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Location: Michigan

Apple Trees - Necessary to Plant Two to Bear Fruit?

I live in Michigan and would like to plant 2 apple trees in my yard. I would like to plant heirloom varieties if possible. I am wondering, first of all, if I have to plant two trees in order to bear fruit. I am also wondering if anyone can recommend which varieties to plant in zone 5. Someone recommended I plant semi-dwarf trees.


Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA (Trees of Antiquity) provides information on heirloom trees: their cultural needs, how heavily/lightly they bear, etc.

If they don't give you the information you require, I'm sure they'll have links or a Contact Us so that you can find what you need elsewhere.

Some fruit trees need a partner; others do not. This info will also be in ToA's website.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Green Thumb
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Location: Brunswick, Maine


Trees of antiquity is great and they are very very quick to respond to any questions. They helped me towards my decision (I'm trying two types come spring) but I went with fedco ( They have a very good catalog on their website as well but I saved $30 in shipping since their in Maine and so am I. Other than the shipping, the prices are very similar.

I'm trying 1 canadian strawberry and 1 frostbite as my 2 types of apples from fedco.

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

OK, I have been preferentially planting heirloom vegetable seeds for the last few years, but this year, after an eye-opening tomato discussion on heirloom vs. hybrid vs. open pollinated genetic diversity, I'm having second thoughts.

I have to say I AM confused, however. In this context, what does an "heirloom" apple tree mean, exactly? Since most apples need to be cross pollinated (Adams County Nursery has a large pollination chart on-line that I find useful), and by practice, are not usually grown from seeds, I doubt it has the same connotation as vegetable seeds. Then, there's that treatise on apple cultivation in The Botany of Desire as well....

My usual apple variety recommendation is to look for disease resistant cultivars based on prevalent apple diseases in your area. :wink: I have Enterprise, Pristine, and Arkansas Black. Enterprise is a semi-dwarf tree. Pristine and Ark Black are being espaliered. Although I haven't actually purchased from ACN above, here again, they have a lovely system of specific disease resistance scores assigned to each cultivar they sell.

Greener Thumb
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Location: SUSSEX

I would guess that over here we consider a variety to be ' heirloom ' when it's been grown in our own area for at least three or so generations.
A huge range of varieties were bred dureing our Victorian times ( 1850 - early 1900's ) as they were so keen on apples.
The varieties that they were breeding from head back to very early fact we grew one variety ....Court Pendu Plat.....that is believed the Romans brought over with them.
But when you consider that in Joan Morgan's book there are over 2000 listed varieties then there is rather a large choise out there to choose from.

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