Newton Pippin. New York. Improvesw in storage and peaks at 3 months. Considered one of the best bearers in the world Requires yearly pruning.
Kuffle Creek minimum order is 10 bench grafts, $168.00 including SH.