Fruit trees: Apple tree

Fruit trees: Apple tree

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Originating in a southern Caucasian area, the apple tree is now intensively grown in China, the United States, Russia, Europe (especially in Italy and France).
In Italy, production is concentrated in the north: 80% of the national harvest, in fact, comes from three northern regions: Trentino-Alto Adige (46%), Emilia-Romagna (17%) and Veneto (14%). Other areas of some importance are Piedmont, Lombardy and Campania.
It belongs to the large family of Rosaceae, subfamily Pomoideae, genus Malus.
The apple tree is a medium-high sized plant that can reach a height of 8-10 meters.
The apple tree has wood and mixed buds carried by different fruiting branches, i.e. darts, lamburde, brindilli and mixed branches. The fruit is a pommel or melonide (false fruit); the bark is typically smooth compared to other species and the leaf is distinguished by the serrated edge. There is gametophytic self-incompatibility in the cultivar group (cv), but the pomological groups are intercompatible with each other, therefore more cvs are needed for an implant.
Pedoclimatic limits: it is resistant to cold (down to -25 ° C, with some exceptions), due to its sensitivity to late frosts it depends on the flowering period, and it tolerates limestone well if the soil is well drained, it adapts to various soils .

Golden delicious apples (website photo)

Varieties and rootstocks

The varietal panorama is very wide and for the choice we refer to the Varietal Orientation Lists - MiPAF finalized project.
- Gala Group: Sansa, Gala schnizer, Prime red, Summerfree
- Red Delicius Group: Early red one, Red chief, Scarlet spur
- Golden Group: Golden delicious cl b, Smoothee, Tentation
- Jonagold Group: Novajo, Renetta of Canada, Querina
- Stayman Group: Staymared, Superstayman, Stayman winesap Lb 781
- Fuji group: Fuji kiku 8, Fuji naga-fu 12
- Others: Emperor Dallago, Granny Smith, Annurca, Pink Lady.
The rootstocks used are:
- M9, for high density systems
- M9 clones: EMLA, less sucker, T3377, T338, T339 (Nakb) productive
- similar M9: Pajam1 and 2, the former is less vigorous
- M26, for fertile and non-asphyxial soils
- Cover 2, gives quality.
Propagation occurs: by seed, stump layering and trench offshoot for obtaining rootstocks, even if there is a decrease in seed franks, while grafting is used for the upper part.

Stayman variety apples (website photo)

Apple blossoms (photo

Cultivation technique

The prevailing forms of cultivation today are the palmette and the spindle with sixths of plant starting from a minimum of 3 m by 1 m and 5 m by 4 m, respectively; the planting density varies from 500 up to 3000 plants / ha.
Irrigation is always necessary for production, 6000 m3 / ha. The fertilization refers us to the agronomic methods of the calculation of the removals and of the leaf analysis; keep in mind that the primary elements required are N (80-90 kg / ha / year) and K (50-80 kg / ha / year), the P in quantities less than half of the previous ones (100-120 kg / ha every two years or three years). Ca, Mg, Bo, Fe, Zn, S. are also important
As regards pruning, it is possible to implement mechanical pruning, thus aiming to produce on lamburde; it is therefore necessary to consider the fruiting habitat. Especially on young plants, green pruning is carried out, which consists of a check (elimination of badly placed branches). It should be remembered that in the fruit thinning operation, the apple tree is the only species that responds to chemical thinning. For intensive plants, bioregulators are mainly used to control the vegetative-productive balance in the various phases, secondary is the containment of the root system.


The production is around 40 t / ha. As regards the collection, we rely on indices such as color, pulp strength (penetrometer) and starch content of the pulp. - Conservation today makes use of hydrocooling, a system that allows greater conservation of the fruit due to the wetting effect in a cold environment. Possible conservation methods are: the normal atmosphere, with a temperature around 0 ° C, RH of 85-90%, which keeps the apples for 2-3 months, the controlled atmosphere, with a temperature just above 0 ° C and concentration of O2 and CO2 lower than 10%, or the Ultra Low Oxygen system with very low concentration of O2; sub-atmospheric conservation is also possible, with a pressure of 0.13 atm, and also the removal of ethylene during storage, with KMnO2.
In addition to the traditional fresh consumption, the apple can be used for the production of juices, jams, syrups, sweets, cider or dried. In the kitchen it is widely used as an ingredient for dishes, desserts and fruit salads.


Deficiencies and physiopathies can lead to fruit splits, fruit drop and suber rustiness. Phytopathies manifest themselves in conservation: internal and juicy weathering, soft heating. Still others the physiological alterations. An important bacterial disease is the bacterial fire stroke (Erwinia Amilovora), among the cryptogams are the scab (for which there are re-existing cvs), badly white. Insects include lepidoptera, such as carpocapsa (Cydia pomonella), red rodilegno (Cossus cossus) and yellow (Zeuzera Pyrina), aphids, such as gray, woolly, green, while among others there is the cochineal of San Josè (Quadrapsidiotus pernicosus) .

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