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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Trying to pick a new apple tree
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #1
clengman
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Default Trying to pick a new apple tree

I don't know if this is the right forum for a question like this, but I thought someone here might have an opinion.

I live in the city of pittsburgh, but with a nice-sized backyard. Along with the lot I inherited three very nice, mature apple trees. Two are red delicious, not my favorite apples, but mine are certainly better than the hard, tasteless, red delicious apples common at the grocery store. My pride and joy though is a tree that produces beautiful round, delicate but very crisp, golden fruit with a little bit of russeting. They vary from green in the shadier parts of the tree to yellow with a pink or red blush for the fruits that ripen in full sun. They are intensely sweet and tart and have a slight astringency in the skin. I don't know apple varieties well, but from what I've read I think it is most likely a "golden russet" tree. I understand that it is one of the better cider apples and I am interested in trying my hand at cider-making. I'm still in the process of acquiring the necessary equipment for pressing and brewing.

The reason for my inquiry is that my wife and I would like to plant a few more (not necessarily apple) trees to fill up the yard a bit. I figure if I'm planting trees I might as well put in another apple tree. I'm looking for input regarding an apple variety that would be a good compliment to my golden russet for cider. I'm thinking something on the bitter-sweet end of the spectrum would be good. It would also be nice if it was a good stand-alone cider apple as my golden russet tree is tending towards a pattern of biennial bearing and I don't a get a large crop every year. It'd also be nice if it was pleasant to eat as a dessert fruit, or useful for cooking or for some purpose other than cider.

My soil in western PA is heavy and a little acidic, and my lot is exposed at the top of a largish hill. Disease resistance is always a plus, but I have had very few problems with pests or fungus in my location. I've never had to spray for anything.

Can anyone recommend some good apple varieties to consider? Thanks for your input.

Carl

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Old 10-05-2012, 04:44 PM   #2
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first of all, i am totally unqualified to answer this.
second, it is absolutely the right place to post such a thing, i'm sure you'll get lots of good suggestions. for sure you can find nurseries that sell cider varieties, for example
http://www.cumminsnursery.com/cidervar.htm
but i don't even have a back yard let alone a cider apple tree so i don't know much about disease resistance or soil. i personally love single variety ciders from kingston black so of course i'm recommending it. good luck

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Old 10-05-2012, 08:49 PM   #3
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You might try Kingston Black, Farnum Hill makes a single varietal cider with it. I've never had the chance to try that cider, but their summer cider & their dry cider are VERY TASTY.
http://www.povertylaneorchards.com/f...the-ciders/kb/

You might also find this useful:
http://www.greenmantlenursery.com/fruit/apple-cider.htm
Just scroll down for the list. You'll need to check as to which cultivars will do well in your zone, your county extension agent is a great resource, give them a call.
Regards, GF.

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Old 10-06-2012, 04:13 AM   #4
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I have been doing a lot of on-line research on apple varieties for cider making because I want to plant about a dozen trees for cidering. Some of the varieties have been suggested are Golden Russet, Newtown (Albemarle) Pippin, Northern Spy, Baldwin, Tompkins King, Keepsake, Hews Crab, Kingston Black, Foxwhelp, Grimes Golden, Rhode Island Greening, Northern Spy and Winesap. It's important that you plant the right varieties to blend and you'll end up with an awsome cider! I bought rootstock from FEDCO and grafted scion stock to it instead of buying started seedlings. Another option if you don't have a lot of space is to graft 3 or 4 varieties of scion onto a single rootstock, buy a 2 or 3 year old sapling and graft 3 varieties onto it. Grafting is very easy to do just do a Google or U-tube search if you want more information. Good luck with it!

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Old 10-06-2012, 05:38 AM   #5
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I live in Cincinnati and have an orchard with lots of good varieties. Our favorite is Ashmead's Kernel. It is an old variety that has a good clean crop every year. It is highly regarded as a stand alone cider. There are also some crabapple varieties to add to your blend to give it some character. We have been pressing cider for about 25 years and have a bit of experience. Let me know if you need more suggestions.

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Old 10-06-2012, 06:19 AM   #6
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I would second Ashmead's Kernel, by far the nicest single variety cider I ever had was made with this apple. My parents also have one in their garden and it's a great eater too, also the best yielding tree in the orchard.

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Old 10-06-2012, 06:24 AM   #7
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Golden Russet is a wonderful cider apple. When working with it I like to add something with a bit more aroma. McIntosh, or it's many hybrids like Cortland, Liberty, & Empire etc. Additionally something with a bit more acid ala Northern Spy or Granny Smith etc. in smaller amounts gives cider a lively character.

Consider what you can buy locally from commercial orchards, and plant varieties that are not as easily available.

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Old 10-06-2012, 09:48 PM   #8
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Thanks for the ideas. Sounds like ashmeade's kernel might be a winner. Maybe I'll try some grafting, too to get a little more variety in my limited space.

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:29 PM   #9
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I have two crabapple trees I planted about 11 years ago, and they make great cider and wine. I have a dolgo crab, and a centennial crab.

St. Lawrence Nurseries, in upstate New York, has an excellent catalogue with detailed descriptions of the varieties, hardiness, taste, vigor, and you could find something perfect for you.

The crabapples (and semi-dwarf cherry tree) we purchased were exactly as described, and if I was buying more trees that is the first place I'd look.

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