Granny Smith Apple Care: How To Grow Granny Smith Apples

Granny Smith Apple Care: How To Grow Granny Smith Apples

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By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Granny Smith is the quintessential tartgreen apple. It is famous for its unique, bright green skin but alsoenjoyed for the perfect balance of taste between tart and sweet. Granny Smithapple trees are great for the home orchard because they provide these deliciousfruits in abundance. The apples can be enjoyed in any culinary use.

What is a Granny Smith Apple?

The original Granny Smith was discovered by Australian MariaAnn Smith. The tree grew on her property in a spot where she tossed crabapples.One little seedling grew into an appletree with beautiful green fruits. Today, no one is certain of itsparentage, but apple experts suggest the Granny Smith resulted from a crossbetween a Rome Beauty and a French crabapple.

And Granny Smith is among the most popular of applevarieties. The apples are truly versatile. Enjoy them fresh and store forup to six months. You can also use Granny Smith in cider, pies and other bakedgoods, and fresh or cooked in savory dishes. It pairs well as a simple snackwith cheese or peanut butter.

How to Grow Granny Smith Apples

When growing Granny smith trees, it’s best to be somewherein zones 5 through 9, but this variety will tolerate heat better than manyothers. You’ll also need another apple tree as a pollinator. Some good optionsinclude RedDelicious, RomeBeauty, and GoldenDelicious, as well as many crabapplevarieties.

Plant a new tree in a sunny spot with soil that drains well.Work organic matter into the soil first if it needs more nutrients. Make sure thegraft line is a couple of inches (5 cm.) above the soil line when planted.

Granny Smith apple care requires regular watering initially,until the tree is established, as well as pruning. Every year in late winter orearly spring give the tree a good trim to shape it and allow air flow betweenbranches. Remove suckers or any unwanted shoots at any time of the year.

Expect to harvest your Granny Smith apples in mid- tolate-October.

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Facts About Grany Smith Apple Trees

A Granny Smith apple tree produces apples that are quite tart. Apples grown on a Granny Smith apple tree are different from most other types of apples because Granny Smith apples always stay green and do not change color to indicate ripening. Granny Smith apple trees are quite easy to grow and are not overly susceptible to disease or infestation.

Prune Granny Smith Apples After Bloom

Some of the most popular apples, like 'Granny Smith' and 'Northern Spy', are unruly growers. Other examples are 'Rome Beauty', 'Melrose', 'Northern Spy', 'Spygold' and the old-fashioned non-spur-type ' Red Delicious '. In spring they shoot up strongly from a handful of buds near the tip of each branch, leaving a lot of unproductive "blind" wood lower down on each limb.

Researchers in South Africa, where 'Granny Smith' is a very important commercial apple, have come up with a surprising pruning method that makes more side branches and less long, whippy growth. The result: more easy-to-pick fruit.

After ordinary dormant pruning on 'Granny Smith', only five buds near the branch tips typically broke dormancy and the shoots reached 45" long. But when the researchers pruned 14 days after full bloom, 13 buds per branch started to grow, and the main shoots averaged just 30" long at the end of the season. When pruning was delayed two more weeks, 10 or 11 side shoots grew.

You can get similar results by spreading the branches on unruly apples to 60 degrees or less from the horizontal (use weights or spreader sticks). But if you favor pruning shears, forget dormant pruning on those trees. Instead, wait for bloom, then mark your calendar for a little more cutting in a couple of weeks (as if there isn't enough to do in the garden then!).

Granny Smith Apple Overview

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Popular Granny Smith Apple Companion Plants · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F · Comment About Planting
First, in most cases, you'll need to plant at least two varieties of apple trees for pollination purposes. Some apple varieties, such as Lodi, Liberty, Jonathan, Gala, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith are labeled as "self-pollinating." These varieties are able to pollinate themselves but will produce more apples if they are cross-pollinated.

Secondly, plant standard apple trees - one's which are not dwarf or semi-dwarf, about 25 to 30 feet apart. Standard apple trees are the hardiest and easiest to grow.

Plant standard size apple trees in a location that provides full sun and a soil with a pH between 5.5 and 8.5, but preferably between 6 and 6.5. Apple trees like a rich, loamy soil but will grow in sandy or clay soil. Apple trees do not like wet feet so make sure whatever the soil type that it is well-drained.

For best results, purchase at least a two-year old container-grown tree from your local nursery and garden center.

Planting A Container-Grown Apple Tree:

To plant a container-grown apple tree, dig the planting hole two to three time's as wide and not much deeper than the root ball. If your soil is clay-like or compacted, mix in some good organic matter at about a 30 to 70 ratio with the soil removed from the planting hole. Then set the root ball in the hole making sure that the bud union is about an inch or so above ground level. The bud union is where the root system meets the trunk of the tree (where the tree was grafted onto the root stock). Backfill the hole to the top edge of the root ball with the soil mixture tamping as you go to remove air pockets.
Water thoroughly and then apply a 1 to 2 inch layer of aged shredded wood mulch or pine straw.

Planting A Bare-Root Apple Tree:

If planting a bare-root tree dig the hole at least two feet deeper than the roots and then add some of the native soil removed from the planting hole back into the hole before planting. This will make it easier for the root system to spread out. As you plant, spread the tree roots out, checking as you go to ensure that they are not twisted or crowded. Firm or pack the soil around the roots to remove any air pockets.When planted, the bud union should be about one to two inches above the ground. The bud union is the spot where the root system meets the trunk. Do not fertilize your tree when planting because this will burn the roots. Pack the soil down and then water the tree well. This will eliminate any remaining air pockets and ensure the roots have good contact with the soil. · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F · Comment About Pruning
Professional fruit growers use several different pruning and training methods for training apple and pear trees: Central Leader, Modified Central Leader, and Open Center or Vase Shape. Click on the link below to find instructions for the Central Leader and Open Center Methods. · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F · Comment About Feeding
Fruits, being largely water and sugars, remove relatively few nutrients from the soil, compared to other crops. Therefore, much of the nutrients a fruit tree needs can be met through decomposition of mulch (if you mulch your trees), or by the application of lime and organic soil ammendments used when planting the tree.

Supplementary fertilization may still be required for optimal growth and production of fruit. Doing a soil test can indicate what elements and nutrients may be deficient in your soil. Many Local Cooperative Extension Services provide soil testing services, or foliar analysis.

You can fertilize your fruit trees either organically, or with commercial fertilizers.

Fertilizing A Newly Planted Fruit Tree:

Use a weak solution of Fish Emulsion as a starter fertilizer, or a pinch of bone meal may be added to the planting hole, but do not add commercial fertilizer.

Fertilizing Established Fruit Trees Organically

Most organic fertilization programs focus on supplementing nitrogen as the key element, since it is needed in the greatest amount by the fruit trees. If you have only a few trees, and you want to fertilize them organically, buy a bottle of Fish Emulsion at your local nursery and garden center. You may also use granulated organic fertilizer, such as those that contain chicken manure or other organic substances.

Apply organic fertilizer (at rate recommended on label) by hand or with a rotary type spreader around the drip-line of the tree about 3 to 4 months prior to harvest date. If you make your own organic compost, simply use it as a mulch around the the drip line to a point 12" from the trunk. The nutrients will seep down into the soil where they can be picked up by the root system.

Fertilizing Established Fruit Trees With A Commercial Fertilizer:

To fertilize a fruit tree with a commercial fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, toss a thin circle of pelletized fertilizer around the trees "drip line," which is the part of the soil below the outer perimeter of the branch system. Follow instructions on product label for proper application rates and methods.

During the first year after transplanting, spread fertilizer after new growth has emerged in spring. If using 10-10-10, spread about 1 pound per inch of trunk diameter. Then work the fertilizer into the soil with a trowel, and mulch - making sure you keep the mulch at least 12 inches away from the trunk of the tree.

In each subsequent year, make a split application: half after new growth has emerged in spring, and the remaining half at a month later, using 10-10-10 at the rate of 1 pound per inch of trunk diameter. Trunk diameter is measured 12 inches above the ground. · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F · Comment About Problems
Let's face it, there's no hiding from the fact that insects really like fruit trees. Thing is, many insects that visit fruit trees will not cause serious damage or problems. Much of the problems with insects can be kept at a minimum by following some basic guidelines for prevention. Click on the link below to find some useful tips for preventing insects.

Disease control is another consideration. Click on the link below to find helpful tips for controlling disease and fungus on fruit trees.

Granny Smith Apples

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Granny Smith apples are popular for their tart flavor and firm texture.

Granny Smith apples are popular for their tart flavor and firm texture.

With its sublimely tart flavor and unmistakable green hue, the Granny Smith apple (Malus domestica) is one of the most recognizable and beloved apples in the orchard. Its acidity and strong taste makes it a frequent choice for both baking and for eating as a hand fruit. Consistently rated among the top ten apples in popularity, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t part of the American experience until the 1970s. Its journey, however, was a long one and it all began in 1868 with a chance seedling discovered growing from a pile of discarded crab apples somewhere near Sydney, Australia.

As the story goes, Maria Ann “Granny” Smith (yes, there really was a “Granny” Smith) was cooking with French crab apples and discarded the remains in an ad hoc compost pile near a creek flowing behind her farmhouse. From the pile sprouted a chance seedling unlike any apple she had ever encountered. Chance seedlings are trees that grow without human intervention. New types of apples emerge as one type of tree is pollinated by another and in wild conditions it is often difficult to establish the pollinating tree. Smith could not establish the true parentage of this new variety (it is now suspected to have been the European Wild Apple), but was so taken with its bright flavor and versatility, she decided to propagate the trees herself.

“Granny” Smith died just a few years later, but her unique apples found a following among local growers, eventually gaining national attention in Australia in the 1890s after winning a prize for “Best Cooking Apple” at the Castle Hill Agricultural and Horticultural Show, inspiring others to cultivate the variety. By 1895, the Department of Agriculture recommended the Granny Smith for export, citing its late picking season and long shelf life.

Introduced to the UK in the 1930s, it was successful, in part, because its thick skin and firm flesh made it easy to ship and stock in supermarkets. In the 1970s, the special apple finally reached the United States, where it is now grown domestically.

In season from September through November, Granny Smith apples have become a staple of fall baking. Used extensively in seasonal pies, cakes, cobblers and crisps, it all began with a happy accident discovered by its namesake halfway around the world.

Watch the video: Turn Apple Seeds Into A Tree! How To Grow Apples From An Apple Seed


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