- Author: Dave Beamer
A local Santa Barbara backyard grower has been experimenting with many different apple varieties and has found some unusual success at growing a wide variety of them that according to their published chilling hours requirements should not do well in Southern California.
Apple varieties grown in Santa Barbara by Dave Beamer as of Nov. 2014
Varieties that have grown good fruit so far (asterisks mark my personal favorites)
*Arkansas Black (3 crops) hard, juicy, aromatic; skin is very dark when ripe in Oct. – Nov. (AK, ~1840)
*Ashmead's Kernel (3 crops) wonderful mostly tart flavor, pleasing texture, russeted (England, ~1700)
Aunt Rachel (2 crops, 2 apples) good texture, juicy, mildly tart; big apples ripen in July (good in Riverside, CA)
Benoni (one apple) the first apple was small, juicy, tart and ripened in August (MA, 1832)
Bramley's Seedling (8 apples) large fruit, very tart cooking apples in England, milder here (England, 1813)
Burgundy (one apple) deep red apple, very juicy, great texture, mostly tart, aromatic (early August)
Canada Red (two apples) red-striped apple, juicy, good texture, not much flavor in the first crop
Dixie Red Delight (3 crops) hard, juicy, mildly sweet apples with tough skins (ripen in late Oct. – Nov.)
Dorsett Golden (5 crops) self-fertile, commonly grown here and in the tropics (ripen in June – July)
Fuji (25+ crops in the back yard) self-fertile, sweeten if left on the tree (best in Nov. – Jan.)
*Golden Noble (3 crops) good texture, sweet and juicy in October, apples grow very large if thinned
Hauer Pippin (2 crops) good texture, juicy, thick skin, tart in October, sweeten Nov. – Dec.
Hawaii (one apple) good texture, flavor is a mix of sweet and tart, good in Riverside (CA, 1945)
Honey Sweet (two apples) described as “very sweet”, first small crop was mildly sweet (Virginia)
*Hudson's Golden Gem (3 crops) russeted sweet apples that can taste like pear juice (good in Riverside)
Kandil Sinap (2 crops) long narrow apples, good texture and juice but very mild flavor (from Turkey)
*Laxton's Fortune (4 crops) sweet, hard, crunchy, juicy, red apples; ripen late Aug. – early Sept. (1931)
Maigold (two apples) flavor is a mix of sweet and tart, from Switzerland
Red Boskoop (one apple) quite tart, one large apple with good texture (sterile pollen)
Red October (2 crops) hard, crunchy, juicy; a mix of sweet and tart flavors (but only one was red…)
Reverend Morgan (two apples) very good texture, mix of sweet and tart in late August (Houston, TX 1965)
Sierra Beauty (2 small crops) self-fertile, a mix of sweet and tart flavors, ripen late Sept. to Oct. (~ 1890)
Snow Apple (5 crops) mostly smaller apples, aromatic, tender flesh, tart and juicy (1739)
*Spitzenburg (4 crops) very good texture, juicy, wonderful tart-sweet flavor (NY, late 1700s)
Summer Rambo (one apple) precocious, mildly tart, the first apple was good (“Rambour Franc” ~1500)
*Wealthy (five apples) self-fertile, precocious; tart to tart-sweet, grown in tropics (Minnesota, 1868)
William's Pride (4 crops) very precocious; tart, juicy red apples ripen June – Aug depending on weather
Wyken Pippin (2 small crops) medium-sized apples, mildly sweet, good texture
I assume that three or more years of good fruit means a variety is reliable in coastal Santa Barbara County.
I have tasted locally grown Standard Delicious apples (the original “Delicious” variety, also called Old-Fashioned Delicious or Hawkeye). These apples are green with red stripes and are larger, juicier and have better flavor and texture than today's Red Delicious. Their flavor is sub-acid (very mildly tart).
I have been told that in this area Golden Delicious goes from unripe and sour to mushy – without ever passing through ripe. I have not tried growing it.
Varieties that grew bad fruit in my yard (I have removed these):
Cox's Orange Pippin (3 crops) tart, some were good for two small crops; in 3rd crop all apples split and rotted
Early Joe (two apples) soft, borderline mushy, and dry (reported bad in Riverside also)
Reinette du Canada bland flavor, apples fell off in August instead of October or later
Ribston Pippin ripened too early, poor taste and texture
Saint Cecilia all apples cracked and rotted in the first crop
Suntan (3 crops) sterile pollen, very tart; in 2013 all apples split and rotted
Victoria Limbertwig (2 crops) apples cracked and fell off in June-July (should ripen in fall)
Zabergau Reinette ripened too early, poor taste and texture
Not sure yet:
Bevan's Favorite (one apple) aromatic, not much flavor, poor texture in early July; I will try it again
Husk Sweet (3 apples) described as having “honeyed sweetness”; the first crop had no flavor at all
Roxbury Russet (six apples) 3 cracked, 3 good; tart, oldest American apple still being grown (MA ~1635)
Very young varieties that have not yet fruited:
Akero from Sweden (no description of the fruit was given)
Anna from Israel, partially self-fertile, sweet, grown in Santa Barbara and tropics
Arkansas Sweet described as crisp, crunchy and sweet (Arkansas, 1905)
Bentley's Sweet described as “intensely sweet” (Virginia, early 1800s?)
Black Oxford deep purple skin when ripe; eating, cooking and cider apples (Maine, ~1860)
Black Twig used for eating and juice; tart due to tannic acid (Tennessee, ~1830)
Blue Pearmain dark red apples, very juicy, subacid flavor, some russeting (early 1800s)
Erwin Baur from Germany [Duchess of Oldenburg x (Cox's Orange Pippin?)]
Golden Nugget small sweet apples, from Nova Scotia (Golden Russet x Cox's Orange Pippin)
Golden Sweet described as having “honeyed sweetness” (no balancing acidity)
Grimes Golden a parent of Golden Delicious, but described as having more complex flavor
Holstein sterile pollen, a seedling of Cox's Orange Pippin (Germany, 1918)
Hubbartson's Nonesuch precocious and heavy-bearing, sweet, ripen in summer (MA, 1830)
Jefferis sweet, juicy, pear-flavored small summer apples; heavy-bearing (PA, 1830)
King David an offspring of Arkansas Black, grows good fruit in Riverside (Arkansas, 1893)
Liberty self-fertile, disease resistant, flavor is a mix of sweet and tart (NY, 1962)
Late Strawberry described in North Carolina as “one of the best dessert apples available”
“Longview” a sweet seedling apple from Longview, WA (grafted with owner's permission)
Margil from England, considered one of the best-flavored sweet apples (small crops)
McIntosh precocious, tart, juicy, with aromatic white flesh (Ontario, Canada 1798)
Ozark Gold described as having “honeyed sweetness” (no balancing acidity)
Pettingill self-fertile, tart/sweet flavor, a seedling from Long Beach, CA (1949)
Ramsdell Sweet a very sweet, juicy apple
Red Astrachan self-fertile, tart, early flowering and ripening, from Russia
Redgold described as having “honeyed sweetness” (no balancing acidity)
Strawberry Pippin red skin, white flesh, sweet or sweet-tart flavor
Smokehouse precocious tree, very juicy apples (Pennsylvania, 1837)
Summer Queen ripens in August (New Jersey, 1800s)
Terry Winter sweet/tart, heavy-bearing, good in Riverside (Georgia, before 1860)
Winesap crisp, juicy flesh with sweet-tart flavor (New Jersey ~1800)
Winter Sweet crisp, juicy, very sweet flesh, origin unknown
Rootstocks used: M111: probably the best here, M7: good, but grows many suckers, G30: on one tree from NY.
Contact me if you want free summer or winter scion wood from my trees. (Please note: some of my trees are still too small to donate wood.)
Sources of my trees and apple information:
Trees of Antiquity (California)
Kuffel Creek (California)
Bay Laurel Nursery (retailing trees from Dave Wilson Nursery, California)
Big Horse Creek Farm (North Carolina) (also sells scion wood now)
Cummins Nursery (New York)
Scion wood for grafting: Maple Valley Orchards (Minnesota)
For an especially useful website go to www.kuffelcreek.com and click on “Apples”. Kevin Hauser tries to keep 100 apple varieties growing in his yard in very hot Riverside, California. He removes trees that grow bad fruit and replaces them with other varieties that are new to him. He has also experimented with different rootstocks. His website has a link to his blog, where he posts information on growing apples in the tropics as well as in Riverside.
The weakness in his information is his optimism. He may declare that a variety is good in Southern California if only the last apples of a variety to ripen are good and all the earlier apples were bad. Next year you may read that every apple ripened too early and he's getting rid of that tree. That's why I bought Ribston Pippin and Zabergau Reinette from him, one year before he declared both of them bad for Southern California (they were bad here also). But he has done a huge amount of pioneering work for warm-winter areas and the tropics.
So far I have found two apple varieties that grow good fruit in Santa Barbara but not in Riverside (Ashmead's Kernel and Snow Apple). I assume these trees can't tolerate Riverside's very hot summers, so they may not grow good fruit in the hotter inland areas of Santa Barbara County either.
The website for Trees of Antiquity (www.treesofantiquity.com) has good information about planting fruit trees and summer pruning for size control.
Dave Wilson Nursery (www.davewilson.com) has a lot of information for home fruit growers on its website, although they only sell wholesale. Bay Laurel Nursery retails some of their apple trees but only on M7 rootstock, which grows lots of suckers.
Apple information—flavor, ripening time and quality of fruit—usually comes from other parts of the world and may not apply here. Be a pioneer: grow a variety that's new in Southern California and share what you learn.
Feel free to share this information with others. (Spread the wealth!)
SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $215,670 for five projects that will promote and administer agricultural education and leadership programs for students, teachers and youth under the 2014 California Special Interest License Plate (CalAgPlate) grant program. The CalAgPlate program is funded with proceeds generated through the sale of specialized, agriculture-themed license plates through the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). CalAgPlates were first made available in 2012, and over 19,000 plates have been sold to date.
Projects funded as part of the program's inaugural year include a farm-to-school program linking students to local farmers; an agricultural industry tour that will increase student awareness of career opportunities within farming and agribusiness; a hands-on seminar for teachers to help broaden curricular exposure of students to agriculture; a program to educate elementary school students on the role of agriculture in our daily lives; and a program that provides opportunities for high school students to engage in agricultural education, leadership development and career training.
“Agricultural education is fundamental to the appreciation of how agriculture and food production touches every Californian,” said Secretary Karen Ross. “The projects being funded are great examples of how to connect students and consumers to agriculture and the many career possibilities within the food and agricultural system.”
The CalAgPlate program is made possible through the hard work of many people and organizations that helped to promote the sale of this specialized license plate. Special thanks are given to the Future Farmers of America (FFA), the California Agricultural Leadership Program (Class XXXI), and to the many student volunteers who represent California agriculture.
The 2014 CalAgPlate project abstracts are available online at www.cdfa.ca.gov/calagplate.
Help to support agricultural education and the CalAgPlate program by purchasing a special interest license plate at your local DMV office or online today.
—California Department of Agriculture
- Author: Vanessa Ashworth
- Author: Mary Lu Arpaia
- Author: Philippe Rolshausen
Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside
An unusual population of avocado trees may soon suffer the same fate as many commercial orchards elsewhere in California: its water supply will be cut off and the trees fed to a wood chipper. And yet these trees (Fig. 1) potentially hold a key to the avocado's future: they are the cornerstone of scientific research at the University of California, Riverside, aimed at unravelling the genetic underpinnings of agricultural traits and at placing avocado breeding on a molecular footing.
It is well known to plant breeders that the traits observed in a promising selection are rarely transmitted to its offspring. This is because the so called phenotype (what you see or measure) is a poor predictor of the genotype (the underlying genetic machinery). Unfortunately, for breeding to make any progress, phenotypic traits need to have a genetic basis. Traditional breeding, which cannot distinguish between phenotype and genotype—only works because it starts our with a large pool of trees and, by chance, ends up with a few selections that show promise as future cultivars. In avocado, the selection efficiency of traditional breeding is in the order of 0.1-0.2%; in other words, only 1–2 promising selections are recovered for every 1000 trees that have been laboriously (and expensively) screened over the course of a minimum of 5–10 years. Clearly, a better understanding of the relationship between phenotype and genotype would make the breeding process more efficient.
Recognizing this need, Professor Michael Clegg of (then) UC Riverside established a carefully designed experimental population of avocado trees, later known as the Clegg Collection. It consisted of over 200 progeny from a single cultivar Gwen mother tree, and each progeny tree was clonally propagated four-fold, taking the total number of trees to ca. 800. The seedlings were grafted to a uniform Duke 7 rootstock to further reduce the impact of non-genetic variability. Between the fall of 2001 and spring of 2003 half of the trees (two clonal replicates of each unique genotype) were planted out at UC Riverside and the other half at South Coast Research and Extension Center, Irvine.
In this experimental design, every tree genotype is represented twice at each of two locations. Any variation between the clonal replicates at the same location sheds light on how much of a trait is environmental and how much of it is genetic. Only the genetic component is useful for breeding purposes. The environmental component is the “noise” that misleads breeders and, regrettably, often has a large influence on agriculturally relevant traits.
Since 2003 the Clegg trees have been put to good use. First, a quantitative genetic study was initiated to address the mismatch between genotype and phenotype and, specifically, to determine whether certain vegetative growth characteristics are amenable to breeding. This work (Chen et al. 2007) revealed that about 30% of the total phenotypic variation in growth rate and flowering was genetic in origin and thus amenable to breeding.
While the initial value of the Clegg experimental population arose from its utility in teasing apart genetic and environmental effects on a phenotype, the trees soon acquired additional roles. Genetic markers offer the opportunity of placing phenotypic measurements in a molecular framework. Microsatellite markers were used to determine the pollen parent of each ‘Gwen' progeny tree, revealing that approximately three quarters of the genotypes had been pollinated in roughly equal proportions by ‘Bacon', ‘Fuerte', and ‘Zutano', with the remaining quarter sired by miscellaneous cultivars or rogue pollen sources. What better opportunity than to examine genetic variation of traits in the context of the pollen parent. An interesting finding from this line of study was that ‘Gwen' ´ ‘Fuerte' progeny had significantly wider canopies and shorter stature than their half-sibs sired by ‘Bacon' or ‘Zutano' (Fig. 2). The fact that tree width and height is amenable to breeding is an encouraging result in the context of high-density planting such as that commonly practiced in apple.
At a time when avocado was gaining cudos as a healthy fruit with excellent nutritional qualities and beneficial effects in the treatment of high cholesterol and cancer, the Clegg Collection was next harnessed in a study on fruit nutritional composition. Data was gathered on fruit nutrient content in each genotype. Again, taking advantage of the experimental setup, the environmental “noise” associated with each measurement was stripped away to extract the
genetic portion that proved to be appreciable (Calderón-Vázquez et al. 2013).
The next step was to connect this data with a new type of molecular marker. These markers—so called SNP markers (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms)—were developed using gene sequences from a subset of the Clegg trees. They were designed to reside in genes known to control the accumulation of particular fruit nutrients. Statistical analyses revealed that beta-sitosterol contents were being tracked by one of the SNP markers: in other words, the presence of this marker in an individual was indicative of high beta-sitosterol levels in its fruit.
Markers that are highly predictive of desirable traits and are relatively easy to measure in young seedlings are the nuts-and-bolts of marker-assisted selection, a breeding method that draws on molecular tools. Consequently, a third project was initiated that harnessed the SNP marker that predicted high fruit beta-sitosterol contents. Progeny from trees of the Clegg population were screened using the marker. Out of an initial pool of over 600 seedlings 73 seedlings (12%) were identified that had the desirable form (allele) of the marker, and 12 seedlings (2%) were eventually planted out. The selection intensity of marker-assisted selection therefore is at least 10-fold higher than under traditional breeding.
A loss of the Clegg Collection would surely represent an opportunity lost. Many more projects could be envisaged that address the genetic determination of a trait, its association with SNP markers, the influence of the pollen donor, or the utility of a marker for marker-assisted selection. The Collection has also been the nucleus of a genetic mapping project. Significantly, the SNP markers developed for these trees are also relevant for studies beyond fruit nutrient content because their biosynthetic pathways intersect with those underlying plant stress and disease responses. This property makes the candidate genes equally relevant for studies on pathogen or salinity tolerance and a key resource that could help secure the future of avocado production in California during turbulent times.
Chen, H., V. E. T. M. Ashworth, S. Xu, and M. T. Clegg. 2007. Quantitative genetic analysis of growth rate in avocado. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 132 (5): 691–696.
Calderón-Vázquez, C., M. L. Durbin, V. E. T. M. Ashworth, L. Tommasini, K. K. T. Meyer, M. T. Clegg. 2013. Quantitative genetic analysis of three important nutritive traits in the fruit of avocado. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 138 (4): 283–289
The Clegg Collection: the trees shown here are growing at UC Riverside
California Small Farm Conference
Registration is now open for the California Small Farm Conference - the state's premier gathering for small-scale farmers and ranchers, farm employees, farmers' market managers, researchers, federal and state agriculture agencies, agriculture students, food policy advocates, consumers and others. The goal of the Conference is to promote the success and viability of small and family owned farming operations and farmers markets through short courses, field tours and workshops.
This year's California Small Farm Conference (CSFC), featuring opening plenary speaker, A.G. Kawamura, will be held at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley in southern California on March 7 - 10, 2015.
Keep updated on all activities by liking us on Facebook and signing up for our E-Newsletter. We hope some of you will join UC Small Farm Program staff on the Agritourism Field Course or the Alternatives in Marketing Field Course.
Small Farm Blogs
For the first time since the great freeze of '89-90, we have experienced a little more than minor damage to our crops. Compared to the San Joaquin Valley, Ventura country escaped without major damage; although there were some areas harder hit like the Ojai Valley and some canyons near Santa Paula. Many parts of the SJV were hard hit.
As in the freeze of 1990, your trees must be cared for in the same way during this post freeze period. In 1990, advice was issued to the grower about the rehabilitation of their trees, both citrus and avocado. We would like to review that information for you at this time. How can we best aid tree recovery so that tree growth and yield will proceed most rapidly?
Citrus and avocado leaves appear wilted or flaccid during periods of low temperature. This is a natural protective response to freezing temperatures and does not mean the leaves have been frozen. Leaves will be firm and brittle and often curled when frozen. Leaves become flaccid after thawing, and if the injury is not too great, they gradually regain turgor and recover, leaving however, dark flecks on the leaves. Seriously frozen leaves collapse, dry out, and remain on the tree. Foliage form recent flushes are most susceptible to this damage. If twigs or wood have been seriously damaged, the frozen leaves may remain on the tree for several weeks. If the twigs and wood have not been damaged severely, the leaves are rapidly shed. Trees losing their leaves rapidly is often a good sign and is not, as many growers believe a sign of extensive damage.
Cold damage to the twigs appears as water soaking or discoloration. In older branches and trunks it appears as splitting or loosening of bark where the cambium has been killed. Bark may curl and dry with many small cracks. Dead patches of bark may occur in various locations on limbs and trunk.
Sensitivity to frost is dependent upon many variables. In general, mandarins are the most cold hardy followed by sweet orange and grapefruit. Lemons are very frost sensitive with Eureka decidedly more sensitive than Lisbon. For avocados, Hass is about as cold tolerant as lemons, while Bacon is more cold tolerant. Limes are the least cold hardy. Healthy trees are more tolerant than stressed ones. The rootstock also imparts sensitivity onto the scion.
Injury to the foliage and to young trees may be immediately recognizable but the true extent of the damage to larger branches, trunks, and rootstocks may not appear for on to four months following the freeze. No attempt should be made to prune or even assess damage from the frost until spring when new growth appears.
The only treatment that should be done rapidly after a freeze is whitewashing. Often the most sever damage following a freeze results from sunburn of exposed twigs and branches after defoliation. Avocados and lemons are the most susceptible to sunburn, oranges not as much; but, if the tree has been defoliated, applying whitewash would be precautionary. Temperatures do not have to be extremely high to cause sunburn.
Pruning should be carried out to prevent secondary pathogens and wood decay organisms from slowing tree recovery. Again, however, there should be no rush to prune. Premature pruning, at the very least, may have to be repeated and, at the worst, it can slow tree rehabilitation. It should be remembered that when pruning, all cuts should be made into living wood. Try to cut flush with existing branches at crotches. Do not leave branch stubs or uneven surfaces. Tools should be disinfected in bleach or other fungicide before moving on to the next tree.
The extent of pruning is dictated by the amount of freeze damage:
|Light Damage||Medium Damage||Severe Damage||Extreme Damage|
|Where only the foliage and small twigs are injured,pruning is not required||Where a considerable part of the top has been killed but the trunk and main crown limbs show little damage, branches should be removed back to living wood above vigorous sprouts||
Where the top and crown limbs are severely damaged but there are sprouts above the bud union, the tree should be cut back to the uppermost sprout
Where trees are killed to the bud union or the rootstock has been girdled, the trees should be removed and replaced with new trees
Irrigate carefully! Remember that when leaves are lost, obviously evaporation from leaves is greatly reduced, and, therefore the amount of water required is also greatly reduced. A frost-damaged tree will use the same amount of water as a much younger or smaller tree. Over irrigation will not result in rapid recovery. Instead, it may induce root damage and encourage growth of root rotting organisms. This is particularly true for avocados. Irrigation should be less frequent, and smaller amounts of water should be applied until trees have regained their normal foliage development.
Fertilization of freeze-damaged trees should be carefully considered. There is no evidence to indicate that frozen trees respond to any special fertilizer that is supposed to stimulate growth. If trees are severely injured-with large limbs or even parts of the trunk killed-nitrogen fertilizer applications should be greatly reduced, until the structure and balance of the tree become re-established. Trees should be watched for evidence of deficiencies of minor elements. Deficiencies of zinc, manganese, copper, and iron are most likely to develop. For citrus, these materials should be applied as sprays, and they should be used as often as symptoms are observed. Two or more applications may be required the first year.