Features of growing Spartan apple trees
One of the best achievements of Canadian breeding is the Spartan apple tree. This culture, bred in 1926, has the unique qualities of ancestors (Mackintosh and Pepin Newtown) - high productivity and good resistance to disease. Today this variety is successfully used in private gardening.
Features of growing Spartan apple trees
Self-fertility is a very important feature of this variety, which is why planting does not require the presence of other plants in the neighborhood.
At the same time, the apple tree is an excellent pollinator for other varieties that bloom at the beginning or in the middle of May.
The description of the tree includes several distinctive qualities:
- a plant of low growth with a spherical crown (average height 4-4.5 m);
- usually the central conductor develops at a slight slope;
- branches erect, covered with a smooth dark brown or burgundy bark;
- the crown is able to intensively increase young growth, therefore, it needs regular annual pruning;
- leaflets are round, small in size, smooth, with a glossy surface;
- fruit ovaries are formed mainly on the gloves;
Spartan apples have a thick peel, they have a rounded, slightly tapering shape down. The average weight of 150 g.
The surface is slightly ribbed, burgundy with a wax coating, which gives the fruit a purple tint.
Tasting taste rating - 4.8 on a 5-point scale.
The taste is harmonious - sweet-sour, the flesh is solid, with a dense structure, cream or white.
Advantages and disadvantages
Variety of Spartan apple trees include several important positive characteristics:
- high yields (a young apple tree gives about 25 kg of the crop, adult - up to 80 kg of fruit);
- great taste, marketability;
- good transportable properties;
- prolonged keeping time - until March-April in the basement or cellar, until May in the refrigerator;
- fruits contain a large amount of useful and nutrients;
- resistance to scab and powdery mildew is high;
- early fruiting - the tree produces its first fruits three years after planting.
This culture has some disadvantages:
- Spartan apple tree is very sensitive to spring frosts and severe winters; therefore, when planting in the Mid-latitudes and in the North, it needs good shelter;
- the second drawback is that with age, in the absence of a rejuvenating haircut, the fruits on the tree become smaller.
Conditions for successful cultivation
For planting seedlings, you should choose a well-lit area, because in a shaded place they will slowly develop and bear fruit sparingly.
Loamy soil is suitable for cultivation. It is possible to improve the composition of clay soil by adding sand, compost and peat to the plot, based on a bucket of each component per 1 m².
Choose a site with deep groundwater (at least 2 m). It is better to plant an apple tree on a hill where there are no winds.
Young trees can be planted both in spring and autumn. For middle latitudes, spring landing is preferable - in the last decade of April. They are planted in the south in autumn (late September or early October) or spring late April.
Soil and pit preparation
Young seedling needs support
Fertilizing and preparing the pit is carried out two weeks before planting. First, the remains of last year's vegetation are removed on the site, then they are dug up, the surface is leveled.
During group landing, pits are pulled out at a distance of 4 m from each other with the same distance in a row. The depth and diameter of the pits should correspond to the size of the root system of plants - approximately 70x80 cm.
To create good drainage, the bottom of the pit is covered with cut tree branches, stones or gravel.
Then the pit is half filled with fertile soil:
- superphosphate - 200 g;
- potassium sulfate - 100;
- ash - 100 g;
- berry Giant - 2 packets;
- humus - 3 buckets.
All these components are mixed with the ground and put into a pit. From above, to prevent the risk of burning roots, fertile soil is sprinkled with ordinary garden soil. Next to the formed hill, a peg is driven in, which will serve as a support for the seedling.
Before planting, roots 3-4 cm long are cut on each seedling, then dipped in clay solution (4 kg of clay per 3 l of water).
After an hour of soaking, the seedlings are removed, slightly dried and lowered into the pit. The roots during planting must be leveled in order to ensure their proper growth and development. After this, the tree is sprinkled with the remaining mixture of fertile soil and trampled.
In order to avoid decay of the central conductor, it is important that the root neck is above the ground.
After planting at a distance of 30 cm from the trunk, 2-3 holes for irrigation are made. The tree is watered with settled water. The consumption for one young plant is 15 liters. The seedling is tied with twine or rope to the peg. After all the moisture is absorbed, the trunk area is mulched by garden soil.
To stimulate the growth of the lateral branches immediately after planting, the central conductor is sheared 20 cm from the apex.
In order for the tree to grow healthy, fully develop and bear fruit abundantly, it needs to be given proper care.
Over the entire season you need to water several times. The number of treatments depends on weather conditions.
In dry summers, hydration is carried out at least 5 times.
The first time watered in early spring to stimulate the active growth of green mass.
The second hydration is carried out before blooming and after two weeks, as the tree fades.
The tree experiences the greatest need for moisture during the fruiting phase - 5 buckets of water must be poured under each tree.
No less important is water-loading irrigation, which is carried out in late autumn, when the trees completely discard the foliage. The aboveground and underground parts, saturated with moisture, will easily endure wintering and will not freeze.
It is better to water trees in the morning or in the evening. And after each irrigation, the soil must be loosened and mulched in the trunks with manure or peat.
During the ripening period, the apple tree needs to be fertilized
Fertilizers begin to be applied in the third year of cultivation.
- The first top dressing is carried out in the spring (at the end of April). Use nitrogen-containing preparations (urea solution - 500 g per bucket of water or humus - 3 buckets per young seedling and 5 buckets per adult plant).
- At the beginning of flowering, a second complex dressing is made of 500 g of superphosphate, 400 g of potassium sulfate and 250 g of urea (slurry - 10 l) per 100 l of water. 15 l of nutrient solution are spent on one young tree, 45-50 l on an adult.
- The third nutrition is carried out during the fruit ripening period - a solution of 100 l of water, nitrophoska (500 g) and dry sodium humate (10 g) is added. Under one tree, 30 l of fertilizer is poured.
- The last feeding of apple trees is carried out in the autumn after harvesting - the soil in the garden is sprinkled with dry fertilizer from potassium sulfate and superphosphate - 300 g per m².
After each nutrition, the soil is abundantly shed with water to eliminate the risk of burning roots and improve the quality of assimilation of nutrient components.
Pruning is one of the most important tree care procedures. It is carried out every spring.
The first procedure - immediately after planting a seedling. Its height is shortened by 20 cm. A sparse-tier crown shape is suitable for this culture.
Therefore, for the next year of cultivation, the first row is formed - the strongest 3 branches are selected, the rest are cut out.
In the second year, a second-order row of the two thickest and most healthy shoots is formed. In addition, every spring all branches are cut that are broken off, frozen or damaged by diseases, pests.
A rejuvenating haircut is carried out after 7-8 years, when the tree begins to give small fruits and stops growth. All branches of five years of age are cut into a ring, and young growth is shortened by a third of the length.
To protect against infections, the places of cuts are irrigated with copper sulfate after each haircut and covered with garden varnish.
To prepare the tree for the winter, they begin after it drops the foliage. Preparatory work is carried out until the onset of the first frost.
The near-trunk zone is treated with slaked lime, then wrapped in burlap and sprinkled with a thick layer of earth.
Spruce spruce branches or ruberoid are laid on top. Young seedlings, if height permits, are covered with cardboard boxes.
Pests and diseases
The main cause of tree damage by various infections can only be improper care.
- Scab is one of the most dangerous diseases of the tree, which leads to damage to a large number of crops. Apples are covered with black dots and become unsuitable for eating. In the fight against this disease, drugs are used - Skor, Chorus or Strobi. Processing is carried out twice with an interval of 10 days. The same means are used for prevention purposes - they spray the crown before flowering and after it.
- Powdery mildew looks like a white coating that covers leaves, stems, flowers. Over time, the plaque becomes watery, acquires a brown color. All affected organs rot and perish. Against powdery mildew, the drug Strobi helps. Processing is carried out in dry weather twice with an interval of 7 days.
- Fruit rot causes spoilage of apples. To protect the trees, the crown is double-treated before flowering with the Skor preparation and after flowering with Horus.
- For the treatment of cytosporosis, which manifests itself in the form of black or brown spots on the cortex of trunks and stems, Fundazol or Hom is used.
- Of the pests, the moth does the most harm to the apple tree. Her larvae gnaw passages in the flesh, as a result of which they begin to rot and deteriorate. Before flowering, the tree should be treated with Fastak, and at the stage of fruit pouring - Tsimbush.
- From the caterpillars of the apple flower beetle, the drug Tsimbush helps.
Ripening and fruiting
The tree begins to bear fruit in the third year
A tree blooms in the middle or at the end of May, depending on climatic conditions. Lush flowering, medium-sized flowers, pale pink, formed singly or several in inflorescences.
The first fruiting begins in the 3rd year of cultivation.
Apples stay on branches for a long time, not crumbling, which simplifies their collection and allows removal during full technical maturity.
Collection and storage
The description of this culture includes a long period of fruiting - the first fruits begin to be picked in the last ten days of September, the last harvest is carried out in early December.
The harvest is stored until spring, does not lose its original qualities and marketability. Long-term storage of fruits provides storage in a cool room (basement or cellar) with low humidity (about 60%).
Under such conditions, the fruits may lie until May. Fruits are placed in wooden or cardboard boxes, pouring each layer with hay or straw.
After removing the apples, you need to immediately eat or let them go for processing, because in room conditions they quickly become wrinkled and lose their juiciness and taste.
The fruits of this variety are suitable for fresh consumption, as well as canning for the winter.
A good stock for this culture can serve as a columnar, dwarf or semi-dwarf variety.
- Of the dwarf varieties, the red-leafed paradise of Budakovsky is suitable. This variety has several characteristics - large-fruited, frost-resistant and the ability to produce good crops when grown in poor land. The tree is compact - its height is about 2 m, therefore it does not require much space on the site. It gives the first fruits in the third year of cultivation.
- Of the semi-dwarf varieties, Ural 1, Arm-18, P-60 are suitable. These crops have good frost resistance, resistance to drought and give consistently high yields.
- You can plant Spartan apple tree on a columnar tree. The result is a plant with a massive straight trunk, which is able to withstand a large load in productive years. Such trees are adapted for areas with risk farming and are resistant to many diseases, easily tolerate a temperature drop of -15 ° C.
Growing in different regions
For suburbs and mid-latitudes with long and severe frosts, it is recommended to use a semi-dwarf stock. Such an apple tree is characterized by intensive growth and is able to quickly replace frozen branches with new shoots. For good productivity, the tree needs to be watered frequently and regularly.
For Siberia, where frosts reach -50 ° C, growing Spartan apple trees on a dwarf or semi-dwarf rootstock will be quite difficult, so breeders are advised to plant semi-wild varieties with the highest degree of frost resistance.
After grafting, a down-crowned tree crown is formed so that in winter it appears under the cover of snow and does not freeze.
Cultivation in the Urals is also problematic, because climatic conditions are identical to Siberian. In the south of the region you can plant a columnar variety. With good shelter and care, you can get a decent and tasty crop.
The highest yields are observed in the southern regions of the country, where winters are milder and warmer. In this zone, all varieties of this culture successfully grow without shelter. Winter protection is only needed for young plants.
The opinion of gardeners
Due to its good productivity, long-term storage and the possibility of growing on different stocks, the Spartan apple tree has become widespread throughout Russia.
Despite some drawbacks, gardeners who have been cultivating this crop for more than one year note a stable and annual yield, the trees practically do not get sick and with good shelter they do not freeze.
According to the gardeners of the North and the Middle Strip, leaving is rather laborious, but worthwhile - proper and regular nutrition, watering and good shelter for the winter allow you to achieve good yields.