About Apples 


Apples originated in Kazakhstan, at the dawn of civilization. The earliest humans in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia probably ate apples as a regular part of their diet. Ramses II directed the cultivation of apples in the 13th century BCE. Many references to apples can be found in early Greek and Roman literature as well. Pliny the Elder recorded over 3 dozen different varieties.


Brought to America by the earliest colonists in the 1600's, apples were quickly established as an important part of our agricultural heritage. In the early 1800's, John Chapman - Johnny Appleseed - from Leominster, Mass established his fame and fortune by carrying apple seeds all over the mid-west.


Maybe all that history helps explain why they are the most popular fruit in the world today. There are more than 7500 different varieties of apples, and 2500 are produced in the United States.  We offer over 35 of the tastiest ones, from the old heritage varieties to the newest cultivars.


World apple production is 100 billion pounds. As with many things, China is the worlds largest producer of apples with about 40% of the world total. The US is second with 11%. That comes out to be about 50 billion apples produced in the US. which is enough for every man, woman and child to have about 150 apples each per year. Not quite an apple a day, but close.


Apples are loaded with complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber and anti-oxidants. Plus they taste great - who ever tires of a freshly picked apple? What a delicious path to better health.

Apple Pruning


Click here for an Apple Pruning Diagram


First year pruning sets the eventual shape of the tree. If your tree is taller than 5-6' above ground, after its planted, trim it down to that height. Pick out the dominant branch that is the most vertical at the top of the tree. This will be your central leader. Thin out the inward growing branches and any branches which are crossing over each other. Trim off the tips of the larger branches to encourage growth.

Any shoots or branches which come from BELOW the “bud union” should always be pruned – now and in the future. Brand new stems that grow out of the ground, from the root systems are called suckers. If you see them, simply cut them off at ground level.  When the tree matures, suckering usually  diminishes.


If your trees set fruit this first year, pick off some of the immature fruits, spacing them about 8" apart on the branches. This will encourage proper ripening, allow  the spray to cover well, and improve vegetative vigor. Fruit thinning in the future is also important for the very same reasons. Less is more. If you don’t thin, you will get many more fruits than the tree can handle, resulting in broken branches and small fruits. So don’t be  afraid to thin. The resulting fruits will be fuller and much nicer.


In later years, you should continue “shape” your tree. This is what you are aiming for. Apple trees are best  trained to a central leader (uppermost upright limb). This is the natural way your apple tree will want to grow. You want to establish three or four tiers of branches – called scaffolds. This will keep the tree open so that air and sun can reach the fruit. Pruning will keep your tree vigorous, encourage the establishment of fruit buds and enable you to keep your tree down to a manageable size.


It is generally best  to prune apple trees when they are dormant. Pick a nice pleasant, sunny winter day and enjoy this part of orcharding. Summer pruning is helpful to retard growth of the tree. If the tree is growing very aggressively and getting taller than you like, take it back in July to control this growth.