aroberts wrote:Hi, we are looking to get a single apple tree for our smallish garden - eating variety.
We are looking for a self pollinator that requires little/no spraying.
We have previously had an unidentified apple tree. The flesh was pinkish and quite fluffy - not keen on getting the same again.
Maybe you had a Pink Pearl. Consider a multi-graft
tree. Raising multiple varieties (even on one trunk) means that unrelated pollen will generally be available unless you have a really long flowering season. If your neighbors have flowing crab apples, then that consideration is taken care of automatically. Otherwise, if each of the varieties you choose doesn't provide fertile pollen at the time the others need it, you can graft in a branch of crab apple, too.
Please allow me to adjust your expectations a little with regard to a couple of things: self-pollination (self-fertility) and disease and insect resistance.
Up to a week ago I would have said that no apple varieties were self-fertile, but I live and learn. Apparently there are a number for which self-fertility is claimed (by nurserymen) such as: Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Winesap, Gala, Fuji, Cox's Orange Pippin (our namesake), Grimes Golden, Spartan, Winter Banananana, Empire, etc, etc, etc. This list goes on and on. These are the ones you may have heard of. (The Brits have a bunch that they don't let out of the country.) However, if you glance at Wikipedia
, you find echoed there my opinion that even so-called self-fertile varieties are really lesser degrees of self-infertile. That is, having unrelated pollen available will improve yield.
I have similar opinions of disease resistance -- that these are claims (more or less unsubstantiated) by nurserymen. Limited disease resistance is claimed for Liberty, Freedom, Goldrush, Redfree, and Enterprise among others. However, although these varieties may be less susceptible, they aren't immune, and, like all varieties, they will profit from treatment in most seasons.
I don't believe there are effective pest controls for the backyard gardener that don't involve spraying. There are late season organic controls (like maggot barriers), but preventing damage while fruit is setting requires insecticides where pest pressure is high as in an urban setting.