realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Tom Putt

 

Tom Putt, photo courtesy of whatamieating.com/flickr.com

Tom Putt, photo courtesy of whatamieating.com/flickr.com

This is a dual-purpose variety, introduced in Somerset in about 1700. The apples are suitable for cooking and eating (if you like sharp apples), and they make a good-tasting cider without any blending. The tree grows strongly. It is a triploid variety and so required two pollinators.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Hereford Redstreak

Hereford Redstreak, photo courtesy of Dave/flickr.com

Hereford Redstreak, photo courtesy of Dave/flickr.com

Hereford Redstreak is a very old variety, with its origins going back to the 1600s. In the 17th century it was considered as the finest cider variety in England. or even earlier, originating from Hereford. It produces medium-sized fruit, that ends up by making a pink cider, often with a relatively high alcohol content. It is a diploid variety, so not self-fertile: another apple variety is required as a pollinator.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Kingston Black

Kingston Black

Kingston Black, photo courtesy of Poverty Hill and Farnum Lane/flickr.com

This valuable cider apple was introduced in 1880. It grows into a medium-sized spur-bearing tree, producting small, bitter-sharp fruit that keeps well. It is self-sterile, and so needs another apple variety planted close by for pollination.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Dabinett

 

Dabinett, photo courtesy of Edmund French/flickr.com

Dabinett, photo courtesy of Edmund French/flickr.com

Dabinett, introduced in 1860 in Somerset (it was discovered by William Dabinett as a natural seedling in a hedge), grows into a small tree; it is a very fertile variety, and a regular cropper. It is diploid and self-fertile. It produces bitter-sweet fruit that is ready to harvest in late October-early November. Its quality is such that it is frequently used to make a mono-varietal cider.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Ellis Bitter

 

Ellis Bitter

Ellis Bitter

Ellis Bitter is a very precocious variety. It forms a fine, self-sterile tree (a pollinator – another apple tree – is required) with wide-angled branches. It is a tip-bearer, producing bitter-sweet, large, conical fruit that is ready to harvest in late September. The fruit tends to drop when it is ripe. It apparently originates from Devon in the 19th century, from a farm owned by one Mr. Ellis.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Camelot

 

Camelot

Camelot

A vigorous tree that produces attractive pink blossom, and then large, sharp, bitter fruit that resembles Newton Wonder in appearance. It crops fairly late. As well as for cider, the fruit is excellent for making apple sauce. The variety is disease-resistant. It was introduced in Somerset in 1850.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Maintenance for old fruit trees

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Often we hear the comment, “I have an old pear tree and an apple tree, but neither seem to do any good.” Let’s compare a tree to ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves and never go outside if and when we can, we gradually accumulate all sorts of problems too. You may say, what has that got to do with my fruit trees? Surely they are outside all the time?
It’s all to do with light. It does us humans good to be in the sunshine, and the same applies to fruit trees, in the sense that they need good light throughout. If the trees have been left to themselves and have produced masses of shoots all round, virtually a solid mass of growth that creates darkness inside the canopy of the tree, then the leaves are no longer able to carry out the functions they were designed for. Photosynthesis goes into survival mode: the little energy that the shaded leaves manage to produce is used simply to keep the structure alive. There is no energy left to create productive fruiting wood as a replacement for older non-productive branches.
In this situation, the best way to attain a complete reversal is not by removing lots of little bits of wood, but by opening the tree right up by removing four or five large branches, so that the sunshine can penetrate into the centre of the tree. Seal the wounds with Arbrex, feed the tree with organic matter, water the tree in dry periods and you will be amazed at the results. Be patient and give the tree at least two years to mend its ways.

Photo courtesy of Trey Pitsenberger/flickr.com

Suntan

Suntan, photo courtesy of Home Orchard Society Incorporated

Suntan, photo courtesy of Home Orchard Society Incorporated

Suntan is a dessert apple, very attractive with orange-red skin over a yellowish base. It has intense aromatic, rich, sweet flavour, and a good sharpness. The fruit ripens fairly late (end September-late October) and can keep right through Christmas to February when stored correctly, in single-layer trays in a cold room or shed facing north, with lowish temperatures (not below 3°C), fluctuating as little as possible. In this way it will retain its unique flavour.

The flavour is similar, but better, than Cox’s Orange Pippin. It flowers late, and so it is suitable for the North. The tree is easy to grow, though care has to be taken with canker when grown in damper areas. It was bred in Kent in 1956 as a cross between Cox’s Orange Pippin and Court Pendu Plat. This is a triploid variety, and so it needs two pollinators. The variety produces its best characteristics if grown on M9 or M26 rootstock.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Click here to read another post about Suntan

Scrumptious

Scrumptious, photo courtesy of marmaladefly/flickr.com

Scrumptious, photo courtesy of marmaladefly/flickr.com

Scrumptious is a fairly new apple, a cross between Golden Delicious and Discovery created in 1980. The variety is diploid and self-fertile: no pollination problems. It produces attractive blossom in spring, and it is frost-resistant. The fruit ripens to develop a lovely deep red skin colour. It crops regularly, producing fruit of good size that is sweet, tasty, crisp and juicy. It is an apple best eaten from the tree, so not very good from a cold store.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Suntan, candidate for the best eating apple ever

Suntan, photo courtesy of whatamieating.com/flickr.com

Suntan, photo courtesy of whatamieating.com/flickr.com

We have been growing fruit and trees in this country since 1960, and I have been able to taste a huge range of varieties over the years. If you asked me which are the best eating apples ever raised and produced in this country, I would say Ashmead Kernel and Suntan. Both varieties have supreme eating qualities and good keeping qualities. But why, you may say, are these varieties so neglected, and never recommended by gardening magazines and the like?

The problem with Ashmead Kernel and Suntan is pollination. Without correct pollinators, these varieties will not be able to produce regular crops. Chivers Delight and Grenadier are both self-fertile, and they are good companions for Suntan.

We can supply these three trees as a package, or as part of an Orchard Pack, so that you can raise these wonderful Suntan apples successfully: Chivers Delight, Grenadier and Suntan, planted together, are a great combination.

Strangely, Suntan runs the risk of disappearing from many nurseries. Today there are only two tree propagators who list Suntan, and this is due to the variety gradually disappearing from public view. But it is truly a superb apple, and I would place it in number one position, for its great flavour, its crispness, and the fact that after picking in late October, it keeps easily until after Christmas.

Suntan does best on M26 rootstock. It should never be planted on its own: the best companion varieties are Royal Gala, Egremont Russet, Chiver’s Delight, Annie Elisabeth, and Claygate Pearmain.

Of course, new varieties are appearing all the time. Scrumptious is a very new variety, very promising, with a great future. But it’ll take something else to knock Suntan off that number one pedestal!

Suntan, photo courtesy of Home Orchard Society Incorporated

Suntan, photo courtesy of Home Orchard Society Incorporated