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One of our plans is to setup a mini apple orchard in the back rear corner of our property.  Stopped into the local garden center and had a great chat with them about our options and some recommendations.

After our chat, it looks like we'll be going with 6 apple trees in total.  This will provide more than enough apples for our needs and than some.  We're also going to look at reconstituting half a dozen older apple tree's that are not on our property, but was part of the old farm homestead.

We're going to plant 4 tree's in the next couple weeks and then 2 or possibly 4 more in the Spring.  We're going on a waiting list for the Cortland apples for spring delivery.  Apples must be cross pollinated, meaning you can't just plant one McIntosh tree and get fruit.  You must plant a min or two different varieties of trees within the same or next pollinator group to bare fruit.  We're starting our first bee hive in the Spring so we should be good on the pollination side, we just need to ensure we are selecting the proper variety.  Ideally we'd like to also have an early and mid selection.

Apples are grouped into Pollinator Groups.  Groups A through H dependant on (table courtesy of Wikipedia)

  • Group A – Early flowering, May 1 to 3 in England (Gravenstein, Red Astrachan)
  • Group B – May 4 to 7 (Idared, McIntosh)
  • Group C – Mid-season flowering, May 8 to 11 (Granny Smith, Cox's Orange Pippin)
  • Group D – Mid/late season flowering, May 12 to 15 (Golden Delicious, Calville blanc d'hiver)
  • Group E – Late flowering, May 16 to 18 (Braeburn, Reinette d'Orléans)
  • Group F – May 19 to 23 (Suntan)
  • Group H – May 24 to 28 (Court-Pendu Gris) (also called Court-Pendu plat)

We are definitely going to plant some Cortland trees, since that is our favorite.  We also love McIntosh, so we need to decide on the third variety before final plan and purchase.  We'll update this post with some planted pictures once we dig a bit further into the information (pun intended).  If you planted a mini orchard or a couple apple tree's, what variety did you plant and what climate zone are you growing in?

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