Reflectionsthis is one of the oldest varieties in the world, obtained in the XIX century and still always pleasing gardeners with tasty juicy fruits. The date of birth of the apple tree Melba is 1898.The very first apples that gave seedlings from free pollination of the Macintosh variety were so much liked by Canadian breeders in Ottawa that the variety was registered and named after the popular singer Nelly Melba in those years. A few years later, seedlings of an unpretentious variety of late summer ripening period appeared in Europe and in Russia.
During Soviet times, the Melba apple tree, which is well known to the current gardeners, was included in the State Register and zoned in many regions of the country. Due to the average frost resistance of the variety and the risk of freezing of seedlings, planting apple trees is not recommended in the north of Russia, including the Siberian and European parts of the country, as well as in the Far East.
Description of the apple tree Melba and its fruits
The average size of the trees in this class is round or slightly conical, in young plants, the shape of the crown. The older the tree, the wider the crown becomes and the more powerful the trunk. But the annual Melba saplings are almost straight, covered with large foliage of rich green color and smooth reddish bark.
Both lignified skeletal branches and the trunk of adult plants themselves cover a brown, relatively dark bark with a reddish or orange tinge. The shoots of apple varieties Melba:
- have an average length;
- slightly pubescent;
- covered with large, slightly curved leaves oval;
- with a large number of ovaries can be strongly inclined.
Flowering in a variety begins relatively early and is accompanied by the appearance of Melba characteristic of apple trees, as in the photo and in the description, large buds of a beautiful pink or purple hue.
Melbu is distinguished by the rapid entry into fruiting and high yields. Already in the third or fourth year, the first apples can ripen on a young tree, and gardeners from 85 to 150 kg of fruit grow from an adult apple tree.
And up to the 12-year-old age, apple trees give yields annually, and then abundant fruiting is alternated with a rest period. Fruiting in this type of fruit tree is mixed, but is mainly due to the ovary, which is formed on kolchatka.
Under the conditions of the middle band, the fragrant fruits of the Melba variety ripen in the second half of August. The average weight of slightly ribbed apples of a rounded conical shape is 130–180 grams.
Apples are attached to shoots with elongated, flexible stem. According to the description of the apple tree Melba, the fruit has a smooth, thin skin, covered with a waxy coating well visible against the background of a carmine with stripes of blush. The main color of apples with a pronounced candy aroma and a pleasant sweet-sour taste, is light green or almost white in ripe fruits.
Fruits removed from branches can be stored for up to 100 days, tolerate transportation well and do not lose quality until winter, and spruce trees are stored at low temperatures above zero.
According to the description, there are two drawbacks with the mass of merits among Melba's apple trees:
- low resistance to such common disease of fruit trees as scab;
- the possibility of freezing in severe and light snow winters.
However, with proper care and attention to planting apple trees, Melba has long and regularly produces good yields of delicious, fragrant apples.
Description of the apple variety Melba
The popularity and high value of the Melba variety is evidenced by the fact that several interesting varieties and varieties were created on its basis and with direct participation:
- Bellefle Chinese;
- Early Aloea, bred by Russian breeders on the basis of Papirovka and Melba;
- Red early, also bred by domestic experts as a result of crossing varieties Spring and Melba;
- Caravel of Canadian breeding, created on the basis of Melba and Crimson Beauty;
- Prima is the result of the work of specialists from the United States who have received a fully scab-resistant fruit plant.
In addition, in apple orchards, you can see Melba clones with larger and brightly colored fruits, increased winter hardiness and resistance to scab dangerous to the fruit tree. This is Red Melba and Melba's Daughter variety, common in the environs of St. Petersburg and other areas of the North-West of the country.
Planting apple varieties Melba and caring for seedlings
Planting and caring for apple varieties Melba does not require any special skills and knowledge of the gardener, but choosing a site for growing fruit trees should be taken seriously.
On a well-lit part of the apple tree, Melba, as in the photo, will definitely delight you with large ruddy fruits. If the light is not enough, the apples become shallow, less sugars accumulate in them, which negatively affects the taste.
It is unacceptable that the tree suffered from stagnant moisture, the cause of which could be:
- spring thawing of snow;
- prolonged autumn precipitation;
- proximity of soil water.
If there is such a risk, at the site intended for planting apple trees, do a powerful drainage or equip artificial hills. For an apple tree, the soil requires not only a good supply of nutrients and moisture-conducting, but also sufficiently breathable. If the fruit tree is planted on dense clay soil or black soil, do not do without the addition of sand, peat, as well as dolomite and lime flour with excessive acidity.
The intensity of growth and the size of the crown of Melba’s apple trees determine the planting pattern for this crop:
- For a row garden, it is recommended to maintain a distance of at least 8 meters between rows and 3 meters between plants.
- If a square pattern is used, the distance between the landing pits is about seven meters.
In the course of planting and caring for apple trees, organic and mineral fertilizers are subsequently used, which are introduced into the soil in the form of root dressings and contribute to the rapid adaptation of the plant, early growth and active fruiting.
By the time the apple is planted, the soil should settle, and the organics should be perepered so that the tender roots of the young tree are not affected. The root system of the seedling is carefully and very carefully straightened out, and after filling the pit with soil, the root collar should not be covered with soil. As Melba apple varieties may be affected by frost, according to the description, the young tree should be protected in autumn until a steady snow cover appears on the site. To do this, you can use any covering materials that allow air to pass through and do not give rodents and pests access to the rod.
In the first few years of life after planting an apple tree, the plant is normalized, removing all in the spring, and then most of the buds that have formed. This measure will allow the young apple tree to acclimatize more quickly and gain strength for real fruiting. In subsequent years, the load on the tree is regulated by cutting off the green ovary, the size of a nut.
Top dressing apple trees Melba
For a harmonious fruiting, the first top dressing of apple trees should be carried out already in early spring. As with the planting, rotted organic matter from 5 to 15 kg per meter is introduced into the soil under the crown. And when preparing the plantation for flowering, except for humus or manure, the composition of the feed should include a complex mineral fertilizer or separately about 45–55 grams of potassium chloride and 120–145 grams of superphosphate per apple tree. A good top dressing for apple varieties Melba will be wood ash. The number and volume of feedings gardener can adjust depending on the specific conditions of cultivation of apple trees, soil fertility and climatic features.
Apple feeds liquid nitrogen-containing mixtures 2-3 times, for example, diluted in a ratio of 1: 10 infusion of humus, manure, chicken manure or “green manure”»Based on nettle, cereals or grass.
When the mass ripening of the fruits begins, it is important to limit the production of nitrogen by the trees, which interferes with the maturation of the shoots and the preparation of the apple trees for wintering.
Features of watering the apple tree in the summer
Moisture is necessary for trees, starting from the moment of planting the apple tree and throughout the life of the plant. If in spring the soil is filled with meltwater, then by the summer, when the ovary appears and the crop begins to ripen, the apple trees cannot do without watering. Depending on the ability of the soil to retain moisture and weather conditions, each adult tree should receive 10 to 18 liters of water weekly.
Watering of apple trees in summer is especially important in the period from July to August, when the summer ripening varieties have active fruit growth. If fruit trees lack water at this time, under the crown you can see the fallen unripe fruits.
But the loss of harvest awaits the gardener not only this year, but also in the next season, because in the summer months there is an active bookmark of flower buds, designed to ensure further fruiting. Active watering of apple trees in the summer is carried out until mid-August, and then the soil is moistened in the near-stem circle only when necessary. Excess moisture at the end of the season does not affect the quality of the fruit, but it adversely affects the ripening of the resulting shoots.
It is in the summer that the mulching of the soil under the crown of the Melba apple tree becomes extremely relevant. This technique preserves the friability of the soil and does not evaporate the necessary plant moisture.
Formation of the crown and pruning of apple trees of Melba
variety. Proper and timely pruning of apple trees is a guarantee of tree health and regular fruiting. The best time for this procedure is early spring, when the fruit movement of juices and the awakening of the buds have not yet begun on fruit trees.
For the first few years of life, an apple tree needs a formative pruning, which results in a strong, healthy crown that is ready for regular fruiting.
For the fastest possible laying of fruit branches, the central conductor is cut to one third, which limits the vertical growth of the tree and stimulates the development of lateral shoots. An adult tree gradually reduces the yield, and the main fruiting is transferred to the upper, inaccessible part of the crown. In this case, the Melba apple tree, as in the photo, needs both annual sanitary and rejuvenating pruning. In order not to injure the plant excessively, the removal of large branches is carried out gradually, replacing several shoots in a year.