Apple-tree Melba: description and description, planting and care, photo
Apple trees are grown in many garden plots, and one of the most common varieties of these fruits is the Melba variety. He conquered many gardeners with a high yield of trees, and sweet and sour large fruits have excellent keeping quality and are versatile in use. This article lists the main characteristics of the Melba cultivar, the rules for planting seedlings, recommendations for caring for trees, and methods for solving possible problems that arise when growing a crop.
Variety breeding history
The Melba variety was obtained by breeders of the Central Experimental Station in Ottawa (Canada) in 1898 with free pollination of Macintosh apple seeds. He was named after the famous opera singer Nelly Melba. The resulting variety had many positive characteristics and excellent fruit taste, therefore, from Canada, the tree later fell into the territory of Europe and Russia, where it is grown today in large and small households.
Did you know? In ancient Greece, the apple tree was considered the Apollo tree, and the English name of the fruit "apple" came from the name of this Greek god.
Description of the tree and fruits
This variety has gained great popularity among gardeners due to the compact size of the tree and the attractive appearance of the fruit. Melba apple tree looks beautiful on the site, and large ripe apples are used both fresh and in cooking.
- Melba apple trees are medium-sized, their height is about 3-4 m. The thick trunk is covered with dark brown bark with a slight orange or reddish tint.
- An adult tree has a moderately spreading crown of a round, slightly elongated shape, the width of which sometimes reaches 7 m. It consists of medium-thick, slightly lowered branches and large light green oblong-shaped leaves with small notches at the edges.
- The flowering period of the apple tree falls in April. The flowers are large, exuding a pleasant aroma, and their tight-fitting petals are painted in white-pink or light purple.
- The variety is self-fertile, but for the formation of more ovaries it is recommended to grow it next to other varieties of apple trees for the purpose of cross pollination (the best pollinators are Antonovka, Belfler Chinese, Quinti).
- Ripe apples have a rounded and slightly elongated shape, slightly flattened. Large fruits predominate, and the average fruit mass is 150 g.
- Outside, the fruits are covered with a dense, but delicate and smooth yellow-green skin, on which there is a red blush and a small layer of wax coating.
- The pulp of apples is painted white, characterized by high juiciness and sweet and sour taste, exudes a pleasant candy aroma. In terms of taste, the variety was rated at 4.5 points on a 5-point scale.
Important! In conditions of cold summers and too severe winters with little snow, it is not recommended to grow Melba, as the fruits ripen poorly, and the apple tree may die from severe frost.
When choosing a variety of apples for growing on your site, you need to pay attention to its characteristics. This will allow you to find the variety of fruit trees that can grow and bear fruit in specific climate conditions, and will also help determine the volume of the future crop and its storage time. Melba can be grown in the southern regions, as well as in regions with a temperate climate.
Disease and pest resistance
Trees of this variety have a weak immunity to diseases and pest attacks, therefore, when growing Melba, you must strictly follow the rules for caring for the apple tree and regularly inspect it in order to detect signs of the problem early.
Did you know? The total area of all apple orchards on our planet is about 5 million hectares.
The most common variety diseases are listed below:
- Scab. The disease develops in a cool climate and high humidity. A sign of infection is brown spots on the leaves and fruits, which gradually increase in size. As a result of this, the leaves prematurely crumble, and the fruits deteriorate and deform, becoming unsuitable for eating and storage. To treat the tree, the crown is treated with fungicides (for example, “Skor”).
- Powdery Mildew Infection affects the apple tree in extreme heat and irrigation. In this case, the surface of the tree is covered with a characteristic white coating. It provokes the drying of leaves, falling of inflorescences and ovaries. For treatment, the crown is treated with a solution of colloidal sulfur or Bordeaux liquid during the period of bud formation, after flowering is completed, and after another 3 weeks at the stage of ovary formation.
- Fruit rot. The main symptom of the disease is brown spots and white growths on the surface of the fruits and ovaries, which lead to decay of the crop. Affected fruits contain fungal spores and serve as a source of further infection. All rotten apples must be removed and destroyed, and the crown of the apple tree should be sprayed with fungicides three times before and after flowering, as well as 3 weeks before the fruits ripen.
- Black cancer. This disease affects the bark, leaves and fruits of the apple tree and is very dangerous, as it can lead to the death of the tree. Symptoms include dark spots on the leaves, cracks on the surface of the trunk and branches, as well as a black coating on the fruits. For treatment, you need to trim all affected areas of the tree and spray it with Bordeaux fluid.
Melba apple trees can also be attacked by insects, which significantly reduce crop yields. A list of the main crop pests is presented below:
- Apple Moth. From the eggs of this insect appear caterpillars that eat leaves and buds. The green mass of the tree thins, photosynthesis slows down, the apple tree begins to lag behind in development, and its productivity decreases. To control the pest, insecticides are used (for example, Actellik).
- Leafloader. This insect lays eggs on the leaves, from which caterpillars appear. They feed on the flesh of the leaf and cause it to twist, which negatively affects the growth and yield of the apple tree. Insecticides are used against the pest (for example, “Karbofos”).
- Shield. The insect parasitizes on the bark of an apple tree and sucks out the juice from it. At the same time, dark oval growths appear on the branches and trunk, and the tree slows down growth, individual branches dry out. To get rid of the pest, the surface of the bark is washed with a solution of ash and tar soap, and in the autumn the apple tree is sprayed with a solution of copper sulfate.
- Apple bee-eater. An adult insect lays eggs in the buds of an apple tree before flowering begins. The appeared larvae destroy the inflorescence from the inside and prevent the formation of the fetal ovary, causing the flowers to fall. To combat the beetle, a solution of chlorophos is used, treating it with tree foliage.
- Moth This pest harms the apple tree at the stage of fruit ovary formation. Caterpillars hatch from the eggs laid on the leaves, which gnaw through the flesh of the apple to the very core, making the fruit unsuitable for use and storage. To stop the spread of the pest, you need to remove damaged fruits from the tree and spray it with insecticides.
To reduce the risk of these problems, it is recommended that preventive measures be taken:
- spray the apple tree with 1% Bordeaux liquid or Nitrofen up to 7 times per season, starting from spring until the buds open;
- regularly prune branches;
- in autumn, remove fallen leaves and plant debris from the region of the trunk circle;
- in the spring and autumn to dig the earth around the tree to destroy the larvae of pests and fungal spores;
- carry out whitewashing of the stem - this will not only destroy pest larvae wintering under the bark, but also save the trunk from rodents;
- adhere to the rules of watering and fertilizing.
Did you know? The inner part of the apple is 25% air, so the fruits do not drown if thrown into water.
Winter hardiness and drought tolerance
Melba apple tree has an average winter hardiness, therefore it can be grown without shelter only in those regions where the air temperature in winter does not drop below -30 ° С. In conditions of prolonged and frosty winters, a tree needs a protective shelter that protects its trunk and roots from freezing. Adult trees need additional watering during a drought. The apple tree reacts especially badly to a lack of moisture in the soil during fruit ripening. Drying of the soil in this case often causes the unripe fruits to fall and the yield of the variety to decrease.
This variety is characterized by late harvest ripening, which completely depends on the climatic conditions of a particular growing region.
The main features of fruit ripening are:
- the first ripe fruits appear on the apple tree in the second half of August;
- in the southern regions, ripe fruits can be removed already at the end of July;
- the ripening of apples located in the shaded part of the tree may take 1.5 months more;
- a sign that the fruit has ripened is its falling to the ground.
Important! To eliminate breaks in fruiting of the adult apple tree Melba, with abundant flowering, it is recommended to remove all inflorescences on one side of it - then the tree will please with a good harvest for the next year.
Fruiting and Yield
The positive qualities of the Melba apple tree are a short period of time from planting a seedling to picking the first ripe fruit and high productivity. But the fruiting of a tree depends on its age and may become irregular as the apple grows.
The main characteristics of yield and fruiting varieties are listed below:
- the apple tree begins to bear fruit 4 years after planting a seedling;
- in the first 10 years, the young tree is characterized by regular fruiting, and the yield reaches 90–150 kg;
- 10-11 years after the first harvest of apples, the high-yielding years begin to alternate with periods of rest - so the tree regains strength;
- about 50 kg of fruit can be collected from one adult tree that has reached the age of 10 years;
- ripening of apples is uneven and depends on the amount of sunlight received by the fruit;
- in the absence of pollinating varieties near the Melba apple tree, yield indicators are reduced;
- the total life span of a tree is up to 80 years.
Transportability and storage
One of the advantages of the Melba variety is the excellent presentation of ripe fruit, which is well preserved even after transportation over long distances. The dense and smooth skin reliably protects fruits from mechanical damage and the effects of adverse external factors, which is why apple trees of this variety are often grown on an industrial scale in order to sell fresh fruits and use them for the production of fruit juices. Melba apples also have good keeping quality. In a cool and darkened place, they can be stored for up to 6 months, without losing their high taste.
We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the features of growing summer varieties of apples, such as: Sinap and Mantet.
Having studied the characteristics of the Melba variety, it is necessary to provide the trees with the necessary conditions for normal growth and generous fruiting. In addition to the climatic features of the region, it is necessary to take into account the location of the site for planting seedlings and its compliance with some requirements:
- the place for the apple orchard should be on a hill - this will prevent stagnation of melt and rainwater around the tree and decay of the root system;
- it is preferable to plant seedlings from the south or southeast side - so they will receive a sufficient amount of sunlight and heat, and also better tolerate wintering;
- it is recommended to choose a site with loose soil containing sand and clay - it passes air and water well, needed by the roots of the apple tree;
- the soil should have a neutral level of acidity and be fertile, so that actively growing seedlings have enough nutrients;
- the place should be well lit by the sun - this is necessary for the full ripening of apples and saturation of the fruit pulp with sugar;
- it is recommended to choose a site protected from cold wind and drafts - they weaken the tree and can provoke its freezing in winter or the occurrence of diseases;
- groundwater at the selected location should lie at a depth of not less than 1.5 m - otherwise the roots of the tree will be in waterlogged soil and will quickly begin to rot;
- there should be no other trees or tall structures around the planted seedling within a radius of 5 m - they will obscure the apple tree from the sun, interfering with its normal growth.
Timing and landing scheme
For planting, it is recommended to choose healthy and strong seedlings that have a branched root system and 2-3 strong lateral shoots. Young trees, whose age does not exceed 2 years, are best rooted in the plot.
Planting dates depend on the climatic conditions of the growing region:
- in regions with moderately cold and snowy winters, planting is carried out in the second half of September or early October;
- Autumn planting of apple trees should be carried out at least a month before the first frost;
- in areas with severe winters (air temperature below -20 ° C) trees are planted on the site in early spring - in April, until the buds open.
Important! 2 days before planting in a permanent place, the roots of a seedling are immersed in a container of water, and before planting they are dipped in a viscous mixture of cow dung, water and clay.
Planting pits for young trees begin to be prepared at least 2 weeks before planting, so that the soil is well settled in them. The diameter of the hole should be about 1 m, and the depth should be up to 80 cm. In order for the trees to have enough free space for growth, a distance of about 6–7 m is left between neighboring seedlings.
A step-by-step algorithm for planting the Melba apple tree is presented below:
- The land obtained by digging a landing pit is divided into 2 parts. In one of them, equal proportions of sand, peat and compost, as well as 1 liter of ash, 400 g of superphosphate and 200 g of potassium sulfate are added.
- At the bottom of the prepared landing pit lay out a layer of drainage. To do this, you can use pieces of brick, fine gravel or coarse river sand.
- A mound is formed at the bottom of the hole from the resulting fertile mixture. The recess is left in this state until landing.
- Before planting, from the north side of the knoll at the bottom of the landing pit, a wooden peg is driven in to support the seedling.
- Immerse the roots of the young tree in the recess and spread them on the surface of the elevation. The root neck of the seedling should be at a height of 6-8 cm above the ground.
- Sprinkle the roots with loose soil periodically shaking the seedling to eliminate the voids between the roots and the soil layer.
- Compact the earth within a radius of 50 cm around the trunk and form a circle bounded by a small earthen roller.
- Tie a seedling to a support, pour it with 2 buckets of water. After absorbing the liquid into the soil, cover the surface of the trunk circle with a layer of mulch from peat or dry grass.
Video: instructions for planting an apple tree
Young seedlings and adult trees of Melba variety require simple maintenance, which consists in regular watering and top dressing, pruning and proper preparation of the apple tree for wintering. The basic rules for caring for Melba are listed below:
- watering is carried out from the moment the buds appear on the tree until the end of September;
- watering frequency - 1 time in 30 days;
- 20 l of water is spent for each young sapling, and about 40-60 l for a fruit-bearing tree;
- after each watering, the soil in the near-stem circle is mulched so that the moisture lasts longer in the soil;
- the first fertilizer is carried out the next year after planting - in May, the seedling is watered with a solution of 10 liters of water and 500 g of urea. In early June, this feeding is repeated;
- at the end of July, the apple tree is watered with an aqueous solution of chicken droppings (12: 1 ratio) or cow manure (8: 1);
- the last top dressing is carried out during the autumn digging of the soil around the trunk - 50 g of potassium sulfate, 100 g of superphosphate, 700 g of ash, a bucket of peat are brought under each tree;
- with a large number of fruits, props are installed under the branches of the apple tree - they will prevent breakdown of shoots under the weight of the fruit;
- the first pruning is performed the next spring after planting - the procedure is carried out before the sap flow and buds begin to flow;
- to form the stem, remove all small shoots located at a height of less than 50 cm from the surface of the earth;
- in the first 3 years of cultivation, the main conductor is shortened every spring by a third of the length and 3 tiers of crown are formed (one tier per year) - for this, some of the strongest branches are left, and the remaining shoots are cut off;
- the distance between adjacent tiers of skeletal branches should be about 40-50 cm;
- after completion of the formation of tiers, each spring should remove young shoots located too close to each other and growing inside the crown - this will avoid thickening and improve air circulation around the tree branches;
- sanitary pruning is performed in autumn and spring - all damaged and dried branches are removed;
- after trimming, the places of the slices are abundantly smeared with garden varnish for protection against the penetration of harmful microorganisms;
- поздней осенью и ранней весной нижнюю часть ствола нужно побелить раствором извести для защиты от насекомых-вредителей, солнечных ожогов и обледенения коры;
- поздней осенью вокруг ствола раскладывают слой мульчи для защиты корней от морозов;
- для подготовки к зиме и защиты от грызунов штамб оборачивают несколькими слоями мешковины, располагая между ними слои сухой соломы — материалы надёжно фиксируют на дереве с помощью верёвки;
- после выпадения снега вокруг яблони формируют сугроб — это защищает дерево от перемерзания.
Harvesting and storage of crops
После созревания плоды данного сорта осыпаются с дерева на землю, но для лучшего хранения их рекомендуют срывать с дерева слегка недозревшими. Для яблок Мельба характерна хорошая лёжкость, но сбор и хранение урожая рекомендуется осуществлять по таким правилам:
- фрукты нужно собирать вручную очень аккуратно, избегая механических повреждений и ударов плодов;
- рекомендуется срывать плоды в сухую и ясную погоду — так они будут лучше храниться;
- для хранения подходят только плоды с ровной и цельной кожурой, без признаков гнили или других повреждений;
- собранные фрукты оборачивают бумагой и укладывают в деревянные ёмкости, а затем помещают в холодильник или тёмный подвал;
- оптимальная температура, позволяющая сохранить свежесть плодов на 4–6 месяцев, составляет 0...+2°С.
Считаю Мельбу одним из самых вкусных, если не самым вкусным из всех, известных мне летних яблок. Встречал много её клонов. Выбрал себе у одного из своих друзей очень хороший - крупный, вкусный, ароматный и не очень подверженный болячкам клон этого сорта и привил на 118-ом подвое. Считаю, что Мельба должна быть в каждом саду, где только она может произрастать. Эппл //forum.vinograd.info/showpost.php?p=919838&postcount=4