Maybe we can’t grow apples like Washington State or peaches like Georgia, but with the right varieties, good fruit can be grown here. The key to success is choosing varieties of fruit that have a low chilling requirement.
Many varieties of fruit trees need more cold than we typically receive here in Central Florida. The ones that require the least amount of cold temperatures (low chill) are the ones we can grow. They include; Anna, Dorsett Golden, Ein Shemer, Red Fuji and Yates apple.
I plan to discuss the Dorsett Golden and the Anna apple ( I am interested in the Anna be because of the Name ANNA maybe it was name for me) and the Dorsett Golden as a pollinator. I am attempting to grow both varieties in my garden.
Anna and Ein Shemer were obtained from Israel in 1967. These varieties fruit and leaf well in Central Florida. Ripens in late June to early July. Fruit size range from 2 to 21/2 inches in diameter for Anna. Anna has a shape similar to ‘Red delicious’, but with approximately 30 t0 40 % red blush. Flavor is good and is sweet to semiacid.
Dorsett Golden was introduce from Nassau, Bahamas. Fruit is yellow with 10% slightly pink blush and size is 2 to 2/14 inches. Flavor is sweet and flesh is firm. Fruit have been stored satisfactorily for 2 weeks under refrigeration. Fruit shape is similar to ‘Golden Delicious’ and ripen in late June.
Apple trees perform best in locations that receive full sun. areas that receive shade more than 50% of the day should be avoided. Locations and cultural practices that foster air movement should be encouraged to minimized disease problems associated with high humidity. Early morning sun is more important than early evening sun due to negative impact of morning dew on leaves and fruit.
Apple trees grow well in most soils in north and north central Florida provided that they are well drained. Soils pH of 6 to 6.5 are best, but if your soil has a ph less than 5.0 then add 4 to 6 lb/100 sq ft. of lime prior to planting. In poorly drained soil or soils that are located in low lying areas, apple trees will succumb to anaerobiosis and/or phythophora root rot. In extremely sandy soils, tree will have to supplied with irrigation more frequently, especially during dry spring growth period.
Besides sun and drainage, pick a location that avoids cold pockets. These cold spot usually occur on the lower section of your yard. Cold air, being heavier than warm, tends to drain downslope to low spots, such as along washes. Here it settles, and can easily freeze the flower bulbs and blossoms of fruit trees. Cold air flowing down slope can also settle in areas where it meets and obstruction, such as the house or a free-standing wall. Don’t plant in these cold pockets.
Next week I will continue with Pollination.