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Apples

UK Garden Centre - Overview of apple trees

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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 weather.

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