A member of the rose family. The genus Malus contains 30-55 species of apples and crab apples from Asia,
Europe, and North America. Apples originated in Central Asia, home of a wild ancestor, Malus sieversii.
Most of the cultivated apple varieties are from the European apple (Malus pumila) and its hybrids.
Apples are grown worldwide for their fruit and have more than 7500 cultivars.
Lifespan: 60-100 years.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Moderate.
Mature Size: 30-50' high and as wide without a grafted rootstock.
Flowers: White tinged with fading pink, five petals, in a cluster
of 4-6 flowers.
Bloom: Spring, at the same time leaves develop. Blossoming
lasts about 30 days.
Self-fruitful: Some apple cultivars are self-fruitful, others
require a different cultivar to provide pollen.
Years before fruiting: One, but number and quality of apples
takes 3-5 years to reach full potential.
Fruit: Round, white to pale yellow flesh, waxy skin
of various colors.
Months for fruit to ripen: 2.3-7, depending on cultivar.
Storage after harvest: Depending on cultivar, 2 weeks to 1 year
Leaves: Yellow green to dark green, ovate to lanceolate shaped,
finely toothed edges, lighter underneath.
Stems: Trunk bark reddish gray, thin, irregularly fissured.
Roots: The tree is usually grafted onto a rootstock that is
pest and disease resistant. The rootstock reduces the height
of the tree to 3-15', making the apples easier to harvest.
Wildlife: Attracts bees, birds, mammals. Rabbits find the bark
very tasty and chew it off. The bottom trunk of the tree must
be surrounded by a layer of 1/2" wire mesh.
Toxic / Danger: Seeds and leaves contain tiny amounts of
hydrogen cyanide. Fruit is edible. Seeds are toxic only if eaten
in large quantities.
Origin: Central Asia. Domesticated for thousands of years.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 4-9.
Sunset climate zones: A1 - A3, 8 - 24.
Chill hours: For the hot desert USDA zones 8-9, select a
cultivar that has a chill requirement of 100-300 hours such as 'Anna'
or 'Dorsett Golden'. For colder climates, higher chill numbers are
Heat tolerant: Depends on cultivar.
Sun: Full sun.
Drought tolerant: Moderate.
Water after becoming established: Using two-ring basin irrigation,
flood until the soil is wet 18-20" deep, every 7-14 days, depending
on soil and temperature.
Soil: Well drained, 3' deep or more, high organic content,
slightly sandy, pH 6.1-7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral). Test the
hole for drainage before you plant. Soil that remains wet can
kill the tree from root rot. Plant on top of a 4' mound, or a
slope, to get proper drainage.
Fertilize: Use a 10-10-10 general purpose fertilizer.
Fertilize once a year in the spring.
Use one-half pound of fertilizer for every year of the tree's age
up to 15 years. Do not exceed 7.5 pounds. Spread the fertilizer
out to the drip line and keep one foot away from the trunk.
Mulch: Not necessary in the home garden.
Prune: In winter, remove dead, broken and diseased branches.
Remove any branches growing down, straight up, toward the trunk,
crossing or rubbing against other branches.
After fruit set, remove young apples when they are marble-sized
so that only one remains every 6" along a branch. This will prevent
the tree from being over stressed and malnourished, and the apples
from ripening too small.
Litter: Leaf and apple litter in fall. Both must be removed
quickly to prevent disease and avoid attracting mammals.
Propagation: Cuttings grafted onto special rootstock.
Seeds do not breed true but can produce a large, vigorous tree.
Uses: Ornamental, edible fruit.
Former botanical names are Malus domestica and Malus communus.
Do you have additional information or a different
experience for this plant that you would like to share?
Email email@example.com. All contributions
are welcome and appreciated.