Malus x domestica, Low Chill Apple

Malus x domestica

Low Chill Apple
Family: Rosaceae
USDA Zone: 8-10?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunRegular waterWhite, off-white flowersPink flowersEdible plantDeciduous plantFragrant plantSubtropical or temperate zone plant. Mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

Malus x domestica (Low Chill Apple) is a small tree that grows 10-20 ft tall and is deciduous, losing its leaves each winter. The fragrant, white or off-white flowers appear from February-March and are followed by edible fruit which appear in June. The tree requires full sun and regular watering to thrive and is mature-plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time. While apple trees do best in USDA Zone 4-6, Low Chill Apple trees can bear fruit in USDA Zone 8-10.

The low chill varieties listed below require 50 - 150 chill hours for strong flowering and vigorous growth. Chill units are the number of hours the temperature stays between 32-55 F. Most effective chilling occurs with continuing temperatures below 45F.

This variety of apple can produce up to 60-80 fruits depending on maturity. Not only are these apples tasty, but they also contain beneficial nutrients like vitamins C and K, dietary fiber and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of energy and can be used in many recipes including pies, cider, cake and jams.

When planting an apple tree, it is important to water it regularly especially during its first season, and feed it with a complete fertilizer. Pruning should take place lightly in late winter to encourage new growth. The mulch should also be kept away from the tree trunk to conserve moisture. Low chill apples require cross-pollination with two different cultivars to ensure good production.

Some of the most popular low chill varieties are Anna, Dorsett Golden, and Tropic Sweet. Anna apples have a red skin and sweet, juicy flavor reminiscent of Red Delicious. Dorsett Golden looks like a Golden Delicious with a golden skin and sweet flavor. Tropic Sweet is a patented variety from the University of Florida. The low acid, sweet apple has a green skin with a red blush and is similar in flavor to the Gala apple.

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