Many effective antioxidants help decrease oxidative cell damage by free radicals. Contain dietary fiber and helpful phytonutrients called flavonoids, which have many different functions. Some act as antioxidants; some help maintain blood consistency without excess clotting; others help regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Fiber stimulates healthy digestion and helps moderate the bad form of cholesterol (LDL), contributing to heart health.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – C
Minerals – traces
Phytonutrients help reduce risk of heart disease, asthma and female lung cancer. Early studies (lab and animal) suggest apples may reduce risk of colon, lung and breast cancer.
How to Grow
One of the most popular, widespread and easily grown fruit trees in the world. Many different cultivars. Ask local nursery which cultivars best suited for your climate. Apples are self-sterile and need another variety to cross-pollinate to bear fruit. Growers often graft two varieties of a species onto one rootstock to produce fruit from only one tree. Many flavors to choose among. Different varieties best for cooking, eating fresh and making cider. Many patterns to train trees: fans, bush trees, dwarf pyramids, espaliers, cordons, stepovers, festooned trees or standard trees. Plant in spring or late fall. Trees prefer sunny, sheltered site with soil pH just above 6. Add lime to raise pH, if needed. Prepare soil by digging hole large enough to accept tree without altering root structure. Amend removed soil and around hole with organic matter and nutrients like aged compost or planting mix. Plant tree in style recommended for particular cultivar. Usually plants are bare-rooted or container grown. Some cultivars need ground stake for support. Water during dry weather and when apples begin to swell. Stop watering when apples begin to ripen. Apples are ripe and ready when a soft lift and twist removes them easily. Avoid bruising apples during harvest if you want them to store well. Discard any with signs of rot or disease. Store healthy apples, one variety to a bag with holes for airflow, in a cool place that will not freeze. During growth season, remove any apples that appear infected or dead. Thin out branches that block light from reaching interior of tree. Enjoy.
Apple pests are aphids, wooly aphids, winter moths, coddling moth, apple sawfly and wasps. If pests threaten integrity of entire harvest, effective treatments are same as for aphids and sawflies on apricots. See Plums for dealing with wasps. Female winter moths have no wings and must crawl up tree to lay eggs between autumn and spring. Tie a sticky band around bottom of tree trunk during egg laying period. Wooly aphids cover themselves with wax-like lining, making them hard to remove with sprays. For large quantities building up, cut them out. Maggots inside apples probably come from coddling moths. Hang pheromone traps, which confuse males and keep them from finding females to fertilize eggs.
Apples harvest at two times. Early in summer just before they ripen. Left on tree they get soft and mushy. Harvest later varieties in fall or early winter. Apple trees take about two years to bear fruit. Reapply fertilizer over the roots each spring to stimulate nutritious development. Each winter, pick up fallen leaves to prevent fungus or disease from over wintering next to tree. Note: Eat the skin, which holds the beneficial nutrients. Another reason to grow organic apples with natural, uncontaminated skin.