Choosing an apple tree starts with defining the size of the apple tree. Are you going for the standard apple tree varieties, half-stem, low-stem, or mini apple trees? In addition, we distinguish between wild apple trees, ornamental apple trees, and apple trees with edible fruits. Self-pollinating apple trees versus non-self-pollinating apple trees. There are apples that you can use for eating out of hand and ones that are better suited for apple sauce. There is also the difference in the color of the blossom, taste, size, and color of the apple, and the shelf life of the fruit.
Apple is a tasty fruit. It does not contain many calories and has a lot of dietary fiber and potassium. Many apples are grown in the Netherlands, about 300 million kilos per year. Elstar and Jonagold are the most famous varieties grown in the Netherlands. Read more about the different types of apples and apple trees in this article.
Different shapes and sizes apple trees
In the past, there were only standard apple tree varieties. Because it was easier to prune, harvest and care, the low family tree was developed. This tree stays lower to the ground and is, therefore, less labor-intensive and more interesting economically.
The difference between high and low trunk is not only the height, a standard trunk also has a stronger rootstock and deeper roots. The standard, as well as the low-stem and half-stem apple trees, are often grafted apple trees. Fruit trees are often united onto another rootstock because fruit trees have very poor roots or yield a poor crop.
Tall stem apple tree
A standard apple tree has a trunk with a length of 180 to 220cm. The branching and crown of the tree begin on the trunk. The height will eventually be about 7 meters. To get a good yield of apples you have to wait a number of years, 6 to 7 years. A healthy standard tree can live up to 100 years.
Half-stem apple tree
With a half-trunk tree, the length of the trunk is a maximum of 150 centimeters. The harvest of a half stem is often larger than a low stem. This can be about twice as big, namely about 50 kilos, depending on your breed. In total, these trees can reach a height of about 5 meters. You can enjoy a healthy tree for 60 to 100 years.
Low stem apple tree
A low-trunk tree is very similar to a shrub, the trunk is about 50 centimeters high. The mature height of the tree will be 2 to 4 meters. The yield of this lower form is between 5 and 20 kilos of apples. And the maximum age in a healthy situation will be between 30 and 40 years.
Slate apple tree
The espalier also falls under the low-trunk trees. In espalier form, the light and heat from the sunlight are well distributed over the branches, allowing the apples to develop optimally. You can actually prune any young apple tree in espalier shape. It starts with planting the tree against a wall or with a good frame of battens or wire.
You start at the bottom by guiding a branch to the left and right according to the frame. Next, you can guide the branches that form above it at approximately 50 centimeters to the left and right, intermediate branches or branches that go in a different direction, which you prune away. You can lead a maximum of 5 horizontal branches, but then you are already at a height of 2 meters for the top branches.
Mini apple tree
Mini apple trees come in a shape that is also called ballerina or column tree. There are special apple tree varieties that are used for this, which are often self-pollinating. They grow very slowly and do not form side branches. Patio trees are trees with a regular shape but in a small format. The height that this tree reaches is a maximum of 1 meter 40.
Wild Apple Tree
Malus Sylvestris can be found in Europe and Southwest Asia. The tree can reach a height of 10 to 12 meters but is often smaller. The fruits of Malus Sylvestris are 3 to 4 centimeters in size and edible. However, these are different apples than those we know from the supermarket. That is the apple of the Malus Domestica.
An ornamental apple is an attractive variety for large and small gardens. In the spring you can enjoy white, pink or red blossoms. The flowers appear early in the spring, even before the leaves appear. The blossom attracts insects and bees, which pollinate the flowers and thus the growth of the fruits.
In autumn, small ornamental apples appear on the tree in the colors yellow, orange, or red. These apples can hang on the branches for a long time. The apples of the ornamental apple are edible, but not very tasty. The fruit consists largely of the core. Birds love these ornamental apples.
An ornamental apple does not necessarily need to be pruned, you can remove the intersecting branches and dead branches. In terms of care, an apple needs little attention. Plant it in a sunny spot or a spot in partial shade. Provide nutritious soil, for example by working compost around the trunk through the soil.
I will introduce you to some apple tree varieties and their properties. There are many more types. Make a choice based on your wishes. What color blossom do you want, what color apples, and how much space do you have in your garden are the most important considerations.
A small tree with a height of 5 to 6 meters. Its flowers are mainly white with a touch of pink in the middle. This tree is resistant to diseases such as scab and mildew. Evereste is a good breeding tree for bumblebees and bees. The apples in the autumn are small and red and can remain on the tree all winter long. During the winter the apples are food for birds. The autumn color is orange-red.
Malus “Red Sentinel”
Red Sentinel is also a small tree, which can reach a height of 5 to 6 meters. The buds in early spring are pink, the flowers bright white. A healthy species in which the flowers attract many bumblebees and bees in the spring. Bright red apples appear from the flowers in autumn and can linger all winter. The apples are very suitable for Christmas or flower arrangements.
Malus ‘Golden Hornet’
The Golden Hornet is an ornamental apple tree with an oval and fresh green leaf. The height is approximately 6 meters when the tree is mature. It’s flower buds are dark purple-pink, the flower itself is white. The fruits that remain on the tree for a long time are deep yellow.
Malus “John Downie”
This apple tree variety is a beautiful specimen with large white flowers. The tree grows to about 6 meters high. The egg-shaped fruits this tree produces in the autumn are yellow with a red-orange blush and a diameter of 3 to 4 centimeters. It is a perfect tree to attract bees and an excellent pollinator for other apple trees.
The Mokum apple tree is a medium-sized tree with a height of approximately 6 to 8 meters. In the spring the buds are purple-pink, from which purple-pink flowers open. Small red to purple-red fruits then grow from the flowers in the autumn.
If you want a solitary apple tree in your garden with edible fruits, it is important to check whether the tree is self-pollinating or not. In the list of some varieties, I will subdivide them into self-pollinating apple tree varieties and ones that need a different kind of apple tree nearby to produce fruit. On the internet, you can find tables of combinations that are suitable for cross-pollination.
Malus Domestica “Benoni” is an eating apple. The flowers in the spring are large and white. A beautiful tree with a striking yellow-orange bark color. The taste of the apple is tart, juicy and aromatic. The fruits cannot be kept for long.
Malus Domestica “Gloster” is a great storage apple. You can harvest the fruits in October and, if you store them cool and dry, enjoy them until January or February. The tree has an exuberant white/light pink bloom in spring. The taste of the apple is freshly sour.
Malus Domestica’s “Notary’s apple” is a self-pollinating eating apple with a good taste. The white flowers appear after the purple-red bud in spring. In the autumn, this mainly green apple can be stored well until January / February. The taste is comparable to the well-known “Pink Lady”.
Malus Domestica “Elstar” is probably the best known and most widely grown apple variety in the Netherlands. It is a fresh sweet, and sour apple with a good taste. It blooms white from purple-pink flower buds and somewhat later than the average apple tree. The apple can be picked in September and October and has a long shelf life.
Malus Domestica “Jonagold” is another of the most widely grown apple varieties in the Netherlands. It can also be self-pollinating, but this tree produces a higher yield when pollinated by, for example, “Elstar” or “Cox”. The flowers appear in the period March / April and are white/pink. The harvesting time for the fairly sweet fruits is mid-October. Then they can be stored until about January.
Malus Domestica “Idared” produces sour red fruits. It can be stored well and is suitable for processing in apple pie or apple sauce. The tree is fairly susceptible to diseases such as mildew and scab.
Malus Domestica “Cox” or its full name Malus Domestica “Cox Orange Pippin” is a popular sweet flavorsome apple. This is suitable for various processing, such as eating apple, apple sauce, or in a cake. It has a beautiful bright red color. The white-pink blossom in spring changes into a fresh green-yellow apple with a red blush.
Malus Domestica “Breaburn” is a real eating apple, with a soft sour taste. The pink-white blossom of spring grows into a red eating apple. The apples are edible from mid-October and can be stored until January / February.
Malus Domestica “Alkmene” produces greenish-yellow apples with a red to orange-red blush. A fresh, tart, juicy apple that arises from the white-pink blossoms of spring. It is a fast-growing, very fertile tree. The fruit is edible from September.