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Apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits in the world. New Zealand is well placed geographically to supply the Northern Hemisphere consumer demand for fresh product in the counter season and product into Asian markets. Whilst New Zealand is remote from the market and has high cost structure, this is partially compensated by the fact that it produces superb quality fruit and among the highest yields per hectare in the world.


Commercial apple varieties are derived from Malus domestica although more recently inter-specific hybrids with other Malus species are rising in significance. It is thought that the ancestral home of apples is in Central Asia and the species has been dispersed by human activity and migration.


There seems to be little doubt that high density production system utilizing tree densities in the range of 1600-3000 trees per hectare are the most efficient for commercial orchards. Size controlling rootstocks are integral to these systems and are covered in our rootstock section along with a guide for calculating tree numbers. The training system chosen is part of a complex matrix which includes likely returns for the variety (see Resource Section).


Apples are pollinated readily by any diploid apple variety that flowers at the same time. Sometimes this is another high value apple but there is a trend to utilizing crab apple pollinators at a ratio of 1:20.


Apples are a major focus for McGrath Nurseries and we have successfully introduced a number of commercially significant varieties as well as being the driving force in the search for a commercial introduction of the Geneva┬« series rootstocks in New Zealand. These naturally bred, multi- disease and pest resistant rootstocks are covered in detail in our rootstock section. The most recent development in apple marketing has been the introduction of branding and controlled variety management. McGrath Nurseries are at the forefront of this innovation as evidenced by our Honeycrisp project and the development of Plumac c.v. apple under the brand KORU┬«. 

Specific information for each variety can be found on the individual variety sheets.

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