Apple Tree Spartan: a wonderful winter variety of Canadian origin

The apple tree variety Spartan is an excellent representative of winter varieties with a long shelf life of delicious beautiful apples. Unfortunately, Spartan is not characterized by high winter hardiness, as a result of which its cultivation is limited to regions with a relatively mild climate. But where he feels good, this variety is very popular among gardeners.

Description of the variety and its main characteristics

The winter apple variety Spartan was bred in 1926 in Canada at the Summerland Experimental Station. Its origin in recent years has been called into question: it was believed that Spartan was obtained by crossing apple trees Mekintosh and Pepin Newtown Yellow. However, recently, using the methods of genetic analysis, it was found that the second “parent” has nothing to do with his birth.

An application for placing a variety in the State Register of Breeding Achievements in our country was filed in 1970, since the next year it was undergoing state testing, but only in 1988 received the full right to be considered a variety approved for use. Spartan is recommended for cultivation in the Bryansk region and the Central Black Earth region. At the same time, in Russia it is distributed in the south, and in the middle lane it is grown mainly in amateur gardens. It is widely distributed in Ukraine, mainly in its northern part, and is popular in Central European countries. In Canada and the north of the United States, Spartan is considered one of the best industrial varieties.

The apple tree of Spartan is a tree of medium height with a rounded crown, bears fruit on the glove. In the absence of proper care, the crown is prone to thickening, therefore, requires annual qualified pruning. Annual shoots are painted in dark brown with the pubescence of almost cherry color. Leaves are small to medium in size, dark green in color. The apple tree is characterized by early and abundant flowering. Pollinators are not required; Moreover, it was noticed that the trees planted next to Melba or Northern Sinap significantly increase their productivity.

It comes into fruition very soon: with proper care, several full apples grow and ripen at the age of three. Productivity is very high: 100 kg of fruit from an adult tree is a completely common thing. Fruit ripening is not extended. The fruits are very firmly held on branches: they not only do not crumble on their own, but also take some effort when picked up.

Apples are so clinging to the branches that it comes to mind to compare a tree with sea buckthorn

The fruits ripen very late, and during harvesting in most regions they still do not "reach" to full maturity. Usually, the crop is harvested in early October, since it is dangerous to keep apples on the tree: frosts are already possible. However, apples at this time even look outwardly immature. They gradually ripen in the cellar by December, acquiring all the color, taste and aroma characteristic of the variety. But then they are stored at least until April, and in good conditions until the summer.

Winter hardiness of the apple tree is low, which is one of the serious drawbacks. At the same time, frozen apple trees recover well, giving numerous strong shoots . Resistance to most diseases is above average.

Spartan fruits of medium size, weighing a little more than 100 g, are rounded or round-conical in shape. The funnel is medium in size, the stalk is thin, of medium length. Apples are painted in light yellow color with a plentiful blush of burgundy tones, covered with a strong waxy coating of bluish color. This plaque sometimes allows you to call the color of apples even purple. Harvest mobility is excellent.

Apples collected from a tree can be transported in any boxes, they do not break or spoil.

The taste of crisp pulp is dessert, sweet, excellent, juice content is high. Of course, during storage, the apples gradually soften, and by the summer the crunch when they are consumed already disappears, but the taste remains very good. The purpose is universal.

The twenty-year-old Spartan tree by the author of these lines, unfortunately, switched to periodic fruiting. But if in one year we collect no more than a bucket of apples, then the next - some kind of misfortune: all branches are covered with fruits, only substitute backwater. It is not possible to eat apples harvested in the beginning of October in any way: at this time they are just beginning to become edible. But those few pieces that remain at the tops, in the absence of frost, acquire such an amazing color and taste by the end of the month! The fruits collected at the beginning of October can be eaten fresh by December: before, it’s just a pity. And when it becomes clear that during the winter the family can’t eat fresh from a single tree in any way, even in winter it is necessary to return to cooking jam or, which turned out to be much more useful, pastille. For taste and color, add a little mashed potatoes from any frozen berries to the applesauce, and you get a great treat.

Planting Spartan apple trees: step-by-step instructions

The fact that Spartan is not very winter-hardy adds problems to the choice of location for its landing. On the one hand, it should be sunny and open for airing the crown, on the other - winter drafts can play a bad joke with this tree. Therefore, at least from the north side of the landing site, 3-4 meters from the landing pit, it is desirable to have a high blank fence or the wall of the house. The water level should not be closer than one meter from the surface of the earth.

When choosing a planting date, even in the southern regions it is better to give preference to spring. Spartan should be planted when it is already possible to work in the garden, but preparatory activities must be completed in the fall. You can even buy a seedling in the fall, it is more reliable, but in the winter it will have to be well dug in according to all the rules of this matter. Two-year-olds are best taken root: seedlings with small lateral branches, but already with a very powerful root system.

It is very good if the soil on the site is initially sandy or loamy. If this is not the case, one must prepare for landing earlier than in the fall. You will have to dig a plot with dimensions of at least 3 x 3 m, correcting the soil structure, and only then, in the fall, dig a planting hole. When digging, add sand and, preferably, peat to the clay soil. In the sand, on the contrary, have to add clay. All this, of course, except for the usual doses of fertilizers (1-2 buckets of manure or compost, 100 g of nitrophoska, 1 liter can of ash per 1 m2).

If there is a year left, you can sow siderates - mustard, lupine, peas, etc. on the selected site, and then mow them before flowering and plant them in the soil.

Why dig a large area in advance? The roots of Spartan quickly spread to the sides, and they will only have a landing hole for the first couple of years. Therefore, the soil around should be well fertilized. Therefore, even digging has to be done as deep as possible. So, everything is clear with the site. In the summer we dug it with fertilizers, autumn came, the weather is still good, what are we doing:

  1. In the autumn we dig out a landing hole measuring 60 cm in all directions. If the soil is clay, you should try to dig even deeper, although it is difficult. But in this case, you will have to put at least a 10-centimeter layer of drainage on the bottom (gravel, pebbles, in extreme cases, just coarse sand).

    It is better to prepare a landing pit not far from the fence, which covers landings from the northerly winds

  2. We put in the pit the top layer of the excavated soil, well mixed with fertilizers: two buckets of humus, 100 g of superphosphate, a couple of handfuls of wood ash, 100 g of azofoska. We leave for the winter.

    No matter how good the fertilizers are, they must be mixed thoroughly with the soil.

  3. In the spring, we lower the acquired seedling for at least a day in water (at least the roots). After this, be sure to dip the roots into the clay mash.

    The use of clay chatters significantly improves the survival rate of seedlings

  4. In a pit prepared from autumn, we dig a hole to the size of the roots, drive in a strong stake, set a seedling, straighten the roots and gradually fill it with fertilized soil, periodically shaking so that there are no voids between the roots and the soil.

    If the roots are bent, the hole must be increased: the roots must be in a natural state

  5. When filling the roots, we make sure that the root neck remains 4–6 cm higher than the ground level. After filling the last portions, we trample the earth with your hand, then with your foot and make an earthen roller along the periphery of the landing pit.

    Do not be afraid that the root neck is not in the ground: in a few days the tree will fall, and it will be where it should be

  6. We tie the seedling to the stake with a soft rope, performing the "eight".

    Eight tying guarantees durability and non-invasiveness

  7. Gradually pour 2-3 buckets of water under the tree: until it is clear that the last portions are absorbed with difficulty. Mulch the trunk circle with any dry bulk material.

    Do not fall asleep when mulching: it must be ventilated

If, after watering, the soil has settled significantly, you need to add more. The root neck, naturally, along with the seedling will lower somewhat and will not stick out too high: do not be scared, over time everything will fall into place. But to trim the side branches is immediately. If it was a two-year-old, we shorten all future skeletal branches by a third.

Features of cultivation and subtleties of care

Spartan needs more skilled care than most zoned apple trees. It cannot be considered a very non-capricious variety, but the tree thanks for its self-care thanks to the plentiful harvests of valuable apples.

This is a very hygrophilous variety, so there is no reason to rely on rain only, the apple tree requires watering. In dry weather, you have to do this almost weekly, and on the hottest days the tree gratefully accepts sprinkling: hose spraying with a spray nozzle sweeps dust off the leaves and helps the tree breathe. In the first year after watering, you need to loosen the near-stem circle with the destruction of weeds, in the future you can keep Spartan on soddy soil. Abundant winter watering is required.

Young trees can be watered from a watering can, and for adults often just have to lay a hose for a long time

Top dressing should be given as early as the third year after planting. Early spring top dressing is carried out by digging humus or compost in small pits: for an adult tree - up to 5 buckets, and good scattering of thawed soil nitrogen fertilizers (for example, 300-400 g of urea). Immediately before flowering, top dressing is applied in liquid form: for example, a handful of bird droppings on a bucket of water. From 1 to 4 buckets can go to a tree, depending on age. A similar feeding is given when the apples grow to the size of a large cherry. In the fall, after leaf fall, 300-400 g of superphosphate are added under each tree.

Spartan needs pruning annually: without it, the crown quickly grows with extra shoots, and each apple needs light so that it can fill up and, if possible, ripen . It is more convenient to form a crown so that it does not grow strongly up, to direct branches in a horizontal direction.

Sanitary pruning is the simplest: it involves only the removal of dry, not overwintered and damaged branches. Next, they begin to cut intertwining branches and those that grow towards the trunk. Naturally, remove all unnecessary spinning tops growing vertically. Shortening pruning depends on the growth rate of the branches: they try to do so in order to comply with their subordination to each other.

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Actually, there is no special Spartan pruning scheme, just ordinary operations must be performed carefully and annually.

If previously it was believed that apple trees could be cut only before the sap flow and after leaf fall, it is now recognized that gentle pruning, without causing large wounds, is possible at any time during the growing season. However, garden varieties should not be neglected: all sections with a diameter of more than 2 cm are necessarily coated at any time of the year.

Spartan must be prepared for the winter. Unfortunately, often this apple tree leaves in the winter, not even with all the fallen leaves . This happens especially often in the case of rainy autumn, when growth continues to the detriment of ripening shoots. Watering from mid-August should be stopped, but after the majority of the leaves have fallen, on the contrary, make at least 8 buckets of water for the winter under an adult tree.

If possible, they insulate the near-trunk circle with peat during the winter, pouring a layer of 20–25 cm. If there is no peat, you can rake the fallen leaves under the tree, put compost, etc., just do not create a refuge for mice in this way. The trunk should be whitewashed in the fall, and it is better to wrap it in burlap or even pine lapnik. When snow falls, it is raked under a tree, trying to cover both the near-trunk circle and the trunk itself. However, in spring, snow must be removed in time, and the trunk cover removed.

For Spartan, the winter shelter of the trunk will never be superfluous

Diseases and pests: the main types and solutions to the problem

Spartan does not have any specific pests, and he faces the same diseases as other apple trees, but, fortunately, his resistance to diseases is quite high. However, with insufficiently careful care, the variety sometimes becomes ill with scab and powdery mildew. The greatest risk is in case of excessive overmoistening and poor ventilation of a groomed crown.

  • Scab is the most famous disease of apple trees, which manifests itself in the form of black dots on the fruits. There are varieties that are affected by this ailment very much; Spartan scab attacks only in particularly adverse years. Preventive spraying in early spring minimizes the risk, and only such a relatively non-toxic drug as Bordeaux fluid is required. Ill trees can be treated well with more serious fungicides, for example, Horus or Skor preparations.

    For many varieties of apples, scab is a scourge that takes most of the crop

  • Powdery mildew is manifested, as in other cultures, in the form of white pubescence of leaves. But then this pubescence changes color to brown, the leaves dry out, and the disease can pass on to the fruits. The treatment is simple, for example, Topaz or Strobi preparations are used at any time, except for flowering and the beginning of fruit ripening.

    Powdery mildew weakens trees very much

  • Fruit rot or moniliosis is a disease characteristic of any apple tree, but for Spartan it is not very characteristic, the percentage of affected fruits is usually small. Therefore, spraying is used only in advanced cases; use Skor or Fundazole.

    Moniliosis is especially scary in wet weather

Among the pests are the most famous moth, apple aphid and flower beetle.

  • If there are a lot of it, they will be destroyed by the Aktar drug, but the trouble is that it manifests itself when the apple tree is ready for flowering. Therefore, a harmless and effective way to get rid of it is known to all gardeners: early in the morning, while it is still cold (no higher than 8 ° C), any sheet materials are spread out under the tree and the beetles are shaken with strong blows to the apple tree or energetic rocking of the tree.

    It is better to destroy the flower beetle mechanically

  • Apple green aphids breed throughout the summer, and with a massive invasion, they can suck out so much juice from green shoots that they greatly weaken the tree; cases of complete death of the apple tree are known. If it is known that the aphids are rampant in the area, early winter its wintering eggs are destroyed by spraying the trees with Nitrafen. In summer, they are limited to folk remedies, for example, tobacco infusion with the addition of soap.

    Aphids suck juices from young shoots and they dry out

  • Moths are known to everyone who ate wormy apples. It's a shame to give her a large share of the crop: after all, one butterfly larva (the same “worm”) can damage several fruits. Hunting belts are very effective against the codling moth, it is also important to collect and carry away all the carrion in time. Chlorophos in our time is used only as a last resort.

    Eating an apple behind a codling moth is not very nice

Grade Reviews

Before posting reviews from specialized forums, let me give a few words to the author. More than 20 years ago, I bought an annual sapling of the Northern Sinap. But after a couple of years, red apples grew on it, which initially upset the owner. However, after I managed to try them and see how well the apples are stored, it became clear: this time the sellers were not in vain deceived! Experts have suggested that this is Spartan. The tree brings huge harvests, apples are in the cellar until the summer, everyone really likes. That's just the apple tree systematically freezes. But it turned out to be very viable: next to the missing branches in the same year powerful young shoots grow, very quickly becoming fruit. Twice did not have time to substitute the supports, and huge branches with a crop broke off from the trunk itself. And nothing! He covered the wounds with garden var, and the tree withstood all this. Great variety!

The variety is one of the best in the glorious Macintoshev family. Fragrant, sweet, juicy, very attractive in appearance. Harvested, well kept. True, my apple size is average. Spartan, one of the varieties that you can’t make a mistake with, always lives up to expectations. Since protection from diseases and pests in my garden is mandatory in full, I have no problems with diseases and pests on Spartan.

Apple

Variety Spartan is considered a natural dwarf. Very weak growth, and the rapid onset of fruiting. I have the first fruits already in the second year, in the third it can already be considered what was with the harvest. According to my notes, in freezing weather around -25 there was already freezing, though -25 and with a strong wind. But this affected productivity a little, but the quality improved, or rather, the fruits themselves were especially large. As large as that year, I no longer had this grade. But the frost is about 30 or more, I think it will freeze and very much.

"Woodpecker"

I have Spartan. Crohn's diameter - 5 meters, about the same height. Apples from the apple tree are sweet and sour and hard, but now sweet, not hard. Very good taste. This year some insects dug very small holes and therefore no storage. They generally hang on the apple tree for a long time until you pick it.

Gray-haired

I removed Spartan from myself, as I was tired of constantly fighting with black cancer, although the apples were very tasty (not now, closer to spring).

Valery

The people praise Spartan, which is generally true, but it has insufficient winter hardiness for the Moscow Region and more northern ones.

Vasiliev

Spartan is an old apple-tree variety of the Canadian selection, which, in our country, has been found, unfortunately, by not very many adherents: after all, Russia is a northern state. Perhaps low frost resistance is the only serious drawback of the variety bearing fruitful apples that are stored for a long time and which can be used in any form.

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