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October Plant of the Month

by | Oct 1, 2014 | Market News

‘Honeygold’ a Sweet Culinary and Dessert Apple

Many of our customers have included dwarf fruit trees in their landscape plans since fruit trees do double duty as producers of food while adding beauty to the surroundings, even on small lots where every square foot is important.

Dwarf fruit trees, growing to 12 to 18 feet tall and wide, provide ample shade in the summer plus delicate traceries of color and grace in the early spring when blooms appear. Yet they require little more care than trees that are purely ornamental.

Apple trees are grown extensively in every temperate region around the world. Grafted or budded on dwarfing rootstock these trees can fit in any home landscape depending on the site and size of the tree required.  The most common commercially used rootstock for apple trees used in a home orchard is Malling 7 (M7) which was developed in England.  Malling 7 is a vigorous semi-dwarfing rootstock which produces trees that are approximately 60% of the size of a standard tree. Dwarfing rootstock reduces the size of the tree and not the size of the fruit.  Dwarf trees are easier to prune, spray and harvest.  All of our apple trees sold at Pahl’s Market on grafted on M7 rootstock.

Honeygold Apple BlossomOne of our most popular late-season apple trees is ‘Honeygold’ which was developed by the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center, located in Carver County near Excelsior, and introduced in 1969. ‘Honeygold’ has two distinguished parents, ‘Golden Delicious’ which was discovered in Clay County, West Virginia in 1912, and ‘Haralson’ one of Minnesota’s most popular apples introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1923.  The ubiquitous ‘Golden Delicious’ apple is grown commercially in Europe and is popular in both European and American markets.

‘Honeygold’ takes the best characteristics of both parents, the color and sweetness of ‘Golden Delicious’ and the cold-tolerance of ‘Haralson’ since ‘Golden Delicious’ is not winter hardy in Minnesota. The skin of the fruit of ‘Honeygold’ is a golden yellow with numerous small dots giving the apple a reddish bronze blush. ‘Honeygold’ is a sweet, crisp, juicy apple excellent for fresh eating, pies, salads, sauce and cider. ‘Honeygold’ ripens in early October and has a storage life of three months.

Apple trees prefer a rich, moist, well-drained loam, but are planted almost anywhere and yet often still do fairly well. ‘Honeygold’ is hardy to zone 4.

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