Apple

The apple is one of the most economically and culturally significant fruits in the world today. The actual origin of apples is not known, it is likely the apple tree originated in Kazakhstan, in central Asia east of the Caspian Sea.  The capital of Kazakhstan, Alma Ata, means “full of apples.”  By 1500 BC apple seeds had been carried throughout Europe. The Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans cultivated apples. To the latter goes the credit, during the early centuries of the Christian era, for having carried apple seeds and trees to the British Isles. Apples arrived also in America with the early settlers of the United States brought apple seeds with them.  Nowadays, apple is grown in all temperate zones. The leading producer country is China, followed by the United States. Among the countries of the northern hemisphere, Turkey, Poland, Italy, and India follow while in the Southern Hemisphere, the largest producer is Chile.

The apple tree is a tree plant of medium-high dimensions that it can reach the height of 8-10 meters, however with the use of dwarfing rootstocks, in modern cultivation, there is a marked reduction the size of the tree around 2 m. Tree size is also heavily dependent training system.

It presents creeping and shallow roots, the leaves are alternate, elliptical, with serrate margins, dark green with light pubescence on underside. Gems are manifested both in wood than mixed (wood buds and fruit buds). 

The flowers are white with shades pink, gathered in an inflorescence called corymb of 4-9 flowers.  The center flower opening first is often called the “King bloom” and has the potential to produce a larger fruit than other flowers. The fruit is a false fruit, called pome. The bulk of the fleshy edible portion derives from the hypanthium or floral cup, not the ovary. It can be of different color and size according to the varieties. The background color of the peel, in ripe fruit, can be green, yellow, red or two-tone; the color of the pulp varies from white to white greenish, cream-white and yellowish.  Seeds are relatively small and black, and mildly poisonous.

Most cultivars are commercially self-unfruitful and therefore require entomophilic cross-pollination. For the establishment of an apple orchard in the field, it is therefore necessary that it is composed of several cultivars, of which at least one is a good pollinator. It must produce a rather long flowering, at least contemporary or slightly earlier than the cultivar to be pollinated.

The annual cycle of apple comprises several phenological stages. Apple require a considerable period of dormancy, after that with warmer temperature buds unfold to start the leaf development. The fruiting cycle begins with the flower induction, continue with flowering, fruit-set, fruit development until fruit ripening.

The apple tree is a plant that has a high chill requirement (vernalization), it thrives in areas having a distinct winter period, generally from latitude 30 ° to 60 °, both north and south. This winter chilling requirement, or minimum chill requirement, is usually defined as the number of hours per year where the temperature should be below about 7°C (45°F), but above freezing. Periods when the temperature is substantially below freezing are not thought to be as useful for counting towards chill hours as the period when the temperature is just above freezing. Most apple varieties have a chill requirement of about 1,000 hours or more.

Withstands winter temperatures even below 10-15 °C (50-59 °F) . Temperatures above 30 ° C (86 °F) are tolerated with difficulty. It prefers sub-acid to alkaline soils, up to 7/8 pH value, greater resistance to active limestone than the vine, so it has no major problems. The soils in which apple trees grow must be well drained and fertile. It has medium tolerance to salinity. The depth of the soil is not a very important parameter also because dwarfing rootstocks are used, which do not deepen that much.

The nutrition is probably the most important factor for a successful orchard operation, and it can be controlled through a proper fertilization program. The contribution of macro and micro-nutrients, both at the level of the root system and at the level of the crown of apple trees, has multiple purposes: to favor the early entry into production, to improve production from both quantitative and qualitative standpoint, keeping these parameters constant over the years of production of the plant, making the management of the apple orchard sustainable. The quantities of nutrients removed from the orchard change according to the genotype, the age of the plant, the vegetative development, the pedo-climatic conditions, the productivity, and the fruit growing technique applied.

Nitrogen is the nutrient most used in fruit trees and is usually the first element to be considered in an orchard fertilization program, as shoot growth depends highly on nitrogen content. Annual nitrogen applications are necessary to maintain sufficient nitrogen reserves in the tree. The apple tree is a species capable of re-mobilizing in spring considerable quantities of nitrogen reserves previously accumulated in the roots, in the woody organs and in the buds. After the fall of the petals and in correspondence with the beginning of the rapid growth of the shoots, the amount of nitrogen absorbed by the root system increases and then decreases later, at the time of flowering. The dose of N can be calculated based on fruits removal, of the expected yields and of the availability of nitrogen present in the soil.

Phosphorus is removed to a much lesser extent than nitrogen and potassium. The addition of phosphorus must be carried out in particular at the beginning of the vegetative activity; in this phase, the presence of adequate Phosphorus levels increase the growth of young rootlets, improve the assimilation of other nutrients, promote the development of leaves and improve the nutrition of the reproductive organs.

Potassium is of paramount importance for apple not only for tree growth and development but also for the size and quality of fruit yield. The apple plant’s demand for potassium varies, along with the progression of phenological phases, during the growing season. The potassium demand peaks during ripening of fruits featuring relatively high concentration of potassium comparable to that of the leaves. The mainstream method of apple tree potassium fertilization is through application of the fertilizer to the soils to improve potassium uptake by the roots. During ripening, foliar application of Potassium can increase sugar content and specifically on red apple, intensify the color especially if the nutritional action is linked to a biostimulant action.

Other nutrients very important for apple growth and development are:

  • Calcium: it is a very important element for the quality of the fruit: it improves the consistency of the pulp and reduces the susceptibility to various physiopathies, like bitter pit.
  • Magnesium: providing magnesium is very important during the years of high productive charge.
  • Iron: in plants placed on calcareous soils, iron chlorosis can manifest itself, penalizing the productivity of the crop.


The crop also benefits from the application of products with a biostimulant action to improve the availability of nutrients in the soil, to increase the yield from a quantitative and qualitative standpoint and to reduce the negative impact of climatic stresses. The application of biostimulants increases the environmental and economic sustainability of the production system.

Sample Fertilization Plan

Apple_stages_dormancy web

Dormancy

Improve soil fertility (chemical, physical and biological)
Improve soil fertility (chemical, physical and biological)

Leaf bud swelling

Nutritional action and increase the endogenous resistance to disease and abiotic stress
Nutritional action and increase the endogenous resistance to abiotic stress
Apple_stages_green_bud

Green bud

Nutritional action and increase the endogenous resistance to disease and abiotic stress
Nutritional action and increase the endogenous resistance to abiotic stress
Prevent/cure iron deficiency
Prevent/cure iron deficiency
Increase tolerance to abiotic stress
Increase tolerance to abiotic stress
Apple_stages_pink_bud-web

Pink bud

Providing a balance of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium
Providing a balance of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium
Increase tolerance to abiotic stress
Increase tolerance to abiotic stress
Apple_stages_flowering-web

Flowering

Prevent/cure Magnesium deficiency
stages_dev_fruit_early-web

Fruit stages

Providing a balance of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium
Providing a balance of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium
Prevent bitter pit
Prevent bitter pit
Increase tolerance to abiotic stress
Increase tolerance to abiotic stress
Increase the Calcium content
Increase the yield
Apple_stages_maturity-web

Maturity

Prevent bitter pit
Prevent bitter pit
Increase sugar content and specifically on red apple, intensify the red colour
post_harvest-web

Post-harvest

Set aside micronutrients and Nitrogen for the new year
Set aside micronutrients and Nitrogen for the new year

Request a fertilization plan

Some products may not be available in your region. Reach out to a sales rep to get a fertilization plan that fits your needs.

PRODUCT BENEFITS

Organic fertilization provides organic matter and plant essential nutrients to the soil. It is important to reduce the necessity of repeated application of synthetic fertilizers to maintain soil fertility. For this reason, it is important to use organic fertilizers in pre-sowing, capable of improving the physical, chemical, and biological fertility of the soil and sustain growth and development of tomato plants. ITALPOLLINA and DIX are the ideal solution for organic fertilization of apple during the dormancy period. ITALPOLLINA releases a great quantity of organic matter which improves the soil structure and activates the micro-organisms, reducing soil exhaustion. DIX is an organic fertilizer with a gradual release of nitrogen which remains available to crops for months. The continued use of DIX enables a quick increase in the level of the organic matter of soil, improves fertility and avoids risks connected to continuous intake of mineral matter.
Bitter pit is a physiological disorder resulting from calcium deficiency in the fruit. It can develop within the first month or two of cold storage as well as on the tree before harvest. Bitter pit is the physiological breakdown of cells under the skin, causing slight depressions generally concentrated at the calyx end of the fruit (Figure 1). The tissue in these depressed areas is darkened, dry and spongy with a bitter taste. Calcium has an important role in cell wall development. When Ca is in short supply, cell wall integrity is lost, resulting in these symptoms which vary slightly between varieties. Ca is relatively immobile within trees. There can be ample Ca in the leaves and soil but a shortage within the fruit. For this reason, it is better to apply foliar fertilizer containing calcium. CaNOVA is a liquid product based on KEY + technology, designed to prevent and cure calcium deficiency. CaNOVA enhances the quantity of calcium pectate inside the fruits, and consequently fruit quality, firmness, and post-harvest shelf-life.

As a first line of defense, nutritional status of crops is directly involved in plant health. Some nutrients and organic compounds like vegetal peptides are able to increase endogenous resistance and tolerance against abiotic stresses, nowadays more and more frequent and aggravated by climate change. POSPHIT-ONE is a NPK fertilizer enriched with vegetal peptides ideal to feed the plant and trigger the natural endogenous resistance. SCUDO is a liquid fertilizer with copper and vegetal peptides able to prevent/cure copper deficiency helps plant to overcome rapidly the stress induced by nutritional imbalances and unfavorable environmental conditions.

Potassium is a fundamental element for the quality of apples. In case of potassium deficiency, ripening is problematic, and the quality of the fruit is considerably reduced due to the reduced sugar content and poor color. Potassium deficiency also has harmful effects on the plant: damage from cold, less lignification of the shoots, reduction of photosynthesis (of which K is a promoter), less efficiency in water management. Potassium deficiency can result from a low content of K in the soil or from a poor absorption of potassium hindered by the presence of antagonist ions such as calcium and magnesium. In these cases, the application of MYR POTASSIUM is the ideal solution to bring it to the plant quickly and very effectively. MYR POTASSIUM nourishes plants and, thanks to its vegetal peptides enhance the tolerance against abiotic stresses (heat, cold, drought, etc.). The high potassium content improves fruit ripeness and quality.
The microelements are absorbed by plants in reduced quantities, but they are nevertheless essential to achieve adequate levels of quantity and quality of agricultural production. Lack of micronutrients in the soils is very common​ and their availability can be disrupted by antagonistic relationships between soil nutrients, or soil pH. Micronutrient deficiency can strongly affect crop productivity​. Providing micronutrients is the solution to allow the expression of the maximum productive potential of the crops. KEYLAN Fe, MYR BORON, MYR MICRO, MYR MAGNESIUM are solutions specifically designed to prevent and cure specific micronutrient deficiencies in apples in the different stages of growth and development.
All growers, conventional and organic, have an interest in gaining back the yield potential lost due to abiotic stresses.  It’s proven that on the average, farmers can harvest only 50% of the yield potential. The yield gap can be caused by biotic and abiotic stresses with a stronger negative impact of abiotic stresses. In fact, abiotic stresses like heat, cold, salt, drought and flooding caused from 65 to 75% of the yield gap, while biotic stress only 25 to 35%. TRAINER has been shown to consistently help plants better recover from stress events by increasing antioxidant supply, stimulating antioxidant biosynthesis, and activating antioxidant defense enzymes.

Plan your harvest with our nutrient removal calculator

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