The cultivated apple, Malus domestica Borkh., belongs to the Pomoideae subfamily of the Rosaceae, along with pear (Pyrus spp.), quince (Cydonia oblonga), loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), and medlar (Mespilus germanica).
ten apple cultivars
in the United States, 1997. Data are in thousands of boxes (42 lbs of
|1996||1997||% change 1996-97|
World (2004 FAO) -
MT or 130 billion pounds. Apples are produced commercially in 91
on about 13 million acres. World apple production has increased about
17% in the last decade. Average yields are 10,000 lbs/acre worldwide,
averages of over 40,000 lbs/acre are achieved in New Zealand.
|1. China - 36%||6. Italy - 4%|
|2. USA - 7%||7. Poland - 4%|
|3. Turkey - 4%||8. Russia - 3%|
|4. France - 4%||9. Germany - 3%|
|5. Iran - 4%||10. India - 2%|
United States (2004
- 4.6 million MT or 10.1 billion lbs. Apples are grown commercially in
states. The value of the industry is $1.76 billion. There are
8,000 apple growers in the USA, who on average receive prices of 19
Apple acreage is currently 386,000, and yields average over 26,000
more than double the world average. Leading apple states
(in order): WA, NY, MI, CA, PA.
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Small to medium sized tree with
canopy, to 30 ft in wild, generally 6-15 ft in cultivation.
Tree size and shape is heavily dependent on rootstock and training
(see below). Leaves elliptical with serrate margins, dark green with
pubescence on underside.
Petals are white when open, but have red-pink undersides when opening, hence the "pink" bloom stage. The ovary is inferior, embedded in the floral cup or hypanthium, containing 5 locules, usually 2 ovules per locule. The inflorescence is a cyme of 4-6 flowers, with the center flower opening first; the central flower is often called the "King bloom", and has the potential to produce a larger fruit than other flowers. Flowers are produced terminally from mixed buds (containing both leaves and flowers) on spurs, or to a lesser extent on long shoots. Spurs form on 2-yr-old and older wood, and generally grow only a fraction of an inch each year.
Most cultivars are commercially
self-unfruitful. Cross-incompatibility is rare,
most cultivars that bloom at the same time and are not sports of each
will serve as pollinizers, including crabapples. Single
trees produce some fruit when self-pollinated because most cultivars
not totally self-incompatible. A few cultivars are pollen-sterile
'Jonagold', 'Winesap', and 'Mutsu'). Honey bees are the most effective
A special fruit type is given to apple and related fruits - the pome. The bulk of the fleshy edible portion derives from the hypanthium or floral cup, not the ovary. Seeds are relatively small and black, and mildly poisonous. Fruiting begins 3-5 years after budding, although a few fruit may be produced in the 2nd year. This varies with rootstock (dwarfing = more precocious) and cultural practices (excessive pruning = delay). Fruit are usually thinned to 1 per spur, with spurs spaced 4-6 inches apart for attainment of marketable size. Apples are generally thinned with chemicals such as the insecticide Sevin, or the synthetic auxins NAA and NAAm.
Deep, well-drained, loamy soils with pH 6-7 are best, but apples are grown on a wide variety of soils worldwide.
PropagationT- or chip-budded in the nursery, and sold as 1-year-old whips on 1.5 to 2-year-old rootstocks.
|Crown Rot||Fire Blight||Cold Damage||Precocity Induction|
|Rootstock||Between trees in row (ft)||Between rows (ft)|
|Non-spur scion||Spur scion||Non-spur scion||Spur scion|
|A spindlebush apple tree is just a variation on the theme of central
(left). A small central leader tree is trained using a metal post for
the lower tier of scaffolds has formed (center). 'Gala' apples fruiting
in their 2nd year in the field trained to an intensive
Several methods are available for determining optimal harvest time. Days from full bloom is relatively constant from year-to-year, and gives growers a rough estimate of picking date. Cultivars like 'Gala' mature early and 'Fuji' very late. Target values of firmness vary by cultivar and intended storage method, with firmer fruit reserved for long-term storage.
Apples must be picked by hand to avoid
bruising and reduction of fresh market quality grade.
must be picked carefully to avoid damaging the spur, where next
fruit will be borne.
Standard packing line operations are
for apples after harvest - hydrocooling, washing, culling, waxing,
and packing (Figure 12). Apples are packed most often in 4/5 bushel
(40 lbs), but polyethylene bags (5-10 lbs) are also popular for retail
marketing. Quality grade is based on size and appearance of skin;
prices are obtained for larger fruit and those with minimal surface
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Apples have a broad spectrum of food
pies and cakes, jams, sauces and juices, apple butter, dried apples,
much more. Apple juice has surpassed orange juice consumption by
in the USA. A medium-sized apple contains about 80 calories, and is
high in fiber: generally about 5 grams per fruit (mostly from pectin).
In 2001, United States consumers ate an
average of 45.2 pounds of apples and processed apple products. About
are eaten fresh (about 60-70 apples, or more than 1 per week). The
is as follows:
Fresh - 55-60%
Canned - 12-15%
Dried - 2-3%
Frozen - 2-3%
Juice, cider, sauce, vinegar, other - 20-25%
Dietary value, per 100
|Crude Fiber (%)||
|% of US RDA*|