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How does one identify apple varieties?

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:08 am
by Stonybrook
Hi all...I am the new owner of a small farm in California, which the 87 year old previous owner told us was originally a Pippin apple farm in the early 1900s. We still have dozens of old trees on the property, some of which we aren't able to identify. The Gravensteins and Pippins were easy to identify, but there are two other varieties we would love to identify and don't have a clue how we would go about doing that. What process do experts use to identify old apple tree varieties?

Two of the apple varieties that we can't identify are really special. They are both very late in bloom (late April), and very very late in ripening (October), and are wonderfully sweet, crisp, white-fleshed apples that sold out quickly last year when we sold them to our local grocery store. It would sure be nice to put a name to them, and if I can't find a name I will probably try to propagate some cuttings to plant elsewhere.

Thanks so much for the help.

Re: How does one identify apple varieties?

Posted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:33 am
by OrangePippin-Richard
There are 2 methods, either experience and / or use of a key. There are lots of key-based identification systems. Try this one for example:

Provenance is often very important too.

Also remember that bloom and ripening times are always relative - so you say your ones are very late blooming ... in late April, whereas in many apple-growing areas late April would be considered early or mid-bloom.

Re: How does one identify apple varieties?

Posted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:16 am
by Stonybrook
Richard...thanks so much. That link is really helpful. I'll use it later this fall when the apples have matured, and hopefully it will identify two of these apple varieties. Thank you! And in regards to late bloom, I live in the California Bay Area, and I compare these two apple trees to the other apples they are planted with. My Gravensteins and Pippins started blooming two weeks ago and are now starting to leaf out. The two mystery apple trees are still fully dormant and haven't popped out a single blossom yet. Judging by the last two years I've been here, they are at least a month behind the Gravensteins and Pippins in bloom time, but are three months later in ripening. My Gravensteins and Pippens ripened and were harvested last year in the middle of July, but the two mystery apples ripened 3 months later in the middle of October. They are really quite unusual for our area, but they are also my favorite eating apple. Would love to give them a name.