One of the most popular fruits grown by gardeners is apples. Among the huge variety of varieties, the Melba variety has stood out for a long time. Why do you like him so much and what is his popularity?
In 1898 Canadian breeders, by pollination of a wild variety of Macintosh apple trees, have developed a new variety, named after Australian opera singer Nelly Melba. A few years later, the variety began to be planted in Europe, and then in Russia. You can familiarize yourself with the description and characteristics of this variety below.
Characteristics of the tree and fruit: what it looks like and the ripening period
Mature trees of the Melba variety are medium-sized, since they do not exceed 3 m in height. The crown is thin, but wide, rounded. At the initial stage of growth, apple trees look like columnar, since the process of crown formation is slow and not in one year. The bark is brown, in some cases it has an orange-rusty tint.
On young branches, the leaves are oval-curved; on older ones, they are slightly concave. Both are light green, finely serrated along the edges. Purple buds bloom in large flowers. White, turning into a pale pink color towards the base, the petals are quite close to each other.
Fruits ripen in August, but if the summer was not warm, September will have to be harvested.... A distinctive feature of the fruit is the round-canonical shape and average size. The weight of one apple varies from 130 to 180 grams. The skin of the fruit is thin and smooth, covered with a waxy coating. Apples are light green, with red stripes up to half of the skin surface. They have a pronounced caramel aroma and sweet-sour taste.
A young apple tree of the Melba variety bears fruit annually, but an adult tree only periodically, and it has not been possible to identify the periods of fruiting to this day. Therefore, for the annual harvest, even experienced gardeners resort to additional means, for example, manually pollinating it.
Advantages and disadvantages of the melba variety
The popularity of the melba apple variety is high: it is preferred by many gardeners. It is also important that the first harvest can be obtained in 4 years... And the apples will be nutritious and delicious. In addition, the advantages include the high yield of the variety. The fruits are perfectly stored and endure long-term transportation without losing their presentation.
With all its advantages, the variety cannot be called ideal, since apple trees have melba and disadvantages, among which the following can be called significant:
- practically, the complete absence of resistance to such a common disease of fruit crops as scab;
- instability to frost, which leads to freezing of apple trees in severe winters with little snow.
But gardeners have already learned how to deal with shortcomings, therefore, with good care on time and increased attention, melba can please with its high yield for many years.
The chemical composition and benefits of apples of this variety
Melba apples are distinguished not only by excellent taste, but are also famous for their usefulness. They are practically universal. Jam, compotes, jam, juices - all this tastes amazing. Dried apples have a special aroma, and there are a lot of benefits from them. Vitamins, acids, sugar - all this has a beneficial effect on the human body. Experts have proven that 100 grams of melba apple contains:
- 10-11 gr. Sahara;
- from 10 to 13 gr. ascorbic acid;
- about 10 gr. pectins.
Rules for planting apple seedlings
The best time to plant a melba apple tree seedling is autumn, 30 days before the first frost. The distance between the seedlings should be at least 7 meters.... If the trees are planted in rows, a distance of 3 meters must be maintained between the rows. The place should be chosen sunny, without drafts. In addition, the presence of groundwater must be taken into account.
The planting pit (depth 80 cm, length and width 1 meter) is prepared in advance, 15 days before planting. The earth dug out of the pit is mixed with peat and humus taken in equal parts... Coarse river sand is added, the dose should be 2 times less. This composition is mixed with wood ash, superphosphate and potassium sulfate. The bottom of the pit is laid out with drainage.
A small mound is formed from the prepared fertile soil at the bottom of the pit, on which a seedling with a neatly spread root system is placed. Fill up with soil in several steps, slightly tamping each layer. After completely filling the hole, the soil is tamped again and the seedling is tied to a pre-set support.
During planting, you must be careful not to cover the root collar of the seedling with earth. It should be 4-6 cm above the top layer of the soil.
Planting tree care
Melba apple trees are not very whimsical to care for. The most important thing is not to forget that they do not tolerate cold and frost well. Therefore, the preparation of apple trees for winter should be paid attention first of all... The trunk and branches that make up the base of the tree must be whitewashed. This will prevent rodents from chewing on the apple tree. For the same purpose, you can build an additional shelter: in several layers, the trunk is wrapped in burlap or tarpaulin. Layers are shifted with straw and the entire structure is securely fixed on the apple tree. To insulate the trunk, you can use a special insulating material. In snowy winters, you can build a snowdrift around the apple tree.
The land around the apple tree must be dug regularly, in spring and autumn. If the soil is fertile, no fertilizer is applied in the first year after planting. In the subsequent time as a top dressing it is good to use nitrogen, humus and peat, wood ash, superphosphate, sodium chloride, potassium.
A young melba apple tree should be pruned the next year. It is better to do this in the spring, before the kidneys awaken. The central branch is cut off by about a third, 3 buds are left on the lateral shootsand. At 2 and 3 years of growth, they form a crown, reducing the length of the central shoot. Leave side shoots growing upward, the rest is cut off.
In the future, an annual sanitary pruning is carried out, removing all dried and diseased branches, shoots that grow down and into the inside of the crown.
Diseases and pests: description and methods of treatment
Among the diseases affecting the melba variety of apple trees, it is worth paying special attention to such as:
- scab... Initially, small brown spots appear on the leaves, which gradually increase and pass to the fruit. Apples stop growing, crack and become dark gray. As a preventive measure, in the spring, the apple tree is sprayed with drugs such as Oxyhom and Horus. The solution must be prepared strictly according to the instructions for medicinal products;
- powdery mildew... A thin white coating on the leaves blocks the ingress of oxygen and moisture. Leaves turn yellow, curl and fall off. The same thing happens with the inflorescences, the fruits are not tied. At that moment, when the leaves are just beginning to bloom, they are sprayed with Topaz, and after the apple tree has faded, copper chloride is used;
- fruit rot... Fruit spots brown and soft to the touch, whitish growths. The fruit should not be eaten, as the flesh is soft and brown. Apples infected with fruit rot fall off. They should be destroyed immediately. With monioliosis (the scientific name for rot), a 3-time spraying with Skor, Horus and Fundazol helps.
In addition to diseases affecting trees, apple trees suffer a lot from pests, which can also make it impossible to eat tasty and healthy apples. The most common are:
- apple moth... From insects, sticky belts put on the apple tree and the treatment of ovaries with Tsimbush and Fastak preparations will help;
- apple scale... Pests suck the sap from the tree, it dries up and dies. Before flowering, the soil around the apple tree is treated with actara, and the apple tree itself is washed with a stiff brush with a solution of tar soap with wood ash;
- apple blossom beetle... Lays the larvae in buds, which subsequently dry up and fall off. Chlorophos solution helps a lot.
Planted Melba last year. The young apple tree took root well, in the summer it stood green and bushy. Overwintered. But this year, the branches began to grow not upward, but somehow scattered on the sides. I tried to collect them by tying them (fortunately, the tree is small). Now it is. I don’t know what to do with it. I’ll wait until spring, I’ll take a look there.
There are several Melba apple trees in our garden. They are no longer young, but they always bear fruit. We love these sweet apples. I make jam, I make compote, juice. A very productive variety.
I think that of all the summer varieties of apples, Melba is the tastiest and fastest ripening variety. True, in our country, no matter how much they planted, not a single seedling grew: they did not start at all, then they dried up, for some reason. But I will still plant some more, someday, but I will wait for my apples.
Despite the fact that the variety appeared more than a century ago, its popularity has not diminished in the least. Melba apples are tasty and healthy fruits, and the apple trees themselves are unpretentious and have many advantages in comparison with other varieties.
Apple variety Melba - description, planting and care, photos, reviews of gardeners
Old variety doesn't mean bad. Among them are not inferior in yield and quality of fruits to new cultivars, which is proved by the characteristics and description of the Melba apple variety. Launched at the end of the 19th century, it is still popular and in demand today. Perhaps the resistance to frost or pests of the tree leaves much to be desired, but consumers like the excellent taste, the intricacies of care are of little interest to them. But for gardeners, on the contrary, it is useful to have all the information when buying seedlings.
- Description of the variety
- The appearance of the tree
- Description and taste of the fruit
- Productivity and features of fruiting
- Resistance to adverse factors
- Diseases and pests
- Advantages and disadvantages
- Top dressing
Apple variety Melba (Melba)
Melba is a late summer apple variety of Canadian origin, obtained in 1898 in the state of Ottawa at the central experimental station through free pollination of seeds of another Canadian variety - Mackintosh (Macintosh, McIntosh). The new variety was named after the world famous opera singer of the time, Australian Nelly Melba. In Russia, this variety quickly gained popularity in many regions. Due to its positive qualities, Melba in our country is zoned almost everywhere, with the exception of the Ural, Northern and Far Eastern regions.
The trees of this variety are medium in height and have a spreading, slightly raised crown with a wide round shape and medium density. But the crown is rounded and grows to the sides gradually, in the first years of growth the apple trees have a columnar shape. The color of the bark is rather dark - brownish orange. A mixed type of fruiting is characteristic, but nevertheless, in adult apple trees, fruits are formed mainly on ringlets.
Shoots of medium thickness, medium pubescence. Leaves are oval, slightly oblong, slightly curved, light green, often yellowish. On strong shoots, the leaves become convex, swollen upward. On the edge, the leaf is crenate. Annual trees have a straight, rather thick trunk, shiny bark of a light cherry hue, and the edges of the leaves hang down.
The flowers are quite large, the buds have a white-pink tint with a purple tint, the petals are round, light pink in color, closed, closely spaced and slightly overlapping each other (an overlap is formed), the stigmas of the pistils can be located at the level of the anthers or below.
The fruits of the Melba apple tree are large enough, of medium or larger size (the average weight of one apple is 120 - 140 g, but can reach up to 200 g). The apples are flattened, round or round-conical in shape, with the largest diameter at the base, the ribbing is poorly expressed. The peel on the fruits is dense, but not at all rough, but tender, smooth, slightly oily, covered with a waxy bloom of a bluish-white color. The main color of the fruit is light green, whitish-yellow when ripe, the integumentary color is expressed by a bright red striped blush, which occupies about half of the surface of the apple. The subcutaneous dots are white, of medium size or finer, especially on the colored side of the fetus. The funnel is quite deep and of medium width. The peduncle is thin, medium in length. A saucer of narrow shape, medium depth, folded, with a closed cup. The heart is medium in size, bulbous. The seed chambers are wide open into the axial cavity. Seeds are brown in color, large, oblong in shape.
The pulp of this apple tree is very tender, juicy, snow-white in color, with an attractive candy aroma and an excellent sweet and sour taste. The fruits are well suited for making juices, compotes, jams and marmalades. By chemical composition, fruits contain: sugars (10.5%), ascorbic acid (13.4 mg / 100 g), titratable acids (0.78%), pectin substances (10.1%), P-active substances ( 297 mg / 100 g).
The fruits are harvested from the second half of August. In cool summers, the harvest can last until mid-September. When stored in the refrigerator, unripe apples can stay fresh until November. And if the fruits are picked a little unripe, then they can be stored in cool conditions until January. In addition, compared to other summer varieties, Melba fruits tolerate transportation well and are therefore often grown specifically for sale.
This variety has high rates of early maturity. With good care of apple trees, fruiting begins as early as 3-4 years after planting in trees grafted on dwarf rootstocks, and in 4-5 years in trees grafted on vigorous rootstocks. The yield is high. Young apple trees bear fruit annually and abundantly, but old trees are prone to periodic fruiting. According to data obtained in the orchards of VNIISPK: for the first 6 years of fruiting, starting from 6 years after planting, the average yield from 1 hectare of land, when apple trees were placed according to the 8 × 3 meter scheme, amounted to 93 centners. When full-grown trees were placed according to the 7 × 7 meter scheme, the yield indicators turned out to be higher - from 120 to 180 c / ha.
The winter hardiness of the apple tree is average. The trees tolerate mild winters well, but with severe bark on the trunk and main branches it suffers from burns. Scab resistance is also average. In some years (at low temperatures and frequent rains in the summer season), fruits and trees are seriously affected by scab.
The obvious advantages of this apple tree are: high rates of early maturity and productivity, good consumer and commercial qualities of apples.
Among the main disadvantages are: a tendency to attack by scab, insufficiently high winter hardiness, a tendency of adult apple trees to cyclical fruiting, a low ability of trees to self-pollinate (to increase productivity, additional pollination is required).
With the participation of the Melba apple tree, over 20 new varieties have been created. Among them is the 'cherished' selection of the Scientific Research Institute of Horticulture of Siberia named after V.I. M. A. Lisavenko, 'Early scarlet' selection of VNIISPK, 'Red scarlet' selection of VNIIS them. I. V. Michurina, 'Caravel' (Ottawa Experimental Station, Canada). Melba also contributed to the creation of the ‘Prima’ (USA) variety, the first apple variety immune to scab (with the Vf gene).
For any garden plant, there are planting features and the Red Melba apple tree is no exception.
In the middle lane, it is better to plant Melba in the spring, and in the southern regions - in the fall. The autumn planting of Melba in early October allows the seedling to take root in order to begin an active growing season in the spring.
In the middle lane, spring planting is carried out in the last days of April, in the south - from the beginning of April. At the same time, by autumn, the Melba red apple tree will get stronger and will be ready for wintering.
Choosing the right place
The site must be well lit and protected from the wind. The soil for Melba needs loamy, moderately permeable: sandy soil is diluted with clay and humus (2: 1: 1) during digging, clayey - with sand (2: 1).
Selection and preparation of planting material
The groundwater level for the Melba variety should not exceed 2.5, and for the Melba dwarf apple tree - about 1.5 m.
Melba sapling is best purchased at the age of 1-2: a one-year-old apple tree has no branches yet, and a two-year-old apple tree has 2-3 branches at an angle of 40-80 degrees from the trunk.
- the roots should be moist and not come off when stretching
- wood of the variety under green bark
- there should be no blooming foliage and damage.
If the Melba seedling has open roots, before transportation, they need to be wrapped in moistened sacking and polyethylene, and the branches should be pulled to the trunk with twine.
How to plant the Melba apple tree
The distance between Melba early apple trees should be 3 m with a row spacing of 4 m. For Melba apple trees with a middle summer ripening period - a little more: 3.5 m in a row and 4.5 m - row spacings.
The depth of the pit for the Melba seedling should be 0.6 m, the width - 100 cm.At the bottom, you need to arrange a drainage from broken bricks, then a mixture of:
- humus - 3 kg
- compost - 3 kg
- superphosphate - 1 tbsp.
- potassium chloride - ½ tbsp.
- slaked lime - 1 tbsp
- removed soil from the upper fertile layer.
Mix everything with a shovel, forming a mound. Next to it, you need to stick a support 2 m high. Then place Melba's seedling on a mound, spread the roots, fill it with the remaining soil and tamp it. Make a watering groove with a radius of 0.5 with a barrel in the center and pour out 1-1.5 buckets of water. The apple tree trunk circle should be mulched with humus or rotted sawdust.
The excellent taste of apples is due to the low acid content - 0.8%, and the considerable sugar content - 11%. Vitamins are represented by P active substances - 300 mg for every 100 g of pulp and vitamin C - almost 14 mg per 100 g. There are many pectin substances in these apples - up to 10% of the total mass.
On the basis of Melba, new varieties were bred, practically not inferior to her in taste, but not having her shortcomings:
- Early scarlet
- Early red
- Prima is genetically resistant to scab.
Clones were also identified, i.e., those that changed the genotype of the apple tree. This usually happens for a number of reasons, which are not always possible to guess. If during vegetative propagation of such trees, the main characteristics are preserved, they can be called a variety. This is how Melba's Daughter and Red Melba or Melba ed.
Advantages and disadvantages
Yablone Melba is highly popular thanks to its merits. So, the variety is characterized by:
- first harvest - in just 4 years
- apples are strong and durable, which means they are transportable
- well kept
- high yield
- ample opportunities for processing.
However, this variety is not ideal. There are quite significant disadvantages:
- no scab resistance
- weak resistance to frost.
Gardeners have been successfully fighting with them for a long time. So it is enough to properly care for the apple tree, and it will delight with high yields for many years.
Features of growing Melba
To get good yields of this apple variety, you do not have to make much effort, but you still need to work hard. Climatic as well as weather conditions, soil characteristics and many other factors should be taken into account.
- The variety does not like close groundwater or high humidity. Therefore, if it turns out to be planted only in the lowland, then it is better to provide drainage, for which a bucket of nutshells is poured onto the bottom of the pit. You can also make a planting mound to lift the tree.
- The variety is very light-loving, so you need to choose a sunny place, 4-6 meters from other trees. He does not like drafts, so it is advisable to choose a place protected by hedges, walls of buildings, fences, and higher vegetation.
- For Melba, holes are dug, 60-80 centimeters deep with smooth edges and a diameter of at least 1 meter.
- Before planting, the branches are cleaned of leaves and tied to avoid moisture loss. If the seedlings are weak, thin, then it is better to put them in a bucket of water for a day before planting for a day so that they are saturated with moisture for better rooting.
- You can plant trees directly in the soil, but only if it is loamy. If not, you will have to prepare it. To do this, mix in equal parts peat, sand and compost or manure (preferably horse manure). All this must be placed in a pre-prepared pit for disembarkation.
- The seedling is set so that the root collar is on the surface. If necessary, garter stakes are immediately driven in. The soil around the tree is not rammed, but only slightly crushed - Melba likes the roots to be free.
- Watering is required immediately upon planting, but not very plentiful. Enough will be 8-10 liters per tree.
It is customary to plant melba not in spring, but in autumn. The best time will be the end of September or the beginning of October. Everything here directly depends on the growing region. It will take about three or four weeks for the tree to take root properly. Moreover, it must be in time before the first severe frosts, otherwise it will die.
Frost and rodent protection
The variety is quite thermophilic, therefore you will have to carefully protect it from freezing. First years should be protected from cold weather with special care. It is good to overlay the trunk with spruce branches, wrap it with straw, burlap or roofing felt, you can use pieces of tar paper. If there is a danger of low temperatures, you can rake a layer of earth up to 15-25 centimeters on the rhizome, it will not hurt to mulch with manure annually. The trunks are greased with grease or lard.
Young shoots, and even more so wrapping apple trees with straw or burlap, will inevitably attract rodents and insects. Therefore, the trunks must be treated with special compounds and whitewashed. For strapping, you can use a fine metal or nylon mesh, thin branches of raspberries or cherries, previously soaked in lime.
To get bountiful harvests from a tree, you need to devote enough time to it. It will require special conditions and care, but it will not be difficult to implement them.
Loosening the soil, watering: proper agricultural technology
Melba loves loose, airy soil, so trees need to be dug in every year. It will not hurt to fluff the soil also with every watering. However, remember that the variety does not really like excessive moisture, so you will have to pour water with extreme caution.
- In the spring, the soil is already saturated with melt water, after the snow melts. Therefore, until approximately mid or late May, depending on the weather and the region, the trees do not need watering.
- All summer months Melba should be watered in small portions (10-18 liters) once a week.
- If it is raining, watering may not be done until dry weather is established.
In late August or early September, watering should be completely stopped if autumn is rainy. In extremely dry weather, you can slightly moisten (2-3 liters) the near-stem zone. Moistening should be interrupted before mid or late October, so that the tree has time to prepare for winter.
Pruning: simple crown shaping
To obtain high yields and the convenience of their collection, it is required to regularly prune the crown. It is best to do this in early spring, before sap flow begins.
- Formative... The central trunk is cut by about a third in the first year. This will allow the lateral fruit branches to set more quickly, forming the correct crown.
- Supportive... Melba is a fairly branched tree, so you will have to systematically remove the weaker branches, while simultaneously shortening the ones left by half or one third. But such pruning is done only in young seedlings up to 3-6 years old.
- Sanitary... Old, diseased, damaged or dry branches should be removed regularly.
- Rejuvenating... Cutting 2-3 age branches per year to rejuvenate the tree is quite acceptable.
Cutting apple trees of this variety is required with extreme care. All cut points must be immediately treated with garden varnish or water-based paint.