Ambrosia Apple tree zone

3 Things to Know About Hardiness Zones

For growing success: Select the right fruit trees for your hardiness zone, choose the right planting time, and optimize for your zone’s weather conditions.

Image courtesy of the USDA

Most endeavors have a window of opportunity, and planting is no exception. Figuratively, every plant has a biological clock in it. Dormancy periods, chill hours and hardiness all contribute to the “how, when, where and why” regarding planting your fruit tree in the zone where you live.

I’m a man who grows plants and trees for a living and I can tell you that it’s often more like being a parent than a horticulturist!

It’s all about completing tasks according to…

  • the environment into which the tree is being placed,
  • that planting window of opportunity, and
  • what the tree needs.

Some of what I do as a horticulturist also applies to you, the fruit gardener.

1. Choose fruit trees that are recommended for the zone in which you live.

Make good choices regarding the fruit trees you plant — and be sure the recommended fruit tree hardiness zones for each variety include your zone!

This means you should…

  • avoid planting trees that are recommended for colder zones, like 3-6, if you live down south, like Florida, where it’s warm year-round. Many fruit trees require “chill hours” and a dormant resting period to bloom and be fruitful (although you can find a few more reasons a fruit tree doesn’t bear fruit here).
  • avoid planting trees that are not cold-hardy if you live up north with killing winters. For example, don’t expect tropical or citrus trees to thrive being planted outdoors in Wisconsin; however, you can try planting fruit trees in containers instead, and moving these cold-sensitive trees in from the cold.

Our product descriptions and characteristics on our website and in our Hardiness Zone Finder will help you find the best fruit trees for your zone. This choice is an important one.

To find the best fruit trees for your hardiness zone:

  • Go to any product page.
  • Enter your zip code, where it requests one, to find what’s recommended for your hardiness zone.
  • All varieties recommended for your hardiness zone will be identified with a check-mark symbol: ✔

2. The “best time to plant” also depends on your hardiness zone.

Timing is key!

All hardiness zones vary slightly, meaning different environmental things occur at different times. When planting, it’s always good to take advantage of cooler weather; it allows dormant trees to acclimate and wake up with nature. This type of weather reduces a tree’s need for water and helps it get a less-stressful start. I won’t discourage you from planting later in the spring/summer — when it’s warmer — but rather promote getting better results by hitting the planting window of opportunity. The optimum beats average or marginal results, every time!

3. Make the best of your zone’s native growing conditions.

Familiarize yourself with the “quirks and perqs” of your zone and plant accordingly!

For every hardiness zone, there are conditions you encounter with the site you choose to plant, which will have an effect on a fruit tree for the rest of its life. Get to know your planting zone so that you can address and avoid potential issues before they become problematic.

  • Learn the importance of soil testing and understanding your soil before you plant in your zone.
  • If your zone is known for cold winters, make sure you know how to winterize fruit trees for protection.
  • If your zone has prolonged cold weather in the spring, learn how to acclimate new plants and trees.
  • Also, discover ways you can delay planting when your order arrives here.

Finding that window of opportunity and making wise zone choices will help, no matter what zone we grow in!

— Elmer Kidd, Stark Bro’s Chief Production Officer (retired)

Try Our Hardiness Zone Finder “

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Apple Trees

Our Large Variety Means the Best for Your Region

There’s nothing like sinking your teeth into a crisp, juicy, home-grown apple, making your own pie or crafting from-scratch cider. And because we’ve carefully selected and maintained a diverse medley of Apple Trees that vary in size, flavor and growing season, we’re able to ship the right tree directly to your door.

What Makes Our Apple Trees the Best?

  • We have the best value when it comes to healthy, home-grown apples.
  • With our trees, you’re able to harvest your apples the first season – no need to wait 4 or 5 years!
  • Our large variety of Dwarf Apple Trees are grafted and grown from mature rootstock, so you’ll get bigger, better results.
  • Fast shipment means that Apple Trees of your own are just a click away.

Planting Apple Trees

Apple Trees are ideal for beginners because they’re easy to plant and maintain. In fact, they’re known as the starter fruit tree. Plus, because your Apple Tree already boasts several years of growth by the time it arrives at your door, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of healthful fruit during the very first year. From Low Chill Apple Trees and every type in between, we have what you’re looking for.

How to Plant Apple Trees

  • When? Spring is the best time to plant your Apple Tree.
  • Where? Choose a location with full sun and well-draining soil, in a hole large enough to accommodate the entire root ball.
  • How? If you’re planting multiple Apple Trees, space them 30 to 35 feet apart. Place your tree in a hole big enough to accommodate the entire root system, pack tightly and water. It’s that simple.

How to Prune Apple Trees and More

Because we’ve grafted your tree from a specific mother variety, you can expect consistency and ease for the life of the tree. Basically, it will produce the same delicious fruit, season after season.

It’s simple – we follow the five Ps: Planting, Pruning, Pollination, Picking and Preparation.

  • Planting: Choose a sunny area to plant, place your tree in a hole big enough to accommodate its entire root system, pack the soil tightly and water.
  • Pruning: Prune your tree during winter, around the third year of its growth, by removing any suckers or sprouts from the rootstock and downward-growing or broken branches.
  • Pollination: Our Apple Trees are self-fertile, but purchasing two or more Apple Trees ensures a larger harvest, longer growing season and more apple variety.
  • Picking: Pull upwards on the apple and give it a twist – it will come off your tree easily once it’s ready. You can cut one open to check for ripeness, but ripe apples will have brown seeds and a sweet taste.
  • Preparation: You can expect to get 20 boxes of apples that weigh up to 42 pounds each – per tree! Depending on the variety of your tree, your apples will keep anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks to 3 to 6 months. If you’re unable to use them, they can be preserved by canning or dehydrating.

How to choose the best apple tree for your garden

This article is based on our experience in advising customers, and it follows the questions we typically ask when trying to recommend the best apple tree for a particular requirement.

Planting an apple tree is a long-term investment, as it will usually take at least 2 years before your new tree starts producing fruit and probably 5-10 years before it reaches full size. It is therefore a good idea to spend some time making sure you choose the the right variety for your needs and circumstances. For many of our customers this is all part of the fun, and the beginning of a process of learning which will continue for the lifetime of their tree.

When choosing an apple tree the main things to consider are:

  1. The kinds of apples you like
  2. The climate in your area
  3. How big you want the tree to be when it reaches maturity
  4. Pollination

For those in a hurry

If you don’t have time to read the rest of this article and you just want us to recommend the best apple tree for your garden, here is the answer:

  • If you live at low-level anywhere in south-east, central, or eastern England and have normal soil conditions – choose Red Falstaff on the MM106 rootstock.
  • If you live in the far south-west, or Wales, northern England, Northern Ireland, southern Scotland – choose Red Windsor on the M26 rootstock.
  • If you live anywhere else you really should read the rest of this article, or try growing a damson tree instead.

Step 1. What kinds of apples do you and your family like?

Start by thinking about the supermarket apples that you like, as this will help to establish what flavour qualities you are looking for.

Common supermarket apple varieties
Golden Delicious Braeburn Gala Granny Smith Cox Russet
Sweet, hard and crisp Tangy and crisp Sweet, mild, fairly crisp Acidic and hard Not hard, tangy, traditional Mild sweet flavour, not hard

We actually supply trees of some of these supermarket apple varieties, and when home-grown the flavour can be far superior to shop-bought examples which are often picked too early. However these varieties prefer a warm dry climate and a good long autumn to ripen, so are most suitable for growing in southern England.

See our article on apple tree varieties we supply which are similar to supermarket varieties for more details.

It is also useful to think about what you will be using the apples for. The main uses are:

  • Eating fresh – straight from the tree
  • Storing for use later
  • Cooking – one of the best ways to deal with a surplus
  • Juice – home-pressed apple juice is real delight

If you are intending to grow several apple trees, it is worth considering the season of ripening, so that you can get a spread of cropping through the season. Different varieties ripen at different times, in a range from the start of August to November.

By the end of this step you should have an idea for the style of apple you like, what you want to use it for, and if you are buying several trees, an idea of the season of use that you require.

Step 2. Your local climate and conditions

It is important to consider your local situation, as not all apple varieties will be happy in all conditions. However for most parts of the UK the winter climate is not particularly relevant to growing apple trees. It is the period from spring to autumn that matters most.

See our article on the climate zones within the UK for more details.

South-east, central, and eastern England

Most apple varieties would ideally like to be growing in a warm, sheltered, fairly dry climate – as found in south-east, central, and eastern England. If you live at low-level in this area you can grow almost any of our apple varieties.

Further north

As you travel further north and west in the UK the climate becomes slowly more challenging for growing apple trees. Choose early and mid-season apple varieties as these are much more likely to ripen fully in areas with shorter growing seasons and cooler summers, and still give you plentiful crops of good sweet apples. Cooking apples also tend to have a wider climate range than dessert apples because they need less sun to ripen.

If you want to grow varieties that are more suited to the south and east you still can – provided you take steps to improve your local micro-climate. Start by finding the most sheltered south-facing spot in your garden. If necessary, try to provide extra shelter from the prevailing wind by planting a hedge. If you have a sheltered south-facing brick-wall you can train apple trees to grow against it – the equivalent of moving your garden hundreds of miles further south, as far as growing apple trees is concerned.

Step 3. How big do you want your apple tree to become?

Like all fruit trees, apple trees consist of two parts, the trunk and branches which you see above ground and are known as the scion or variety, and the roots or rootstock below ground. You can usually see a kink in the stem of a young apple tree, a few inches above the ground, where the tree is grafted to the rootstock.

Why does this matter? Because by using different rootstocks we can control the mature size of the tree. Depending on the rootstock used, a mature apple tree of any given variety can range in size from about 1.75m / 6ft to 6m / 20ft.

Apple rootstocks have rather cryptic code letters, which confusingly do not give any indication of the sequence. The following table is a simple guide:

For most areas of the UK the choice of apple rootstock is determined simply by the desired mature height of the tree, as given in the above table. However in areas with difficult climates, poor soils, dry soils, and / or very cold winters, we recommend the M26 and MM111 rootstocks. These rootstocks, particularly MM111, are known to perform in very difficult conditions.

If you are planting several trees, try to use the same rootstock so that they will all have similar proportions as they grow to maturity.

If you want to grow your apple trees organically or without chemical treatments, err on the side of more vigorous rootstocks.

See also our article about the features of different rootstocks.

Tree form

In some ways related to the size of the tree is the tree form. We offer a number of formats – 1-year, 2-year, bush-trained, half-standard and so on. For most purposes the “bush” is the most suitable form. Contrary to what the name suggests, this is a proper tree, but trained in such a way that the branches start fairly low down the stem (roughly 40cm / 18″) which makes it easy to pick the fruit.

For more details of tree forms that we can supply see our article on fruit tree sizes and formats.

Step 4. What about pollination?

Most apple trees need another compatible apple tree (which must be of a different variety) nearby in order for the blossom to set fruit and produce apples. There are some good self-fertile varieties, but these also crop better with a pollinator.

If you live in a suburban area or village in most parts of England, Wales, and southern Scotland it is safe to assume there will be apple trees in neighbouring gardens, and therefore you can plant your own apple tree and be fairly confident it will be pollinated.

If you live in a more isolated situation, or further north, or the climate is tough (windy or wet) you should consider buying two apple trees which can cross-pollinate each other. (Crab-apple trees are also good pollinators for apple trees).

For more details see our guide to fruit tree pollination.

Our online apple pollination checker lists varieties that are compatible with each other.

Dealing with stock shortages

Having decided on your ideal apple variety, you may find that we don’t offer it on the rootstock or format you require, or we have sold out.

In this situation start by deciding your most important criteria: choice of variety, choice of rootstock (mature size) and choice of form (1-year, 2-year, bush, half-standard etc).

  • In practice the least important factor is usually the tree form. For example, if you wanted a 3-year tree but we only have a 2-year one, then consider compromising and ordering the 2-year tree because in the longer term (which is what counts with fruit trees) there will be little difference.
  • Next, see if we have an alternative rootstock of the variety you require. This means that the mature height of the tree will be larger or smaller than you ideally wanted. It is usually better to choose a more vigorous rather than less vigorous rootstock – because you can always prune back a tree that gets a bit too big but there is not much you can do about a tree that is too small.
  • Finally, consider an alternative variety.

Further suggestions

Some more thoughts based on our experience, and feedback from customers.

  1. If you are very keen to grow a specific variety, don’t be put off if you think your climate is not quite suitable. See if anyone else is growing it locally, or similar varieties, and then give it a try. In the worst case you may not get any fruit, but the more usual situation is that the tree will just not be quite as productive as it would be in a more favourable location, or fruit quality may be less good. Over time you will probably find ways to improve cropping.
  2. Consider planting two trees (of different varieties) instead of one. Since we sell apple trees then obviously we would say that! … but there are good reasons to plant two trees instead of one. Firstly, it helps with pollination. Secondly it means you can enjoy fresh apples at different times in the season. Thirdly, you can mix and match the flavours so that everyone in your family is happy. Finally, apple trees have good and bad years, so by having two trees it is more likely that you will get some apples from one or other or both trees every year. This is particularly good advice if you want to grow a variety that you know might not do well in your area but you want to grow it anyway – plant a second tree of a different variety to help with pollination and to spread the risk.
  3. Order as early as you can even if you don’t want to plant for many months. We have our widest range available from July onwards and you can order at any time, although delivery will usually be from September-April (for pot-grown trees) and November-February (for bare-root trees). You can choose the actual week of delivery within these periods.
  4. If you want a nice eating apple but are not too bothered which variety, choose a variety that is easy to grow. Here is a , which are also self-fertile or partially self-fertile, and good croppers.
  5. Conversely, don’t be put off if the variety you want to grow is considered a difficult one and you don’t think you are a good gardener. Most fruit trees, even temperamental varieties, are fairly easy for the average gardener, and you can always ask us for advice.
  6. Don’t feel you have to get the variety exactly right first time … planting fruit trees is addictive, and many customers who were sure they only wanted one tree come back for a second or a third a year or so later.
  7. If you have children you have a real opportunity to introduce them to the pleasure of growing their own apples, which will hopefully establish a lifetime of healthy eating. Choose reliable varieties that scream “eat me”. Also, think about using the M27 rootstock, which will keep the height of the tree down to around 6ft which is easier for children, and will be producing apples within a year – so they will be able to enjoy the apples before they grow up and leave home!
  8. Many gardeners want to grow their apple trees organically, or even better, without any chemical treatments at all. In this case the choice of variety is fairly important – choose ones that are known to be very easy and reliable to grow, .
  9. Don’t feel you have to grow ‘local’ varieties. The history of local varieties is often confused – Ribston Pippin for example, an excellent and well-known traditional Yorkshire apple variety first planted at Ribston Hall in Yorkshire in the 18th century, was almost certainly imported from France! A related point: the place of origin of a variety is rarely an accurate indication of how it will perform in different climates. Egremont Russet for example, a traditional Sussex variety, can be grown almost anywhere in the UK. Similarly Bramley’s Seedling, discovered more than 200 years ago in a garden in Nottingham, is perfectly at home in the much hotter climate of the south of France.
  10. Similarly, don’t assume that traditional heirloom varieties are better than modern ones. It is true that the traditional varieties have a proven track-record, and there is no doubting their old-fashioned appeal. However modern varieties can be just as good, and in the last 50 years growers have increasingly put the emphasis on flavour, which is perhaps the most important quality of all when choosing an apple tree. Try a modern Rubinette, or Red Falstaff, or Herefordshire Russet alongside a more traditional Victorian variety and you will be pleasantly surprised … although perhaps it should not be such a surprise, since these top modern varieties invariably trace their lineage back to the Victorian classics.

We hope this article will help you to choose the best apple variety for your garden, but if you are not sure please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.

Zone 6 Apple Trees – Tips On Planting Apple Trees In Zone 6 Climates

Zone 6 dwellers have plenty of fruit tree options available to them, but probably the most commonly grown in the home garden is the apple tree. This is no doubt because apples are the hardiest fruit trees, and there are many varieties of apple trees for zone 6 denizens. The following article discusses apple tree varieties that grow in zone 6 and specifics regarding planting apple trees in zone 6.

About Zone 6 Apple Trees

There are over 2,500 apple varieties grown in the United States, so there’s bound to be one for you. Choose apple varieties that you like to eat fresh or are better suited to certain uses such as those for canning, juicing or baking. Apples that are best eaten fresh are often referred to as “dessert” apples.

Assess the amount of space you have for an apple tree. Realize that while there are a few apple varieties that do not require cross pollination, most do. This means that you will need to have at least two separate varieties for pollination in order to produce fruit. Two trees of the same variety will not cross pollinate each other. This means you need to have some space or select a self-pollinating variety, or choose dwarf or semi-dwarf cultivars.

Some varieties, such as Red Delicious, are available in multiple strains which are mutations of a variety that has been propagated for a specific characteristic like fruit size or early ripening. There are over 250 strains of Red Delicious, some of which are spur-type. Spur-type apple trees have small short twigs with fruit spurs and leaf buds closely spaced, which reduces the trees size – another option for growers that are lacking in space.

When purchasing zone 6 apple trees, get at least two different cultivars that bloom at the same time and plant them within 50-100 feet of each other. Crabapples are excellent pollinators for apple trees and if you already have one in your landscape or in a neighbor’s yard, you won’t need to plant to different cross pollinating apples.

Apples need full sunlight for most or all of the day, particularly early morning sun which will dry the foliage thus reducing the risk of disease. Apple trees are unfussy regarding their soil, although they do prefer well-drained soil. Do not plant them in areas where standing water is a problem. The excess water in the soil doesn’t allow the roots access to oxygen and the result is stunted growth or even death of the tree.

Apple Trees for Zone 6

There are many options of apple trees varieties for zone 6. Remember, apple cultivars that are suited down to zone 3, of which there are several and will thrive in your zone 6. Some of the hardiest include:

  • McIntosh
  • Honeycrisp
  • Honeygold
  • Lodi
  • Northern Spy
  • Zestar

Slightly less hardy varieties, suited to zone 4 include:

  • Cortland
  • Empire
  • Freedom
  • Gold or Red Delicious
  • Liberty
  • Paula Red
  • Red Rome
  • Spartan

Additional apple cultivars suited to zones 5 and 6 include:

  • Pristine
  • Dayton
  • Akane
  • Shay
  • Enterprise
  • Melrose
  • Jonagold
  • Gravenstein
  • William’s Pride
  • Belmac
  • Pink Lady
  • Ashmead’s Kernel
  • Wolf River

And the list goes on….with:

  • Sansa
  • Gingergold
  • Earligold
  • Sweet 16
  • Goldrush
  • Topaz
  • Prima
  • Crimson Crisp
  • Acey Mac
  • Autumn Crisp
  • Idared
  • Jonamac
  • Rome Beauty
  • Snow Sweet
  • Winesap
  • Fortune
  • Suncrisp
  • Arkansas Black
  • Candycrisp
  • Fuji
  • Braeburn
  • Granny Smith
  • Cameo
  • Snapp Stayman
  • Mutsu (Crispin)

As you can see, there are many apple trees well suited to growing in USDA zone 6.

Home Garden Apples

Circular 740 View PDF picture_as_pdf

Revised by David W. Lockwood, Plant Scientist, University of Tennessee / UGA
Original manuscript by G.W. Krewer, Former UGA Extension Horticulturist

  • Purchasing Trees
  • Variety Selection
  • Standard Trees versus Semi-dwarf and Dwarf Trees
  • Soil Preparation and Planting
  • Post-Planting Care
  • Pruning and Training Apple Trees
  • Fertilization
  • Annual Fruit Production through Thinning
  • How to Pick Apples
  • Diseases and Insects

Apples are adapted to most areas of Georgia. Although the northern half of the state (Zones 1, 2, 3) is best suited for the more “conventional” apple varieties, you can have success in the southern half of Georgia with adapted varieties. Regardless of where you live, if you are not willing to provide timely care for your trees and fruit, then you might be happier in years to come if you choose plants that require less care.

Site and Soil Requirements

Sunlight, and plenty of it, is the key to increasing fruit production. Pick an area where the trees will be in the sun most or all of the day. The early morning sun is particularly important because it dries the dew from the leaves, thereby reducing the incidence of diseases. If the planting site does not get plenty of sun, then you can’t expect the best performance from the tree.

Although apple trees will grow well in a wide range of soil types, a deep soil ranging in texture from a sandy loam to a sandy clay loam is preferred. Apple trees will not thrive in soil that is poorly drained. Roots will die in areas of poor drainage, resulting in stunted growth and eventual tree death. Conversely, apple trees will also perform poorly on droughty soils. Shoot growth can be stunted, resulting in reduced fruit size and quality.

Most fruit plants, including apples, grow best when the soil pH is near 6.5. Since the natural pH of most Georgia soils is below this level, you will need to incorporate lime before planting to raise the pH to the desired level. You can get information on soil testing and liming recommendations from your county Extension office. Check your soil pH about every three years. The soil test report will indicate if additional liming is required.

Purchasing Trees

The old adage “you get what you pay for” is an important consideration when buying apple trees. Often, bargain plants are not healthy or may not be a variety adapted to your area. Buy only trees of recommended varieties from a reliable source.

Listed below are a few points to keep in mind when purchasing apple trees:

  • The preferred type of tree for planting is a healthy, one-year-old whip that is approximately 4 to 6 feet tall and has a good root system.
  • A small tree with a good root system is more desirable than a large tree with a poor root system.
  • Trees that are two years old or older do not usually grow as well as one-year-old trees. Frequently, older trees do not have sufficient buds on the lower portion of the trunk to develop a good framework.
  • Do not purchase trees that appear stunted, poorly grown, diseased or insect injured.
  • Check the trees closely to make sure that you are getting the variety and rootstock that you desire.
  • Inspect the tree roots to make sure they are in good condition. They should feel firm, not spongy or brittle. Cutting through the surface of the root should reveal white to creamy-colored tissue. A tan or brown color indicates damaged or dying roots.

Variety Selection

There are apple varieties adaptable to most parts of Georgia. In selecting varieties to plant, determine which Apple Zone you live in (see map). If you live in Zone 5, you should be aware that this area is not ideally suited for apples. In most years, late frost will kill some of the apple flowers on the two varieties recommended for this area, thus reducing the crop. Table 1 lists the recommended varieties for the various areas of the state.

Some apple varieties such as Red Delicious and Golden Delicious are also available in various strains. A strain is a mutation of a certain variety selected for an improved characteristic, and vegetatively propagated by grafting. A strain may differ in fruit characteristics, tree characteristics or both. There are many strains of some varieties; for example, approximately 100 different strains of Red Delicious have been described and cultivated.

The most common strain difference that the backyard grower needs to be concerned with is spur-strains versus non-spur-strains. Spur-types, because of their compact form of growth, are ideally suited for home gardeners with limited space. Growth on spur-types is more compact as fruit spurs and leaf buds are spaced closer than on non-spur trees. On spur-type trees, twoyear- old wood will usually form fruit buds rather than develop side shoots. Several varieties are available in spur and non-spur strains. As a general rule of thumb, spur strains of the same variety on the same kind of rootstock as non-spur strains will result in trees only 70 percent as large as the non-spurs. Thus, a spur type strain grown on a seedling rootstock will result in a semi-dwarf tree and a spur-type grown on a semidwarf rootstock will result in a dwarf tree.

Table 1. Apple Varieties Recommended for Home Use for the Different Zones in Georgia

Variety1 Zone2 Characteristics3 Pollination Code4
Anna 5 Excellent shaped fruit with a blush of red. Ripens mid-June to early July. Spur-type. A
Dorsett Golden 5 Yellow apple of good quality. Ripens mid-June to early July. Spur-type. A
Ginger Gold 1-2-3 Very early crisp yellow apple of excellent quality. Good for fresh eating, sauce and pies. Ripens late July to early August. Non-spur. B
Gala 1-2-3 Excellent quality apple. Good for fresh eating or salads. Ripens early August. Non-spur. B
Mollie’s Delicious 1-2-3-4 A versatile apple. Good for fresh eating, pies and sauce. Ripens late July to early August. Nonspur. B
Ozark Gold 1-2-3 Matures in early August. Yellow, russet-free apple of excellent quality. Nonspur. B
Red Delicious 1-2-3-4 Early fall variety ripening in late August to early September. Large, firm, crisp, sweet. Good for fresh eating or salads. Non-spur and spur strains available. B
Jonagold 1-2-3 Ripens early September. Very large, yellow apple with a red blush. Very high quality, sweet, juicy apple. C
Golden Delicious 1-2-3-4 Ripens one to two weeks after Red Delicious. Good producer. Fruit good for sauce, fresh eating and pies. Nonspur and spur strains available. C
Fuji 1-2-3 Fall variety ripens early October. Does not color well, but quality is superb. Good for cooking, eating and baking. Nonspur strains available. B
Mutsu 1-2-3 Ripens early October. Yellow apple of exceptional
quality. Crisp and juicy. Slightly tart. All-purpose.
Rome Beauty 1-2 Ripens early October. Red apple primarily grown for baking. Spur and non-spur strains available. C
Stayman 1-2 Ripens early October. Rusty red finish. Superb quality, tart, all-purpose apple. Fruit cracking a problem when dry period followed by rainy period. C
Yates 1-2-3-4 Late fall variety ripens late October. Small, dark red, juicy, mellow, sub-acid. Best keeper. Non-spur. B
Granny Smith 1-2-3-4 Matures late October to early November. Yellowgreen
apple of excellent quality. Good all-purpose variety. Non-spur and spur strains available.

1 Listed in order of ripening.

2 See Apple Zone Map

3 Ripening dates for all varieties except Anna and Dorsett Golden are based on averages from Athens, Georgia. Ripening dates for Anna and Dorsett Golden are based on averages from Monticello, Florida. Non-spur and spur refer to growth habit, as previously described under “Variety Selection.”

4 Varieties followed by a common letter bloom at approximately the same time. Since most apple varieties are self-unfruitful (require pollen from another variety to set fruit), plant two or more varieties that have the same letter so fruit set will result. Stayman, Mutsu and Jonagold have sterile pollen and should not be used as a pollen source for other varieties; therefore, plant at least two other varieties with any or all of these varieties.

Disease-Resistant Varieties
Variety Zone Characteristics
Redfree 1, 2, 3 Fruit is crisp, juicy, russet-free. Ripens about six weeks before Delicious.
Liberty 1, 2, 3 Fruit is crisp, juicy, sub-acid. Stores well, ripens about two weeks before Delicious.
Freedom 1, 2, 3 Fruit is crisp, juicy, good for fresh and processing. Ripens with Delicious.
Enterprise 1, 2, 3 Fruit is spicy and sub-acid. Stores well, matures late.
Goldrush 1, 2, 3 Fruit is sweet, crisp, good for fresh and processing. Ripens late, stores very well.
Disease Resistance
Variety Apple Scab Cedar Apple Rust Powdery Mildew Fireblight
Redfree 8 8 7 7
Liberty 9 8 8 8
Freedom 9 7 7 6
Enterprise 9 8 6 8
Goldrush 9 3 7 5
Rating Scale:
1 = Susceptible
9 = Immune

Standard Trees versus Semi-dwarf and Dwarf Trees

The two major factors influencing tree size are rootstock and type of strain used (spur or non-spur). Other factors that will influence ultimate tree size include general care, variety, soil type, earliness of fruiting, location within the state, and timing and severity of pruning.

Rootstock influences tree size: standard, semi-dwarf or dwarf. Standard trees are propagated on seedling rootstock and produce large trees that may get to be 20 feet tall or taller. Semi-dwarf trees are trees propagated on one of several clonal rootstocks (vegetatively propagated) that produce trees that will be about 50 to 80 percent the size of standard trees if grown under similar circumstances. The most common semidwarf rootstocks used for apples in Georgia are MM 106, MM 111 and M 7. Trees on M 7 will produce the smallest trees in the semi-dwarf category while MM 111 will produce trees nearly as large as trees on seedling rootstocks.

True dwarf trees will be about 30 to 40 percent as large as standard trees and require support by either a trellis or a post. The two most common dwarfing rootstocks are M 9 and M 26. Trees grown on M 9 are the smaller of the two.

Use dwarf and semi-dwarf trees if space is greatly limited. M 9, M 7 and MM 111 are better adapted to Zones 1, 2 and 3, while MM 106 has shown promise in the lower half of Zone 3 plus Zone 4. In Zone 5, only standard trees (seedling rootstock) are recommended due to poor performance of semi-dwarf and dwarf rootstocks. See Table 2 for tree spacing recommendations.

Pollination – See footnote 4 below the variety table (Table 1).

Table 2. Suggested Tree Spacing Based on Rootstock and Tree Form (Non-spur versus spur).
Rootstock Between Trees in Row (feet) Between Rows (feet)
Non-spur Spur Non-spur Spur
Seedling 18 12 22 18
MM 106 16 10 20 16
MM 111 16 8 20 14
M 7 12 8 18 14
M 26 10 not recommended 16 not recommended
M 9 8 not recommended 14 not recommended

Soil Preparation and Planting

When fruit trees arrive from the nursery, open the bundles immediately. Soak the roots in water for six to 12 hours if they are not moist. The trees should then be planted if the soil is not too wet.

If the soil is not prepared where the trees are to be planted, or if the ground is too wet, heel the trees in by placing them in an open trench deep enough to cover all roots. The north side of a building is the best place for heeling because the trees will remain dormant longer. Place soil over the roots to the depth they will be planted in your yard.

Before planting, prepare the soil thoroughly by plowing or spading followed by disking or raking to smooth the surface. If you have not adjusted the soil pH to 6.5 previously, liming should be done before you prepare the soil so that the lime will be incorporated. When added to the surface and not plowed in, lime takes years to move down into the soil. Lime an area 10′ x 10′ where each tree will be planted. Similar to lime, phosphorus moves down through the soil slowly and thus should be incorporated, based on soil test results, along with lime before planting. During planting, dig holes large enough to receive the roots freely without cramping or bending from their natural position. Before planting, cut off all dead, broken or mutilated parts of roots with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Keep root pruning to a minimum. Set the plants at the same depth they grew in the nursery. Work soil in and around the roots. When the hole is half filled, firm the soil with your feet before you finish filling the hole. When the hole is filled, pack the soil firmly. Do not leave a depression around the tree. Also, do not place fertilizer in the planting hole or fertilize immediately after planting. This should only be done after the soil is settled by a drenching rain. When the planting is completed, the graft union should be at least 2 inches above the soil line.

Post-Planting Care

After planting, apply sufficient water to thoroughly soak the soil in the area of the tree roots. This watering will help bring the soil into closer contact with the roots and eliminate air pockets around the roots.

Keep weeds out of a 3′ x 3′ area around the tree because they compete with the tree for moisture and nutrients during the growing season. This will also keep mowers away from the trees and reduce trunk damage. Mulching will help control weeds as well as conserve moisture. Mulches should be kept about 12 inches away from tree trunks.

Pruning and Training Apple Trees

The day you plant your trees is the day you begin to prune and train for future production. Too often backyard growers plant apple trees and leave them untended for several years. This neglect causes poor growth and delayed fruiting.

The purpose of pruning a young tree is to control its shape by developing a strong, well-balanced framework of scaffold branches. Remove unwanted branches or cut them back early to avoid the necessity of large cuts in later years. Today, the recommended method of pruning and training is the Central Leader System, which exposes more foliage and fruits to direct sunlight than other tree forms.

Prune in late winter. Winter pruning of apple trees consists of removing undesirable limbs as well as tipping terminals to encourage branching. Similar pruning can be performed in the summer and is most beneficial if done in early June and early August.

Figure 1.

At Planting: Whether you obtain a small unbranched whip or a larger branched tree, it is necessary to prune the tree at planting. Head the unbranched whip back to 24 to 30 inches from the ground (Figure 1). This will cause the buds just below the cut to grow and form scaffold branches. If branched one- or two-year-old trees are planted, then select four or five lateral branches with wide-angled crotches that are spaced equidistant around the tree and 2 to 5 inches apart vertically. The selected laterals should be no lower than 18 inches above the ground, and they should be pruned back slightly by cutting off one-fourth of each limb’s length.

Figure 2.

First Growing Season: When 2 to 3 inches of growth have occurred, begin training the tree. Position wooden spring-type clothespins between the main branch and the new succulent growth (Figure 2). The clothespin will force the new growth outward and upward, thus forming the strong crotch angles needed to support the fruit load in years to come. The clothespins should be left on the tree for about six weeks.

One Year Old: A number of branches should have developed after the first growing season, and if they were clothespinned, they should have good, wide crotch angles. The objective now is to develop a strong central leader and framework of scaffold branches. Here we can see the one-year-old tree before (Figure 3) and after (Figure 4) pruning. Note that we have left only four scaffold branches spaced around the tree. All the branches left, as well as the central leader, have been pruned back by about one-fourth. Always make sure the ends of the scaffold branches are below the end of the central leader after they have been pruned back.

Figure 3. Figure 4.

Second Growing Season: During the second growing season, develop a second layer of scaffolds on the central leader 24 to 30 inches above the scaffolds you established the year before. Be sure to use the clothespins on new succulent growth, particularly shoots that develop below the central leader pruning cut, so you will develop wide crotch angles. Figure 5 illustrates a properly trained apple tree in late May of the second growing season.

Figure 5. Figure 6.

Two Years Old: The use of limb spreaders can help bring about earlier fruit production, improved tree shape and strong crotch angles. Spreaders can either be short pieces of wood with sharpened nails driven into each end or sharpened metal rods. Limbs should be spread to a 45- to 60-degree angle but not below a 60-degree angle from the main trunk. Limbs spread wider than 60 degrees have a tendency to produce vigorous suckers along the top-side of the branch and may stop terminal shoot growth. The spreaders will need to remain in place for about six weeks until the wood “stiffens up.” Figure 6 illustrates a two-year-old tree after pruning in which metal rods have been used as spreaders. Pruning consists of entirely removing undesirable limbs and, only where necessary, reducing the length of terminal scaffolds by one-fourth. Weaker side limbs should not be pruned (unless excessively long) so they can develop flower buds. Excessive and unnecessary pruning will invigorate a tree and delay fruit production.

Figure 7.

Figure 7 is a tree approximately four years old. Proper training, spreading and pruning have resulted in the development of flower buds that will produce a good crop in the coming season.

Notice that the upper (second) set of scaffolds should be shorter than lower (first) set. The second and any succeeding scaffold layers should always be kept shorter by dormant pruning than the layer(s) below it. A properly trained and pruned central leader tree should conform to roughly a pyramidal (Christmas tree) shape.

Pruning Neglected Apple Trees: Many people will purchase a house where an apple tree was planted on the property several years ago. Often, the previous owner did not take the time to properly prune the tree and the result is similar to Figure 8. The tree has become bushy and weak and will produce very poor quality apples. Such a tree requires extensive corrective pruning.

Figure 8.

The main objective in pruning such a tree is to try and open up the interior to allow good light penetration. The first step is to remove all the upright, vigorous growing shoots (at their base) that are shading the interior. As with the young apple trees, it is necessary to select three to five lower scaffold branches with good crotch angles that are spaced around the tree. Limbs with poor angles and excess scaffold limbs should be removed at their base. In some cases it is advisable to spread the corrective pruning over two to three seasons. When severe pruning is done in the winter, do not fertilize the trees that spring.

Figure 9.

Figure 9 is the same tree after the first season’s pruning. The next year, it will be necessary to remove more limbs, especially on the left side. Note that most of the cuts were thinning types; that is, the wood was removed to its base or point of origin. When making these thinning cuts, make sure the cuts are flush along another limb.

The remaining limbs can be pruned back by onefourth of their length to a side limb if it is desired to stiffen them. If you don’t cut them back, the limbs may bend and/or break under a heavy crop load.

Pruning and Training to the Trellis: Non-spur varieties on M 9 and M 26 and spur varieties on M 7 are the best to train to a trellis. To train trees to a trellis, start by planting the trees midway between the posts (Figure 10). Remember to keep the graft union above the ground. Cut the trees off at 24 inches high and loosely tie them to the bottom trellis wire. Allow young shoots to develop in spring and early summer.

Figure 10.

Some shoots will develop outside the plane of the trellis (project away from the wire). Remove them, or bend and tie them to the wire so they fit the plane.

After the first growing season, tie the developed limbs to the wire so each

Status and Revision History
Published on Aug 19, 2002
Published with Minor Revisions on Nov 30, 2007
In Review on Feb 24, 2009
Published on Apr 20, 2009
Published with Minor Revisions on Apr 30, 2012
Published with Full Review on May 25, 2017

By Christina Herrick|January 27, 2015

Finicky. Biennial. Heat intolerant. Bruises easily. Tough to store. If these characteristics were listed for any apple cultivar being developed, it wouldn’t leave the research station.

But this isn’t just any research cultivar. It’s Honeycrisp.


Ask any grower whether they enjoy the experience of growing Honeycrisp year in and year out and they’ll likely tell you no. But it’s a necessary evil. Without Honeycrisp — one of the most profitable varieties to have in an orchard — many growers believe they can’t stay competitive.

Despite its sweet name and popularity in the market, there’s a dark side to America’s darling apple.

“It is by far and away the most difficult variety I’ve ever grown,” says Bruce Allen, president of Columbia Reach Pack in Yakima, WA.

A Challenge To Grow
There are so many nuances to successfully growing Honeycrisp, the choices a grower makes will have a proportionally greater impact how Honeycrisp will behave. The variety requires more attention and inputs to get a desired yield.

“It wants to crop too early, and it can runt out,” says Jennifer DeEll, fresh market quality program leader of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “(It has) brittle wood which requires extra support, and the tree will break off at whatever height your post is.”

Rootstock choice impacts how productive the variety will be. Since it is a low-vigor cultivar, larger rootstocks can cause Honeycrisp to become biennial bearing. DeEll says some rootstocks also cause trees to break off or cause nutrient deficiencies. Hand thinning is a necessity and over-cropping can produce small fruit and cause the tree to become biennial bearing.

Honeycrisp is very susceptible to black rot, powdery mildew, and fire blight. Heat and sunburn are also issues with Honeycrisp. Fruit grows on the larger size, especially in early years.

A Challenge To Harvest And Store
“Honeycrisp has thin skin, which is easily punctured. This can lead to more storage rots going into retail,” says DeEll.

Many growers choose to stem-clip apples and gently place them in bins to prevent bruising, says Bruce Turner, national marketing representative for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers. This extra precaution can double harvest costs, though.

Honeycrisp’s propensity to grow big can also lead to bitter pit. The disorder may be present at harvest, but will worsen as the apples are stored.

“You can lose anywhere from 20% to 30% of your crop when it’s hanging on the trees just with bitter pit,” says Mark Boyer of Ridgetop Orchards, LLC, in Fishertown, PA. “There’s always that fine line between having too much a crop to make it go biennial bearing or too of a crop that you can have a lot of bitter pit.”

A grower’s best defense against bitter pit is calcium sprays, DeEll says.

As if growers didn’t have enough trouble on their hands with Honeycrisp during the growing season, the variety is also prone to physiological disorders such as soft scald and soggy breakdown. CA storing is problematic, too because it is very sensitive to chilling and carbon dioxide.

“Conditioning the fruit prior to cold storage is extremely important. Holding at 10°C for seven days can substantially reduce soft scald and soggy breakdown during subsequent cold storage at 3°C,” DeEll says. “Warmer temperatures for conditioning can also aggravate bitter pit development, so 10°C seems to be the best compromise for these disorders.”

Boyer says the ironic thing about needing to precondition is the apples that should be stored are your first picks, but that is when the markets are most favorable. He said his family has to wage the war on bitter pit in the orchard to prevent losses in storage. And, storage disorders affect packouts.

“You spend a lot of time and money on the management of the harvest of it so you’re getting a nice quality Honeycrisp to put out there. Then you pack it,” Boyer says. But if you’re storing it, then your third picking or a later picking of Honeycrisp is more susceptible to soggy breakdown.”

The Changing Market
Given that it’s such a challenging variety to grow, there’s only one reason growers continue to stick with it — the returns.

“Growers are still obviously attracted to Honeycrisp because it’s currently or it has been over the last few years by far one of the most profitable varieties to grow,” says Allen.

With the profitability of this variety, growers are ramping up production. Both Allen and Turner see production doubling in the next four years. Estimates of 12,000,000 cartons by 2018-2019 are forecast. This is up from 3,158,000 in 2010-2011, according to the Washington Apple Commission.

“It will probably increase by 150%, maybe 200% over the next 10 years,” says Allen.

Both Allen and Turner see the risk if growers rush to be the first to hit the market.

“There is a very real temptation to be first to market each autumn and get those new crop high prices,” Turner says. “In recent seasons, we’ve seen green, immature fruit hit retail that simply doesn’t eat well.”

If consumers have an unpleasant eating experience, they will likely turn their preferences elsewhere.

“I’ve heard one large grower call it ‘Killing the Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs,’” says Turner. “We cannot disappoint a single consumer, we will need every one of them loving their Honeycrisp and buying even more a few years from now.”

Although production has increased, growers have not met the demand for year-round availability. The market for Honeycrisp is changing, though.

“Until recently, Honeycrisp prices remained firm even when supplies increased because it was getting wider distribution and staying on the market longer,” says Desmond O’Rourke, publisher of the World Apple Report. “The support for the Honeycrisp prices from increased distribution is gradually being eroded.”

O’Rourke says a key indicator for this is premium payouts in 2013-2014 vs. the same time period this season.

“Last year, Honeycrisp prices from Washington State averaged about $54 per 40-lb box at FOB for the September-December period,” says Desmond O’Rourke. “For the same period this year, they averaged about $43, a 20% decrease. For the same period, Honeycrisp shipments from Washington State were up about 50%.”

The Future Of Honeycrisp
“The era of sky high Honeycrisp prices is over. They still sell at a very nice premium to most varieties,” O’Rourke says.

He says as Honeycrisp becomes more readily available, high-income consumers will shift their preference to other premium varieties.

With this change in the market Allen says he knows some large growers who are not adding more Honeycrisp acres.

“There are several growers that I know of in Washington state that have fairly significant plantings that have indicated to me that they are not going to plant anymore. The reason being it’s such a difficult variety to grow, a lot of strain on the management system in terms of trying to get it picked properly, that they simply don’t think they can properly manage further increases in production on their own operations.”

However, with the market changing Boyer does see a bright spot with Honeycrisp.

First, Honeycrisp has singlehandedly introduced a wide span of consumers to the characteristics of a modern eating apple — crunch, sweetness, flavors, eye appeal, etc.

“People are really starting to understand what a really great eating apple experience is,” he says. “There’s a lot of great apple varieties coming down the road that our customers are going to walk in to a store in the future, look at a shelf and almost every single apple on there is going to be a great eating experience.”

Second, the changing market prices for Honeycrisp might help spread the demand for the variety.

“I talked to people that said ‘can you believe that Honeycrisp is going for $1.99 a pound and the rest of the other fruit is $0.99 a pound,’” he says. “They look at it like fuel prices (going down). Does that make the consumer consume more? I think so.”

Turner says that although growers might eye the large crop as the beginning of the end, grocers, on the other hand, see large numbers as a good thing.

“Retailers are still very excited about Honeycrisp — I had one retailer tell me he thinks we should increase our rate of new planting,” he says.

And, there are still people who haven’t tasted a Honeycrisp yet. But when they do, they’ll come back for more.

“The bright side is simply that 8 out of 10 people if given a high-quality Honeycrisp think it’s absolutely the best apple they’ve ever eaten and they want more,” Allen says.

Despite all the negatives of Honeycrisp, most growers, like Boyer acknowledge that Honeycrisp is a must-have.

“It’s always a love-hate relationship with Honeycrisp. What would you do without it? You just can’t live without it,” he says.

The returns Boyer and his family received from Honeycrisp allowed them to reinvest back into their orchard, increase high-density plantings, build cold storage facilities and purchase new equipment.

“Before Honeycrisp came around, we weren’t riding around with brand new tractors, brand new sprayers. Before Honeycrisp came around, we weren’t putting up cold storage buildings. We weren’t planting high density because our margins were kind of small,” he says.

Soggy breakdown in Honeycrisp.

Advice On Taming Honeycrisp’s Dark Side
Growers, marketers and researchers, offer advice to growers who have seen the dark side of Honeycrisp.

  • Mark Boyer of Ridgetop Orchards, LLC, in Fishertown, PA: I wouldn’t even fool around with the regular strains of Honeycrisp, I’d wait to get the all-red Honeycrisp. The second thing is I would really pay attention to your tree spacing, and don’t rush to crop it, fill out your spacing that you intended, and do everything in your power to get bitter pit under control, and realize that it’s almost like cherries – it’s a heartbreak crop, you win some you lose some.
  • Bruce Allen, President, Columbia Reach Pack: Be careful about planting more Honeycrisp. If you truly have a really good site, I wouldn’t hesitate to plant more. But it’s very site specific. Be very careful about the assumptions you make regarding what Honeycrisp are going to be sold for in the future. Be very careful about what you think you can do as a grower. Honeycrisp is going to challenge you.
  • Jennifer DeEll, fresh market quality program leader of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs: Don’t be greedy. Don’t skimp on labor. Don’t try to get a crop too early. Don’t try to save sprays. Be sure to know and understand optimum handling and storage regimes for Honeycrisp. Otherwise you get could get large losses fast.
  • Bruce Turner, national marketing representative for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers: Grow it right, harvest it at the optimal time, and make sure every apple is an excellent eating experience.

Christina Herrick is a former Senior Editor of American Fruit Grower® magazine, published by Meister Media Worldwide. See all author stories here.

Considerations for growers interested in production of the Ambrosia apple in Michigan

Ambrosia has become one of the most widely planted apple varieties in British Columbia in the past decade. Discovered as a chance seedling in the early 1990s in the Similkameen Valley in British Columbia (BC), this variety has proven itself to be a valuable fresh market variety for the Canadian fruit industry. The 2018 IFTA summer tour provided the opportunity for closer examination by Extension personnel on the potential of this variety for production in Michigan, and for specific discussions with successful Ambrosia growers throughout the Okanagan valley in British Columbia.

After in-field study and discussion with experienced growers, we at Michigan State University Extension believe that the variety shows promise for Michigan tree fruit growers in the Fruit Ridge, Oceana-Mason, and Northwest regions due to its environmental requirements, harvest season and potential market niche. However, as with any variety a discussion of the horticultural requirements and additional considerations for this variety is important for prospective Michigan growers.

Harvest season and fruit characteristics

This variety ripens at or just before the typical timing of Jonagold. As fresh market growers look to phase out Jonagold and move to a more lucrative fresh market variety, Ambrosia may be an attractive option as a potential replacement for this harvest timing. Growers in British Columbia report that the natural harvest window is very short (roughly 10 days) if the fruit is not treated with PGR’s, so the usage of Harvista on the variety is highly recommended. Blocks that are not treated with Harvista are somewhat prone to rapid maturation and become overly ripe quickly. ReTain is not favored by the British Columbia apple industry on this variety due to reduction in color development that could occur.

The fruit has a square, symmetrical shape with pronounced lobes at the calyx end of the fruit like a Red Delicious. The apple typically has a low-acid, sweet flavor, and a firm, crunchy texture after up to a year in storage. Samples of the variety from last July during the tour still held their crunch and a solid flavor. It has an industry reputation in British Columbia as a good keeper.

The variety can struggle with excessive size, so thinning and crop adjustment during pruning must be handled with care. Growers in British Columbia report that while a few limited southeast Asian markets such as Vietnam are currently paying a premium for a jumbo-size Ambrosia, growers overwhelmingly aim to leave more fruit on the tree during thinning to keep size down.

Ambrosia is generally a blush-type apple, displaying yellow background with 50 percent or more pink-to-red when colored properly by the producer. Growers in British Columbia have consistently observed that coloring occurs late in the season and is heavily dependent on diurnal temperature variations. Successful Ambrosia growers consistently warned prospective growers throughout the tour that this variety is not for growers who struggle to color varieties like Honeycrisp due to excessive late summer heat and absence of cool early fall night temperatures. Generally growers in British Columbia feel that growers on sites that consistently get excellent color on Honeycrisp each season can feel good about their prospects of coloring Ambrosia successfully. For this reason, we believe that growers on the Fruit Ridge, Oceana-Mason, and Northwest regions are most likely to see relatively consistent success with color.

Horticultural considerations

Growers have experimented successfully in British Columbia with a variety of rootstocks including M9, NIC29, G41, and G11. Opinion of the best stock was dependent on site, farm soil type and historical issues with replant problems. However, British Columbian growers consistently noted that regardless of rootstock, the tree is not prone to producing long limbs, instead producing high numbers of spurs in a fashion reminiscent of varieties such as Red Delicious. For this reason, spacing between trees for variety on any of these rootstocks in high density systems is recommended to be two feet or less. Since the top 2/3 of the tree do not throw long enough limbs to fill trellis space at a 3+ foot spacing, tighter spacing is considered to be the most efficient and profitable system.

Most growers in British Columbia had the variety planted at 11-12 feet between rows, so Michigan growers could likely feel good about the decision to plant the variety at 12×2 or 11×2. Due to its tendency to form fruiting spurs over longer branches, this variety lends itself extremely well to 2-dimensional fruiting wall high density production. Growers strongly cautioned against trying to grow this variety as a semi-dwarf.

Site considerations

Growers in British Columbia feel that Ambrosia does well in any locations that can consistently color Honeycrisp. We observed it growing successfully in a variety of soil types including clay, sandy loam, and sand, assuming that the choice of rootstock was appropriate.

Diseases and disorders

Like other prominent fresh market varieties currently being planted around Michigan, Ambrosia is very susceptible to fire blight and requires a high caliber management plan during the key window of susceptibility in the spring. The variety is not scab resistant. Growers in British Columbia did not report serious issues with sunburn, bitterpit, lenticel breakdown/rot, russeting, storage rots, or internal browning.

Special thanks to the Michigan Tree Fruit Commission and all commodity groups who support the work of Michigan State University Extension.

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