Growing Apples in SEQ

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Letsgokate, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I've read your posts Mark on the Dwaft Golden Dorsett and watched the video and your post on the Tropical Anna apple tree. Thought I'd start a new post so the ones I am looking at and the info are all in one post.

    I'm looking at getting some apples trees, the 3 that came up on Daley's website as being suitable for sub-tropical climates were the Dwaft Golden Dorsett, The Dwaft Tropical Anna and the Tropical Sweet.

    Few questions, have never grown an apple tree before so how hard as they to grow?
    Do they need any special potting mix, fertiliser, type of soil Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline?
    Any other special requirements?
    I know they need other apples trees to propagate.

    Have recently moved my citrus into the biggest plastic pots Bunnings sold, in time we plan to make some even bigger pots like 250L size to move them into. (cover this in another post)

    Can apples also be grown in big pots?

    Why did you choose the apple trees you did over the Tropical Sweet? I might even get all 3 as we like apples done in one way or another around here.

    Any other suitable apples trees for the SEQ area?

    Any other info from Mark or anyone else on growing apple trees would be greatly appreciated. Can't get them now as they are not in stock but doing my research so I am ready to go when they are :)
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I think the only reason I didn't get the Tropical Sweet apple variety was unavailability. Otherwise I probably would have got the three in a row.

    Again like the stone fruit, fruit fly and animals are drawn to apples and it's impossible to keep a crop without netting.

    Apples are pretty hardy from what I can tell. Ours don't get much attention yet they produce and grow well. I'm sure the dwarf varieties would be suitable in pots. I mounded our trees up due to having clay soil because apples (most trees) don't grow well in poor drainage.

    They are best planted in winter when dormant and then they establish well through spring ready for the summer heat.

    These Ballerina Apples http://www.gardenexpress.com.au/product/ballerina-apple-waltz/ are cute but I'm not sure if they are actually low chill - probably not - still, they'd be good for colder climates and easy to grow with low maintenance.
     
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  3. Kasalia

    Kasalia http://retired2006.blogspot.com.au/ Premium Member

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    I tried Ballerina and moved them on as not enough chill. Chill factor is less than 7 degrees and not more than 19C I think ,don't know why I think that, or it cancels it out. I have Anna which produces well and Golden Dorset, which doesn't, although it blossoms will get 1/2 dozen fruits.(Tropical sweet was'nt available) Neither are good keepers if you are looking for that, and tend to go flowery after a week or so. The trees will also grow big no matter what they say about the size, its our climate, everything grows big. I would espalier or make them step over apples straight up.

    Early this year I took the middle out of mine and cut everything back by a third so it is roughly fence height and on a small ladder I can reach everything.Apples tend to shoot long branches to the sky in summer, and you end up with large trees. I am beginning to think, Pruning is key to keeping apples going and producing in our climate.
    I bought the branches down with milk bottles filled with water and keeping the spurs short, seems to be working.
    Although at the moment I have had to bag all my fruit (to big for a net as both trees are together) even though it is winter they don't lose their leaves and shouldn't have apples anyway, such is this crazy weather.

    I make bags out of the netting, and at the moment using up the green harvest paper ones my husband bought for some reason. I don't like them at all. Bagging is not hard and in normal weather I do it straight after the fruit develops as fruit fly will sting very young fruit. While the trees were small I just threw a net over.

    I found this guy and all his videos very informative, about keeping trees small. I think it was him who suggested planting two trees in the same hole also.

    http://www.davewilson.com/home-gardens/backyard-orchard-culture

    this will find your chill factor but I think it is a bit high for Coffs Harbour.
    http://www.plantnet.com.au/plantnet-chill-guide/

    I also find Mulberries, plus low chill Nectarines, Peaches and Peach cots and plums ( try two way)produce quite well, if protected. Pakenham Pears only produced a few not cold enough, quinces may do ok, and Lemons and mandarins and limes do well.

    Check out these apple heritage tree sites of Aus. as well some sound promising and you can ask questions. There are more but these will start you off.

    http://www.heritagefruittrees.com.au/

    http://www.yalcafruittrees.com.au/

    https://www.woodbridgefruittrees.com.au/


    All can be grown in large size pots. Just think about how large if you intend to plant them in the ground though. I water mine when I think of it and feed with fire ash and handfuls of chicken manure every now and then. They are in a clay soil.

    Would I plant them again? I have picked more apples off wild trees in colder areas than I have off these. I think the most was probably 30 maybe 40. Some years none, others 10, had them 10 years now. I have had to do lots of pruning on a high ladder for the past 4 years, and use it for our kindling for the fire. It is nice to say I grew this apple, but they are not like eating a Pink Lady. Off the tree is nice you get the crisp soury taste that makes an apple, but they go floury pretty quick, but I don't know if I would do it again now.

    Maybe I would try a chocolate pudding tree or similiar, which was not that well known back then.

    Interesting to see what you come up with.

    Chris
     
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  4. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Something to be wary of in today's fruit varieties (actually, pretty much all plants on the market now)is that they need so much more potassium than earlier varieties did.
    Right before flowering & right through to fruit maturity you need to be foliar applying potassium every 2wks.
    Even though fire ash is a source of K = potash (potassium), it doesn't provide enough soon enough for the tree. It's rate of conversion is very slow & if not well dug in & incorporated into the soil, will be a complete waste once water hits it. There is a chemical reaction that occurs the instant ash gets wetted & the gas must be trapped by soil for conversion to occur. If not trapped it gasses off into the atmosphere & wasted.
    The only thing that happens then is the soil pH is raised unnecessarily & possibly to the detriment of the tree. Also, the ash being such a fine structure, fills the gaps between soil particles to cause exclusion of air & stagnation by over wetting of soil. Ash added during construction phase of a compost heap is a good use as it is fully incorporated & the massive bulk of microbes can do the conversion work. The organic matter of compost seems to neutralize the particular type of alkalinity of the ash.

    Just a thing to consider about chocolate pudding trees is that they are massive under ideal growing conditions, as are icecream beans, growing to at least as big as any fig tree.
     
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  5. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks @Kasalia for your very informative post, lots of great info. This forum is great to have people like you with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. :)
     
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  6. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    @ClissAT it is so great you are on this forum, you have some wonderful knowledge to share :)

    I've put some banana skins around my blueberry plants as apparently they need potassium too.
    Why is this the case?

    I was thinking about a choc pudding tree myself as they sound interesting. For me it would be in a pot and I'll be pruning it to keep it as a manageable size.
     
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  7. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    It would certainly make a nice pot plant with it's dark glossy leaves.
    A thing to be wary about is that some trees resent pruning.
    Once the leaves fall off that part of the branch no more leaves will grow & sometimes the branch needs to have young growth to send out new shoots. It wont produce new branch shoots from old wood. Pruning generally removes the younger growth on most plants.
    Also many trees of all kinds, fruiting & ornamental, need to fully grow a branch before the chemical process of creating & growing flowers will occur.
    So if you keep it pruned, flowers never happen. Take box hedges for example. The growing tip of each branch is kept very short to keep the shape, but if you wanted flowers on your box hedge you would have to leave it to get very ratty & long.

    I'm not sure about how much you can prune choc pud & icecream bean trees but I know both like to develop substantial root systems & huge superstructures with long branches. They are both rain forest or jungle fruit so should be able to handle shallow soil so long as the fertilizer keep coming.

    re modern plants & potassium. I think they select breed for other traits & during the breeding process they feed the plants up anyway to see their maximum efforts. That inadvertently creates a plant that needs extra potassium to produce good fruit or flowers.

    It's also the 'in' thing to boost the K to get better fruit or flowers.
    With my new batch of veg plants on my verandah I am spraying them every week or so & there is a definite improvement in health & early flower production. I've always had reasonable crops from my upstairs plants in pots but this winter they are shaping up to be much better.

    Another thing that could be happening is a worldwide shortage of K. (Some people are beginning to talk about Peak Phosphorus & Peak Potassium. Peak P will occur before Peak water!) The resource ends up going up the food chain to the apex user being us or our food animals, then us anyway. We then excrete it from our bodies to a place where it is wasted. So general fertilizer companies are making a blend to a price & since P&K are getting more expensive from being harder to acquire, the ratios are slipping. If you want to boost the K, you now need to purchase specific K product at a far greater price than if it was incorporated into the fertilizer blend in the first place. Another reason some of these macro elements are being kept at lesser ratios is that they don't go that well together in a bag of fertilizer. So you then need to boost the macro nutrient levels by applying the individual elements.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
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  8. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    For those in the Northern Brissy area. Theo's nursery at Kallangur has tropical apples in stock. Anna, Tropical Sweet, Golden Dorset and one I had never heard of before Rome Beauty. Prices are $39.95 -$44.95. I got Anna, Tropical Sweet and the Golden Dorset :) yum yum they are reasonable size plants.
     
  9. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Do they need partner plants?
    Or are they self fertile?
     
  10. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    It says they are self pollinating on the tag but at Daley's they say they are Cross pollinating. Either way covered.
     
  11. Sasha Bushell

    Sasha Bushell Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I ended up getting the golden dorsett and tropic sweet from daleys as this cross together, plus its an option of red or green apple; so to speak :)

    I planted them before winter and they are growing sooooo soo well i planted them into compost on my fenceline to espalier them, but the whole espalier thing didnt work out for us.

    No fruit yet, im hoping a get a flower or 2 in season, however they arent 2 years yet, we will see what happens :)
     
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  12. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Daley's now have tropical apples in stock.
     
  13. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I have the Golden Dorset and Tropical Ann next to each other (about 5m apart) - the Dorset is an amazing producer and the Ann is starting to grow better but had been pretty slow to mature. It's surprising how well apples do in the subtropics!
     
  14. DanRicho

    DanRicho Member Premium Member

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    Of the three recommended apple varieties for SEQ, has anyone been successful in grafting the three together? We have very limited space in our yard for fruit trees and certainly not enough to have multiple varieties of fruiting trees planted for cross-pollination.

    I'm also keen to hear if anyone has been successful in multi-grafting other fruiting trees ie. plums, peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries, citrus and even nuts

    Side Note: Keep up the good work with U-Toob, Mark! I'm enjoying the tons of content and watch avidly!
     
  15. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Dan, I saw a multi-grafted apple and a similar stone fruit at last year's Nambour plant expo.
    It is a serious grafting process so the plant is expensive.
    The rootstock has to be very strong because not all these grafts bare at the same time.
    In other words the fruiting duration is far longer than a normal apple so the rootstock has to feed these extra branches for far longer each year.
    Then there is the issue where some varieties are stronger growers than others and can take over the whole plant and steal the food that should get divided equally between each graft.
    They take a lot of special care and overall its a big investment.
    I decided it was a lot cheaper to buy organic apples from my local fruit shop!
     
  16. DanRicho

    DanRicho Member Premium Member

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    Buying organic apples from the fruit shop is cheating, @ClissAT Shame on you! You're supposed to be growing the buggers yourself ;)

    You mention that the multi grafted apple is expensive but my plan was to build the thing myself! I've already narrowed down my rootstock (MM106), i've already got the Tropical Sweet so i'll have multiple scions of this breed. Just gotta find some generous souls that would kindly donate some Dorset Golden and Anna cuttings and we're cooking with gas.

    At the very least, it will be an interesting experiment.

    Then i'm on to the Prunus and the Pyrus building...

    Just got out of the garden after addressing my pH issue. Interesting that there's a lot of noise on fertilising in the general gardening community but not so much on pH (which IMHO, is much more important than NPK). Might be another thread...
     
  17. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Just be sure to balance the number of scions of the various varieties around the plant so the root stock isn't overly burdened on one side.

    Re the pH thing, its nowadays considered too technical and complicated for the average pleb.
    Actually if you google 'growing conditions for X plant' you won't find any reference to pH. Not even for things like blueberries or camelias which need quite a strong acidity. You have to actually put 'pH requirements' into the search engine and even then you might get incorrect information.
    So fertilizer companies just want you to keep buying more general fertilizer and throw it around with gay abandon!
    Sort of like going back to the 40's-50's of 'just add more nitrogen' and if you don't get the results you think you should, add more nitrogen. And we all here should remember what devistation that caused to the land.

    I've always written about the importance of pH but few have followed my advice to buy (and use) a simple pH test kit!
     
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