Growing apple trees in Perth

| April 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

How to grow apple trees in Perth

Growing apple trees in Perth

Apples are so wonderfully versatile – just as good for eating fresh as they are for cooking and even baking. If you’ve tasted a juicy apple picked straight off the tree, you will know what I’m talking about. What a lot of people don’t realise is just how easy it is to grow apples in Perth, Western Australia. Many people would also be surprised to know that some of the more famous apple varieties originated right here in Western Australia.

Apples can grow into large trees, but you can also find miniature forms, dwarf apple trees are perfect for growing in smaller spaces. You will need at least two different apple varieties to help with pollination and fruit set. If you are lacking space you can by varieties which are grafted with two to third different varieties to help.

Growing apple trees in Perth is something I highly recommend for those who have the space.

When to plant apple trees in Perth:
Apples are best planted in winter, however, they can also be planted in other seasons.

Types of apple trees in Western Australia:

  • Anna apples – A low chill variety with red blush over yellow skin and white flesh. Matures February. Bred in Israel, 1959. Pollinates with Dorsett Golden.
  • Crimson Crisp apples – Bright red blushed, medium sized fruit with creamy-white flesh and a mild flavour. Bred for resistance to apple scab and black spot. Matures early March. Pollinates Granny Smith, Jonathan and Pixie Crunch.
  • Dorsett Golden apples: A low chill variety with yellow skin. Matures mid-January. A chance seedling selected by Mrs Dorsett, in the Bahamas, 1954. Thought to be a seedling of Golden Delicious. Pollinates with Anna.
  • Gala apples: Pinkish-red skin colour. Matures late February. Bred by J. Kidd, New Zealand, 1934. Pollinators are Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Lady Williams, Pinkabelle, Pink Lady and Sundowner.
  • Golden Delicious apples: Pale yellow skin with sweet low acid fruit. Matures mid March. A chance seedling discovered in Clay County, West Virginia. Pollinates with Gala, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Lady Williams and Pink Lady.
  • Granny Smith apples: Ever-popular, rich greenskinned apple. A vigorous grower. Matures early April. An Australian heritage variety from a chance seedling, selected by Maria Ann “Granny” Smith of Eastwood, N.SW, in 1868. Pollinates with Gala, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Lady Williams, Pinkabelle, Pink Lady, Red Fuji and Sundowner.
  • Jonathan apples: A fine textured, sweet, red skinned apple. Matures late February. Originated in the U.S.A in the early 1800’s. Pollinates with Gala, Golden Delicious, Lady Williams and Granny Smith.
  • Lady Williams apples: Red skinned apple with a good, well balanced flavour. It has excellent keeping qualities. Matures late, around mid June. A chance seedling from Donnybrook, W.A, in 1934. Pollinates with Gala, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious and Jonathan.
  • Pink Lady apples: One of Wester Australia’s great exports! Its pink-skinned, with juicy flesh and has a complex, tangy flavour. It has good keeping qualities and is a vigorous grower. Bred by John Cripps in Manjimup, W.A, 1973. It matures in May and pollinates with Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, Lady Williams, Red Fuji and Sundowner.
  • Pixie Crunch apples: A lovely small to medium sized, red-skinned apple with juicy, crisp, creamyyellow flesh. Bred for resistance to apple scab and black spot. It matures in early March and pollinates with Crimson Crisp, Granny Smith or Jonathan.
  • Red Fuji apples: Also known as Naga FU 2. Medium to large sized fruit with red skin and crisp, sweet, white flesh. Matures mid-April. Bred in Japan, 1939. Pollinates with Gala, Pinkabelle, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Sundowner.

Dwarf Apples Perth:
Dwarf apples will generally grow to around 2.5m high and wide. Suggested spacing is 2.5 metres apart if you are planting more than one.

  • Dwarf Gala: Pinkish-red skin colour. Matures late February. Pollinators are Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Pinkabelle, Pink Lady, Red Fuji, and Sundowner.
  • Dwarf Golden Delicious: Pale yellow skin with sweet low acid fruit. Matures mid March. Pollinates with Gala, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Lady Williams and Pink Lady.
  • Dwarf Granny Smith: Pale yellow skin with sweet low acid fruit. Matures mid March. Pollinates with Gala, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Lady Williams, Pink Lady and Red Fuji.

How to grow apple trees at home:
Growing apples in Perth is extremely rewarding and if you follow these steps you will munching on fresh, juicy apples in no time.

  1. Choose a sunny spot with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with soil improver and plant fertiliser. If the soil is clay based, add gypsum and fork in well.
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill, gently firming down. Form a raised ring around the plant, creating a well so that water will go where it’s needed most. Water in well.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  6. Feed and improve the soil yearly with soil improver and plant fertiliser – once in spring, summer and autumn. When in flower, feed weekly with fruit plant food to help promote more flowering and fruiting.

How to grow apples in a pot:
Apples can be grown in pots, but look for the dwarf varieties listed above.

  1. Choose a pot at least 600mm wide. Position in full sun and fill with quality potting mix, such as potting mix with dynamic lifter.
  2. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill, gently firming down. Water in well.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  6. Feed and improve the soil yearly with soil improver and plant fertiliser – once in spring, summer and autumn. When in flower, feed weekly with fruit plant food to help promote more flowering and fruiting.

When to harvest apples:
The peak harvest season is from February to May for West Australian apples. To find out whether the apples on your tree are ripe enough to pick, simply take an apple in your hand, lift it and twist gently. You’ll know the apples are ripe enough if the fruit comes away from the branch with ease. Due to cold storage people often don’t realise this as you will find apples in the supermarket year round.

Storing apples at home:
The best place to keep your apples after you buy them is in the fridge – this keeps them cool so they stay juicy, crisp and fresher for longer.

Best apple varieties for cooking:
In Australia cooks primarily rely on dual-purpose varieties, such as Granny Smith and Golden Delicious for cooking. However, diced Pink Lady apples work well folded into coffee cakes or muffins.

Apple tree care and common problems:
Spring is the most important time to control pests and disease with apple trees. They are prone to canker, mosaic virus, scab and powdery mildew.  Moths and aphids can also be a problem. Picking up fallen fruit is critical to help prevent pests and diseases. Prune trees to encourage an open-centred vase shape – this allows for better air and light circulation.

Notes:
For maximum fruiting, apples must have another variety that flowers at the same time and is within bee-travelling distance. Space-challenged gardeners, should look for a double or triple-grafted tree.

Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides:

Tags:

Category: Fruit trees

Comments (0)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

There are no comments yet. Why not be the first to speak your mind.

Leave a Reply