The Skinny on Apples
We have been growing apples for over 30 years near Medina, Texas. Over the years we have selected 13 of the most satisfactory ones. these varieties we now grow in our orchards and sell for our plant nursery. We graft most of our own trees and usually have 1000 to 1500 apple trees on hand. All of the trees are dwarf or semi-dwarf and will produce fruit within a year of the time of purchase. All plants are in 5-gallon buckets and can be planted any time of the year. We also have lots of car and maintenance information to help you learn how to grow apples at home.
Gala is one of the premier eating apples available today. Everyone loves it. It comes to us from New Zealand, so it is at home in our warm climate. It is a cross between the Golden delicious (the mother of all great apples) and Cox’s Orange Pippin, called (the “royal apple“ in England). It is a small apple by nature and in order to get good size on them the clusters must be thinned to never more than two apples, or just one if you want large apples. Gala is often planted with Fuji for cross-pollination purposes.
We have two kinds of Fuji apples; one that ripens in August, which we call Early Fuji, and another that ripens in September, which is Red Fuji. Fujis have been called “memorably ugly”, but what they lack in looks they make up in taste. It may be the sweetest and crispest apple of all. The Early Fuji makes a very pretty tree with good growth and excellent limb structure—they are always the prettiest trees in our orchard. It is urgent that Fujis be carefully thinned and not allowed to carry too many apples or they will fall into a pattern of alternate bearing with big crops loads one year and virtually none the next (biennial bearing).
There are many strains of Jonathans and the one we propagate and sell has proved to be excellent in years when insufficient chill is a problem and other trees struggle to bear fruit. Fruit size is excellent, with large red and green apples. Jonathan is the gourmet-cooking apple. It is also an excellent eating apple and has a cult following of Jonathan eaters who believe there are no proper apples other than Jonathans.
This is a cross between an Australian apple called “Adina” and Golden delicious (the greatest mother apple of all). In the mid-1980’s we grew Adina and it was a large, purple and green apple, with striking color and good taste, but it did not keep well. Furthermore, the tree was “leggy” and would not put on enough limbs. Later it was crossed with Golden delicious and the apple is much improved with exceptionally large fruit and good storage. The tree is still leggy and needs to be coaxed to put on good limb structure, but everyone loves the BIG apples and those who plant Goldina always want some more trees.
Red Delicious Apples
We have grown many strains of Red delicious trying to find one that will give us good red color. Red is not an easy color to develop in a warm climate like ours. The strain we now use is called “Adams Apple” and it produces a beautiful red apple which turns red when they are tiny and remain red throughout the growing season. Over the years Red delicious developed a bad reputation for being mushy and tasteless. Its’ storage qualities are legendary so it has been abused by marketers who sell very old fruit that has been in storage for nearly a year. A fresh Red delicious apple from your own tree is a real treat and is a far cry from those grocery store spuds. The tree is inclined to be smallish with many fruit spurs but it produces a big load of fruit.
Crispin was once called Mutsu. Would you like to buy an apple called Mutsu? They changed the name to Crispin for that reason. Some years ago it was ranked as one of the ten best apples in the world. Like so many of our favorite apples, its’ mother was Golden delicious. It is a very stout tree with very large yellow-green fruit. It is pollen sterile (a triploid) and while they must be pollinated by other apple trees they cannot pollinate back. We strongly recommend that the fruit not be thinned in order to keep the apples from being too large. The tree will thin itself and still have big apples.
Granny Smith Apples
Granny is an apple that comes from Australia and it requires a long growing season in order to reach full maturity (about 200 days). All the Granny Smith apples you have ever eaten were grown in Washington state where they have about 165 growing days so the apples are edible, sort of, but immature. The same apple grown in Texas with our long growing season is much sweeter and mellower—a completely different apple. The tree is vigorous and very productive.
Pink Lady Apples
This new apple comes from the Perth area (western side) of Australia, so it is native of a warm climate. Many people say it their favorite apple because it has high acidity and high sugar both. We rate it with the best cooking apples. It harvests in late October or early November and turns its’ distinctive pink-red just as it matures. It is new and we are still evaluating it.
Anna and Dorsett Golden Apples
These two apples are suited for warm climates, so we do not grow them for apples in Medina, but propagate them for sale in the area south of I35 or Hwy. 90. They bloom at the same time and cross-pollinate each other and the fruit ripens at the same time. Anna is a little more tart and is red with a yellow blush, while Dorsett is a mild tasting yellow apple with a pink blush. Both trees are vigorous and very productive. They produce well all the way down to Houston. Anna is a native of Israel and Dorsett comes from the Bahamas.