The main features of growing Spartan apples
The Canadian apple tree Spartan is a relatively new variety in the field of domestic gardening, although it has long been known in its homeland. Due to the high yield indicators and the aesthetic appearance of the fruit, many gardeners managed to fall in love with the variety. What are the features of agricultural technology for plant cultivation, and how to properly care for it - later in the article.
Description of Spartan apple tree
Spartan is a winter apple variety, which is the result of the hard work of Canadian breeders who, as early as 1926, by crossing the Macintosh and Pepin Newtown varieties, were able to get a new variety of apple trees with excellent yield and beautiful fruits. The variety is recommended for cultivation in the central, central black earth regions of Russia, including the Moscow Region, Ukraine, as well as in some European countries, in particular Poland and Switzerland.
According to the description in the encyclopedia of apple varieties, the Spartan tree belongs to medium-sized plants, up to 5–6 m high, but is characterized by fast growth rates. It has a rounded, slightly flattened, lush, prone to thickening crown, whose branches grow in relation to the main conductor at an angle of 70–80 °. Shoots of medium thickness, an unusual dark cherry color, with a slight pubescence.The green mass of the plant is numerous leaves of medium size, traditional dark green in color, with a fairly smooth surface, rounded in shape with a slight rounding up. During flowering, small, white-colored flowers with a subtle aroma of nectar are amicably formed on the branches.
The fruits of Spartan are easy to distinguish from other varieties, primarily due to their unusual color. At the initial stage of ripening, the apples are yellow in color, eventually acquire a rich lilac, in some cases, purple color. The variety does not belong to large-fruited: the weight of 1 apple is on average 100-180 g. In shape, these fruits are rounded, slightly flattened at the base. Sometimes there are specimens with a round conical shape.
The peel has a waxy bluish coating, which gives the apple a purple tint. The structure of the skin is quite dense, hard, not prone to cracking. The fruit pulp is crispy, dense, grainy, white in color with a high juice content, very fragrant. Apples have a very pleasant, sweet taste with subtle sourness. Experts say that in the taste of the fruit, you can distinguish notes of strawberries and melons.
Did you know? Apples of different colors have different chemical composition and medicinal properties. Green fruits are useful for strengthening bones, teeth and improving visual function, red fruits for improving memory and cardiovascular system, and yellow fruits for enhancing immunity and protective functions of the body.
Variety Spartan is valued for good productivity, early early maturity and presentation of the fruit. The excellent technical properties of the culture made it popular in many countries of the world.
Drought and winter hardiness
One of the main disadvantages of the Spartan apple tree is its low frost resistance. The plant does not tolerate even slight spring cooling, therefore, without proper shelter for the winter, it can completely freeze and, as a result, die.
Also, the culture negatively refers to prolonged drought, which can provoke inhibition of apple growth, chopping of fruits and drying of a significant part of the crown.
Important! The described variety is prone to chopping fruits from year to year.In order to prevent this, he needs to provide competent and careful care.
Spartan is a self-fertile plant that does not require the proximity of apple trees serving as pollinators for effective and stable fruiting. The tree itself can be an excellent pollen donor for other fruit crops.
Timing of flowering and ripening
The apple tree of the described variety is distinguished by a rather plentiful and friendly flowering, which begins in early May. At this time, a large number of small delicate white flowers with a pleasant, fragrant aroma appear on the tree.
Ripening of the fruits of Spartan occurs at the end of September, and it is at this time that they begin to harvest. During storage, for about 1.5–2 months, the fruits reach full ripeness and are fully saturated with taste. That is why experts do not recommend eating apples of this variety as food immediately after harvesting. To feel the whole gamut of taste, you should eat these fruits after they lie down for several weeks.
An apple tree of the described variety with decent care and favorable climate conditions is able to regularly please with high yields. Depending on age, from 1 plant you can get from 15 to 100 kg of apples.The quality of premium fruits is more than 80%. They, when creating optimal conditions, are able to be stored perfectly until spring without loss of aesthetic and taste.
Apples are not prone to cracking, have a strong and dense structure, so they are rarely damaged during transportation. When transporting fruits, it is recommended to lay them in wooden or plastic boxes in several layers, shifting each tier with straw or hay.
The main advantages and disadvantages of the variety
- Variety Spartan has a number of key advantages, among which of particular importance for gardeners are:
- early maturity - the plant begins to bear fruit 3 years after planting a seedling;
- excellent keeping quality of fruits and their transportability;
- long shelf life of apples;
- low flaking of fruits;
- high, stable yield;
- strong immunity and resistance to diseases such as scab and powdery mildew.
- Meanwhile, the variety is also not without some drawbacks:
- low degree of frost resistance;
- the need for regular pruning;
- not very large fruit sizes.
Landing and care
The cultivation of apple trees requires compliance with simple, but very significant rules of agricultural technology, the violation of which can lead to a decrease in yield or even death of the plant.
Planting time for seedlings
Spartan prefers to grow in a temperate climate, in which there are no sharp temperature jumps, heavy rainfall, etc. Experts advise planting a tree in spring - in mid-April, when the soil warms up well, or in autumn - in the first weeks of October.Since the plant is characterized by a low level of winter hardiness, it is preferable to carry out planting in the spring, so that over the summer the seedling can take root and adapt to the climatic conditions of the region.
Seat selection and landing pattern
The site for the culture must be chosen quite spacious, well-lit, sunny, reliably protected from drafts and cold winds. The variety belongs to the category of hygrophilous plants, therefore it is better to select a site with a high occurrence of groundwater - about 1 m. Spartan responds well to light, loose and nutritious soils, in particular black earth or sandy loam soils. When growing crops on clay, solid soils, it is necessary to enrich their composition with peat and river sand. If tree planting is planned on sandy or too depleted lands, it is recommended to enrich such soil with humus or compost.
Preparation of a place for planting a seedling must begin in the fall. To do this, you need:
- dig the ground thoroughly;
- to make fertilizers, which is suitable as a mixture of humus (3 kg), superphosphate (100 g), wood ash (75 g) and turf (30 kg), based on 1 m²;
- dig a hole measuring 70 × 100 cm.
After the preparatory measures, the seedling should be planted in a permanent place, carrying out such actions:
- At the bottom of the landing pit, make a drainage layer using small stones, expanded clay or pebbles.
- Top up the drainage layer with a nutritious soil mixture consisting of 2-3 garden soil buckets, 70 g of superphosphate and 50 g of potassium.
- Put a seedling, carefully spread the root processes.
- Cover the plant with nutritious soil, leaving the root neck 5–8 cm above the surface.
- Tamp the soil around the seedling a little, and water the soil abundantly.
Important! If the place of the stem is deepened into the soil, then the fruiting of the plant will come much later.
After planting, it is recommended to cover the soil of the trunk circle with a layer of mulch, which will allow moisture to remain in the soil and create favorable conditions for the proper development of the root system. When planting several trees on 1 plot, the distance between them should be at least 3-4 m.
In the first year of apple growth, it is necessary to provide regular and abundant hydration. It is recommended to water the sapling throughout the summer season every week, using so much moisture for 1 tree so that the soil is moistened to a depth of 50-60 cm.
It is especially important to provide an adult culture with a sufficient amount of moisture during certain periods of its vegetation:
- before budding;
- in the phase of formation of the first ovaries;
- a few weeks before the harvest.
Throughout the season, replenishment of the apple tree with mineral and organic means should be carried out in several stages:
- Using the humus with nitroammophoski, add the first portion of fertilizers during the opening of the first kidneys.
- The second time to feed the culture in the phase of the formation of the ovaries, applying basal irrigation infusion of cow manure or bird droppings.
- During the flowering period of the apple tree, the soil should be fed with complex fertilizers.
- In the phase of fruit formation, add another portion of the nutritional components using a solution of water, nitroammophos and potassium humate.
- The last top dressing after harvesting the fruits. To do this, shed the soil with a solution prepared from water, superphosphate and potassium sulphide.
Video: Express method of feeding apple trees
Pest and Disease Control
The variety Spartan has natural resistance to scab and powdery mildew, however, with violations in the care and cultivation, as well as poor climatic conditions, it can be subjected to other diseases, in particular fruit rot, cytosporosis.
The latter ailment is of particular danger, since it affects almost all parts of the plant: leaves, shoots, bark. At the initial stage of the development of the disease, dark spots form on the cortex, which, in the absence of proper treatment, increase and lead to complete drying and death of the tree.
To combat the disease, it is recommended to use fungicides with a wide spectrum of action, for example, “Khom” or “Fundazol”.
Simple preventative measures will help prevent the development of ailments and the appearance of pests:
- regular loosening of the soil;
- timely weed control;
- plant treatment with Bordeaux liquid and copper sulfate solution;
- destruction of vegetation residues in the fall;
- Strict control of fertilizer and watering dosages.
- codling moth: eats plant seeds, and for this it gnaws fruit;
- flower beetle: caterpillars that feed on the sap of a crop infect leaves and fruits.
High efficacy in the fight against parasites is shown by such insecticides as Fastan, Inta-Vir, Tsimbush, with which trees are sprayed several times a season.
Important! To prevent re-infection of the culture with ailments, all affected and diseased parts of the plant should be completely destroyed by burning them.
Preparing landings for winter
The variety negatively reacts to low temperatures, therefore, in order to strengthen the immunity of the tree and increase its protective functions, experts recommend taking care of its shelter for the winter.
- A few weeks before the alleged frosts, the soil of the trunk circle is loosened, watered abundantly and mulched with a layer of hay or straw.
- Add the last top dressing.
- Wrap the tree trunk with natural and breathable material, such as burlap, or overlay it with spruce branches.
- When the first snow falls around the trunk, make a snowdrift, which should completely cover the near-trunk zone, otherwise the root system of the plant may freeze.
Did you know? If you throw an apple into the water, you can watch how it floats on the surface. Since the fruit is more than 25% air, it does not sink in water.
Harvesting and storage
Spartan apples begin to ripen in the last weeks of September. Harvesting starts at the same time and continues until the end of November. Fruits adhere perfectly to the tree, even when fully ripened, which greatly simplifies and facilitates the harvesting process.
One of the main advantages of the described variety is its excellent fruit life and long shelf life. However, in order for apples to "lie down" until spring, they should provide certain conditions:
- dry, dark, well-ventilated, cool place;
- temperature indicators 0 ... + 4 ° С;
- relative humidity of 80–90%.
In the process of preservation, Spartan apples acquire their final color, saturated with taste and aroma. With the correct implementation of basic agricultural practices and proper, timely care, even a novice gardener will be able to grow Spartan apple trees in their area, which will please with consistently high yields and excellent fruit quality. Despite some nuances in cultivation, the variety is quite unpretentious, and allows 4 years after planting a seedling to get the first crop.