Apples are the most
important of all fruit crops, because they have
so many uses and can be stored or frozen to use
all year. They are also the hardiest fruit, cropping
well in cold climes where, apart from the gooseberry,
little else would grow so well.
Apples may be grown as standards or as bushes,
or in the cordon and dwarf pyramid form. Cordons
and pyramids are suitable for the small garden.
In recent years, British growers have followed
the lead given by the Dwarf Fruit Trees Association
of America, producing a ten-fold increase in density
by using the new Malling rootstocks. On Malling
IX, the trees will come quickly into heavy bearing.
They bear fruit rather than make wood, which means
growers should know how to prune them and provide
the trees with a balanced diet. Bush trees on
this rootstock may be planted 240-270cm (8-9ft)
apart; pyramids 180-210cm (6-7ft); cordons 90-120cm
(3-4ft). The most vigorous kinds, i.e. Bramley’s
Seedlings and Newton Wonder, are unsuited to this
rootstock. For these, Malling II Rootstock is
suitable and after five to six years, the trees
may be expected to yield up to 180kg (10 bushels
or 400lb) of fruit compared with a maximum yield
of 18kg (1 bushel) from all trees on Malling IX
at whatever the age. Plant bush trees 3m (10ft)
apart; standards 4.5m (15ft) apart.
Trees on the dwarfing rootstocks need careful
staking, for they do not produce such large roots
as on the more vigorous stocks. Stake the trees
immediately they are planted, using strong wooden
stakes driven well into the ground about 30cm
(12in) from the roots and at a slight angle. Use
one of the patented ties or strips of rubber 30cm
(12in) long, cut from the inner tube of a tyre.
The stake must not be in contact with the bark
of the tree, or it may rub against it during windy