Characteristics of Apple Trees

Characteristics of Apple Trees image by Public Domain, DRW & Associates, Inc
Characteristics of Apple Trees image by Public Domain, DRW & Associates, Inc

Overview

School children learn about Johnny Appleseed's frontier apple trees. What is not taught is that the fruit of those trees was small, tart and fit mainly for birds and squirrels. The truth is always a bit more complex.

Identification

Apple trees are deciduous. They flower and bear fruit, which ripens to a dark green, pink or red color, on the previous year's growth. They grow widely in the middle latitudes, primarily in the Northern hemisphere.

Features

Apple trees can grow as tall as 40 feet, but commercial growers use dwarf species or prune trees back severely so that the fruit can be harvested using a long pole or by hand. Trees begin to bear fruit at four to five years of age.

Apple bloosoms make a beautiful show in the spring.

Function

The fruit of the apple tree provides fiber and carbohydrates for human and animal diets. Some apple trees are extremely hardy and provide fruit for areas that would otherwise have to import all of their fruit from more temperate zones.

Culture

Trees are planted in deep, fertile soil that drains well or carefully irrigated. They are staked and protected against winds with windbreaks. Most must be planted with companion trees for pollination.

Apple seedlings must be grafted to the right root stock to produce most types of apples.

Warning

The tree that grows from a seed in an apple will not necessarily grow into a tree that produces that type of apple. Many apples are the result of specific hybridization and grafting techniques.

References

  • Apple Trees
  • About Apple Trees

Who Can Help

  • Growing Apple Trees in the Home Garden
  • Cornell Guide to Growing Fruit at Home
  • Training and Pruning Apple Trees
Keywords: apple, fruit trees, Johnny Apleseed, grafts

About this Author

Laura Reynolds began writing professionally in 1974. She has worked as author and editor in nonfiction, professional journals and newspapers. Reynolds has also served in numerous appointed and elected local offices. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Northern Illinois University.

Photo by: Public Domain, DRW & Associates, Inc