Fruit and Nut Crops
Apple | Blackberry & Raspberry | Blueberry | Bunch Grape | Chestnuts | Citrus | Fig | Mulberry | Muscadine Grape | Olives | Peach & Nectarine | Pear | Pecans | Persimmon | Plum | Pomegranate | Strawberry
Apple growing in Florida was once limited to northern areas where a few local selections of medium to poor quality were grown. These selections fruited well only after the coldest winters. Northern apple cultivars such as 'Red Delicious', 'Golden Delicious', and 'McIntosh' do not produce well in Florida. The main problem is that these selections receive insufficient cold during the winter and, therefore, are slow, weak growing and fruit poorly when grown in Florida.
More recently, however, apple varieties have been grown and fruited in Leesburg, Gainesville, and Quincy. 'Anna', 'Ein Shemer', 'Dorsett Golden', and 'Tropic Sweet' appear best adapted to conditions in these areas. They have a cold requirement in the range of 300 to 400 hours below 45°F. Fruit is harvested beginning in late May and continues into June.
Fertilize during the dormant season using 10-10-10 with micronutrients, esp. Zinc and Boron; apply 1 pound (2 cups) of fertilizer for each year of age, up to 7.5 pounds (15 cups) total during January to March. A second application of fertilizer can be applied in June (after harvest).
Young apple trees should be pruned to a modified leader system. On two-year-old trees five or six strong scaffold limbs should be selected to develop a strong framework. These limbs should have wide angles almost perpendicular to the trunk of the tree, should be radially spaced around the tree trunk and vertically spaced approximately 6" to 8" from each other up or down the trunk. Later pruning of the tree will be to remove diseased or dead wood and to trim the tree to the desired shape. Don’t over prune or you will lose a year with no fruit and also over stimulate lush growth leading to a higher incidence of fire blight.
County Fact Sheets & Articles
- Chill Hours - UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions
- Fruits - UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions
- Fruits & Nuts - Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises
- Fruit Scapes
Photo credit: Bing images, http://images.meredith.com