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Apple Tree selection

When choosing apple trees, knowledge of eventual size, pollination group, and best location in the garden is advisable.

Tree size:

Trees that are restricted in some way generally take up the least space.

These include: Cordons, Espaliers and Fans all of which are generally trained along a wall, fence or purpose made support frame.

Standard, half-standard and bush trees require the most space.

Root stock:

Most apple cultivars are grafted on to root stocks, these rootstocks can influence the trees suitability to location and soil type, the following table will help to clarify this.

Rootstock M27

Tree height and spread can be as little as 900mm (36")

This rootstock is only suited to fertile soils.

Trees need permanent staking.

Rootstock M9:

Tree height and spread 1.8-3m (6-10ft)

Suitable for cordons.

This rootstock is only suited to fertile soils.

Trees need permanent support.

Rootstock M26:

Tree height and spread 2.4-3.6m.(8-12ft)

This rootstock is suitable for restricted and containerised trees.

Rootstock MM106:

Tree height and spread 3.6-5m.(12-16ft)

This rootstock is suitable for bushes, half-standards, and restricted forms on poor soils or where large walls need covering.

Rootstock MM111:

Tree height and spread 4-6.5m (13-21ft)

Suitable for standards and half-standards.

Pollination groups:

In the majority of cases two cultivars should be grown to allow cross pollination, this also includes self-fertile cultivars which will usually fruit better if cross-pollinated.

One major factor to consider is the flowering season!

There is no point selecting varieties that don't flower at the same time.

Group No.1

Flowering season: Very early

Pollination Group: 1, 2 and 3.

Group No.2

Flowering season: Early

Pollination Group: 1, 2 and 3.

Group No.3

Flowering season: Early / Mid-season

Pollination Group: 2, 3 and 4.

Group No.4

Flowering season: Mid-season

Pollination Group: 3, 4 and 5

.

Group No.5

Flowering season: Late mid season

Pollination Group: 4, 5 and 6.

Group No.6

Flowering season: Late

Pollination Group: 5, 6 and 7

Group No.7

Flowering season: Very Late

Pollination Group: 6

Usually, cultivars from the same or an adjacent group will cross pollinate but it safer to establish this and what group they are in prior to purchase.

Location:

Apple trees prefer a warm sunny area where the soil is quite deep, free draining, and has a pH of around 6.5

Avoid frost pockets as this can affect pollination i.e. too cold for pollinating insects and/or the flower buds may freeze and abort.





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