The tree originated in Central Asia. Alexander the Great is credited with finding dwarfed apples in Kazakhstan in 328 BCE. Seen as a mystical or forbidden fruit by some cultures, the apple tree is thought to be the earliest tree to have been cultivated in a farming setting. It's used primarily as a food crop; about 69 million tonnes of apples grown worldwide in 2010.
Culture for Edible Fruiting Apple
Ideal planting time is late autumn to early spring (during dormancy is preferred). Sun or shade is preferred, depending on the variety, but they are fully hardy. Ideal pH range is 5.0 to 6.5. Apples need a pollination partner planted within 20 metres of each other for optimum fruit production. Rootstocks influence the size of the tree, the age of fruit production and its yield.
Concerns about Edible Fruiting Apple
Pests affecting apples include apple sawfly, codling moth, aphids, twig cutter weevil, birds, and winter moth caterpillar. Apples are commonly affected by foliar diseases such as scab, powdery mildew, sooty blotch, fly speck. Canker diseases sometime affect the twigs and stems of apples, whilst bitter pit, scab and brown rot can infect the fruit. Honey fungus and Phytophthora.
Management Practices for Edible Fruiting Apple
Early insecticide and/or fungicides sprays, i.e. mid April to late May, are necessary to successfully control pests and diseases. Three sprays need to be applied. Commencing sprays in June will produce little control. Winter wash (Oct Feb) to prevent reinfection. Fertilise in autumn or spring if deficiency symptoms were evident during the growing season and analyse soil for any imbalances/unsuitable conditions. If Honey Fungus is present, RCX and application of biologicals is key at the first sign of symptoms to help control further infection.