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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Apple Variety Testing for the Mojave Desert

Q. I've seen Yellow Newtown Pippin listed as Under Review in your recommended fruit varieties to grow in the desert. How has it done? I would love to have one if the quality is good here.

A. Here is a link to the recommended fruit variety list that I completed back in 2010. 
Apple Babe from Dave Wilson Nursery under evaluation in North Las Vegas Nevada

Fuji apple grown in North Las Vegas Nevada
Anna apple grown in North Las Vegas Nevada
When I left the University back in 2011 this program of fruit evaluation for desert environments was no longer continued. Fruit quality is very connected to the terrior or the local environment. This is nothing new and has been noted for many other crops where quality is a desired trait and useful in marketing.

I have not had a chance to evaluate this Apple yet. I like about five seasons of production to get a good evaluation. Just because a plant grows does not necessarily mean the fruit quality is high. Sometimes there is little you can do to influence the quality of a fruit if you do not have a suitable terrior it. 

Most people think that a good fruit is one that is large, has an appealing color and free from blemishes to be a "good" fruit. How wrong! There are too many variations because of the climate and weather. The chilling requirement is 800 to 1000 hours according to Dave Wilson Nursery. This may be somewhat problematic for production in the warm desert but not necessarily for fruit quality.

I will take a look at some of the information the orchard has gathered so far on this variety and let you know. I have not been involved so I hope that the three is still there, there are replications to account for variations and data has been recorded. It ripens a little bit before Granny Smith and a month or so before Pink Lady. It ripens during a time of the year when flavor should be good considering ONLY the time of year. 

More information on this and related varieties.

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