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Apple Trees

Hi all, I'm thinking of planting an apple tree at the back of my garden and I have a few questions.  

1) What good eating apples can you recommend?  

2) Can you grow rambling roses/clematis together through an apple tree to give plenty of interest through out the year or is this just being greedy?  

3) How quickly do apple trees grow?  Ideally I would like it to reach close to it's full height within 5 years (say, on an M26 rootstock).




  • chickychicky Posts: 10,325
    We have a Sunset which has lovely tasting apples.

    I wouldn't let anything climb up it til it was pretty mature - climbers can get pretty heavy, and i would worry that might distort or damage young branches. You might also need to plant two as apples generally need a pollinating partner
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,528

    I think the best tasting apple is Coxs orange pippin. Trouble is they are a bit tricky in some areas. easier to grow is James Grieve or Charles Ross, which have cox as one of its parents. I have a new tree of Gala, which is a nice crunchy apple fresh from the tree.     There are lots of varieties in the supermarkets at the moment, try some and decide which you like best. With pears, I like them crunchy so love unripe Conference, whereas OH likes them juicy and dripping and prefers Williams.

  • If you are growing on an M26 rootstock then that would probably be too small for you to grow anything up and through it. Its best not to have the fruiting branches of the tree crowded out by anything else as it will only cause trouble with pruning and the trees fruiting ability and may encourage fungal diseases. As for taste, that would be down to your personal preference, but I like Spartan, Cox, Discovery. Its a good idea to have a pollinator close by, either a tree of the same pollinating group or at least one in the group either side or a crab apple which flowers at the same time.

  • You'll need to check whether your chosen apple needs a compatible pollinator - most do.  

    You also need to decide whether you want an apple that you eat straight off the tree but that won't keep well, or whether you want an apple that you can store.

    Information about all of that here

    My recommendation would be for a Norfolk Royal Russet - lovely shaped tree, fruits well even in bad years, wonderful flavour (a bit like a sweet Braeburn) and fruits rosier than on the picture.  How do we know?  Our neighbours have one and it hangs over our fence image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Here's a pic of next door neighbours' Norfolk Royal - if I was them I'd have picked and eaten them all by now, but aren't they gorgeous?  They've not got as much russet on them as on the website pic.




    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    Hi Dove, they are lovely, my neighbour has Norfolk Royal too. Least that's my best guess as to what it is. Very sweet, not a huge flavour and that typical conical shape. I prefer a most aromatic apple. I have Jimmy Grieve, (as I call it) I wouldn't be without it but it's not the best eater fresh from the tree. Not bad if you store it for a couple of weeks but still a bit tart but you get the aromatics coming through then. I've also got Spartan. It's not got a good reputation since since it's a MacIntosh apple but if you leave them on the tree as long as you dare they're really lovely. Mine weren't that sweet this year though. It's hard recommending an apple because it's a very personal thing.

    Court Pendu Plat is a very nice apple as is

    Orleans Reinette but they're not great croppers.

    Irish Peach is very interesting but being early can be soft and doesn't store and it's a tip bearer so not good for espaliers or cordons. 

    Ashmeads Kernel is a nice later apple

    Ellison's Orange Is also another very nice apple. 

    Worcester Pearmain is a very beautiful and reliable cropper, again and early apple but later than Irish peach and in a good year has a wonderful strawberry flavour. Worcester Pearmain is one of my favourite of the earlys. 

    Adam's Pearmain is a well respect Victorian Apple. 

    Lord Lambourne Is nice 20th century dessert apple it's a partial tip bearer


    I recommend you look at the orange pippin website you might want to shop around first though. I buy my apples from either Blackmoor's Ashridge Trees, + Keepers There are others but I would always go Balckmoor first. Adam's Apple are the cheapest but I haven't got around to buying any from them. I belong to a group so get most of my stuff on the swap. 

    Oh, as has been said, you don't want to grow anything through your good apple tree. Save that for the old, past-it's-best, not-very-nice-tasting apple tree. Anything shading the apples will reduce the flavour hugely. 

  • Our neighbours give us several of their Norfolk Royals and we like the flavour - as I've said we think they're like a Braeburn but a little sweeter.  But then flavour does sometimes vary from tree to tree and the growing conditions. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    Yes, and from one side of the tree to the other. I've got an old apple that I only use for jam making but some of the apples on the south side, the ones that are red and russetted taste lovely. That reminds me. 

    Egremont Russet is one of the best known russets. They taste like cork floor tiles from Tesco though. image

  • So do most apples from Tesco in my experience - we get ours from the farm shop - they get their from a local Millennium orchard with loads of different varieties, they're picked when they're ripe and the difference between them and supermarket apples is amazing image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    image Ooh, I'll have to search for one that does that. My trees are mostly under five so far though so I don't get months worth of cop. This is the Jimmy Grieve



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