1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Apple
APPLE (a common Teut. word, A.S. aepl, aeppel, O.H.G. aphul, aphal, apfal, mod. Ger. Apfel), the fruit of Pyrus Malus, belonging to the sub-order Pomaceae, of the natural order Rosaceae. It is one of the most widely cultivated and best-known and appreciated of fruits belonging to temperate climates. In its wild state it is known as the crab-apple, and is found generally distributed throughout Europe and western Asia, growing in as high a latitude as Trondhjem in Norway. The crabs of Siberia belong to different species of Pyrus. The apple-tree as cultivated is a moderate-sized tree with spreading branches, ovate, acutely serrated or crenated leaves, and flowers in corymbs. The fruit is too well known to need any description of its external characteristics. The apple is successfully cultivated in higher latitudes than any other fruit tree, growing up to 65° N., but notwithstanding this, its blossoms are more susceptible of injury from frost than the flowers of the peach or apricot. It comes into flower much later than these trees, and so avoids the night frost which would be fatal to its fruit-bearing. The apples which are grown in northern regions are, however, small, hard, and crabbed, the best fruit being produced in hot summer climates, such as Canada and the United States. Besides in Europe and America, the fruit is now cultivated at the Cape of Good Hope, in northern India and China, and in Australia and New Zealand.
Apples have been cultivated in Great Britain probably since the period of the Roman occupation, but the names of many varieties indicate a French or Dutch origin of much later date. In 1688 Ray enumerated seventy-eight varieties in cultivation in the neighbourhood of London, and now it is calculated that about 2000 kinds can be distinguished. According to the purposes for which they are suitable, they can be classed as— 1st, dessert; 2nd, culinary; and 3rd, cider apples. The principal dessert apples are the Pippins (pepins, seedlings), of which there are numerous varieties. As culinary apples, besides Rennets and other dessert kinds, Codlins and Biffins are cultivated. In England, Herefordshire and Devonshire are famous for the cultivation of apples, and in these counties the manufacture of cider (q.v.) is an important industry. Cider is also extensively prepared in Normandy and in Holland. Verjuice is the fermented juice of crab apples.
A large trade in the importation of apples is carried on in Britain, imports coming chiefly from French, Belgian and Dutch growers, and from the United States and British North America. Dried and pressed apples are imported from France for stewing, under the name of Normandy Pippins, and similarly prepared fruits come also from America.
The apple may be propagated by seeds to obtain stocks for grafting, and also for the production of new varieties. The established sorts are usually increased by grafting, the method called whip-grafting being preferred. The stocks should be at least as thick as the finger; and should be headed back to where the graft is to be fixed in January, unless the weather is frosty, but in any case before vegetation becomes active. The scions should be cut about the same time, and laid in firmly in a trench, in contact with the moist soil, until required.
The tree will thrive in any good well-drained soil, the best being a good mellow calcareous loam, while the less iron there is in the subsoil the better. The addition of marl to soils that are not naturally calcareous very much improves them. The trees are liable to canker in undrained soils or those of a hot sandy nature. Where the soil is not naturally rich enough, it should be well manured, but not to the extent of encouraging over-luxuriance. It is better to apply manure in the form of a compost than to use it in a fresh state or unmixed.
To form an orchard, standard trees should be planted at from 25 to 40 ft. between the rows, according to the fertility of the soil and other considerations. The trees should be selected with clean, straight, self-supporting stems, and the head should be shapely and symmetrical, with the main branches well balanced. In order to obtain such a stem, all the leaves on the first shoot from the graft or bud should be encouraged to grow, and in the second season the terminal bud should be allowed to develop a further leading shoot, while the lateral shoots should be allowed to grow, but so that they do not compete with the leader, on which the growth of leaves should be encouraged in order that they may give additional strength to the stem below them. The side shoots should be removed gradually, so that the diminution of foliage in this direction may not exceed the increase made by the new branches and shoots of the upper portion. Dwarf pyramids, which occupy less space than open dwarfs, if not allowed to grow tall, may be planted at from 10 to 12 ft. apart. Dwarf bush trees may be planted from 10 to 15 ft. apart, according to the variety and the soil. Dwarf bushes on the Paradise stock are both ornamental and useful in small gardens, the trees being always conveniently under control. These bush trees, which must be on the proper stock—the French Paradise—may be planted at first 6 ft. apart, with the same distance between the rows, the space being afterwards increased, if desired, to 12 ft. apart, by removing every alternate row.
“Cordons” are trees trained to a single shoot, the laterals of which are kept spurred. They are usually trained horizontally, at about 1½ ft. from the ground, and may consist of one stem or of two, the stems in the latter case being trained in opposite directions. In cold districts the finer sorts of apples may be grown against walls as upright or oblique cordons. From these cordon trees very fine fruit may often be obtained. The apple may also be grown as an espalier tree, a form which does not require much lateral space. The ordinary trained trees for espaliers and walls should be planted 20 ft. apart.
The fruit of the apple is produced on spurs which form on the branchlets of two years old and upwards, and continue fertile for a series of years. The principal pruning should be performed in summer, the young shoots if crowded being thinned out, and the superabundant laterals shortened by breaking them half through. The general winter pruning of the trees may take place any time from the beginning of November to the beginning of March, in open weather. The trees are rather subject to the attacks of the American blight, the white cottony substance found on the bark and developed by an insect (Eriosoma mali), somewhat similar to the green-fly of the garden, but not a true aphis. It may be removed by scrubbing with a hard brush, by painting the affected spots with any bland oil, or by washing them with dilute paraffin and soft soap.
The apple-blossom weevil (Anthonomus pomorum), a small reddish-brown beetle, often causes serious damage to the flowers. The female bores and lays an egg in the unopened bud, and the maggot feeds on the stamens and pistil. The weevil hibernates in the crannies of the bark or in the soil at the base of the trees, and bandages of tarred cloth placed round the stem in spring will prevent the female from crawling up.
The codlin moth (Carpocapsa pomonana) lays its eggs in May in the calyx of the flowers. The young caterpillar, which is white with black head and neck, gnaws its way through the fruit, and pierces the rind. When nearly full grown it attacks the core, and the fruit soon drops. The insect emerges and spins its cocoon in a crack of the bark.
To check this disease the apples which fall before ripening should be promptly removed. A loosely made hay-band twisted round the stem about a foot from the ground is of use. The grubs will generally choose the bands in which to make their cocoon; at the end of the season the bands are collected and burned.
The following are a few of the most approved varieties of the apple tree, arranged in order of their ripening, with the months in which they are in use:—
|Early Red Margaret||Aug.|
|Devonshire Quarrenden||Aug., Sept.|
|Duchess of Oldenburg||Aug., Sept.|
|Kerry Pippin||Sept., Oct.|
|King of the Pippins||Oct.-Jan.|
|Cox's Orange Pippin||Oct.-Feb.|
|Court of Wick||Oct.-Mar.|
|Ribston Pippin||Nov. Mar.|
|Reinette de Canada||Nov.-Apr.|
|White Winter Calville (grown under glass)||Dec.-Mar.|
|Lamb Abbey Pearmain||Jan.-May|
|Duke of Devonshire||Feb.-May|
|Waltham Abbey Seedling||Sept.-Jan.|
|Baumann's Red Winter Reinette||Nov.-Mar.|
|Mère de Ménage||Oct.-Mar.|
|Beauty of Kent||Oct.-Feb.|
|Tower of Glammis||Nov.-Feb.|
|Reinette de Canada||Nov.-Apr.|
|Lane's Prince Albert||Oct.-May|
Apples for table use should have a sweet juicy pulp and rich aromatic flavour, while those suitable for cooking should possess the property of forming a uniform soft pulpy mass when boiled or baked. In their uncooked state they are not very digestible, but when cooked they form a very safe and useful food, exercising a gentle laxative influence.
According to Hutchison their composition is as follows:—
Many exotic fruits, having nothing in common with the apple; are known by that name, e.g. the Balsam apple, Momordica Balsamina; the custard apple (q.v.), Anona reticulata; the egg apple, Solanum esculentum; the rose apple, various species of Eugenia; the pineapple (q.v.), Ananas sativus; the star apple, Chrysophyllum Cainito; and the apples of Sodom, Solanum sodomeum. (A. B. R.)