Melba is a great summer apple tree

For many, the Melba apple is a taste of childhood. It is difficult to forget and cannot be confused with anything. A fragrant, juicy, sweet apple and now pleases our children and grandchildren. The lack of variety in the form of a lack of immunity to scab cannot exclude it from the cage in demand, despite the abundance of new modern varieties.

Grade description

The variety was obtained in 1898 at the Central Experimental Station of the Canadian state of Ottawa and was named Melba in honor of the then-famous Australian singer Nelly Melba. It is hard to say when he came to Russia. The variety was sent to state variety testing in 1940. It was entered in the state registry in 1947 under the name Melba. I also had the name Azure, but the name Melba has taken root most of all - we will call it that. The variety is late summer or early autumn. Zoned in all regions except the Northern, Ural and Far Eastern.

Melba's winter hardiness is above average. Mature wood can withstand frosts down to -35 ° C. Blooms in the early stages, frost resistance of flower buds is relative. Like most old varieties, it is very affected by scab. And also susceptible (to a slightly lesser extent) to powdery mildew. Since the variety is self-fertile, for pollination, you will need a neighborhood with apple trees:

  • Stark Erliest;
  • Vista Bell;
  • Papier
  • Welsey;
  • James Greve
  • Antonovka;
  • Suslepskoe.

On a stock MM-106 (semi-dwarf middle-sized), it begins to bear fruit in the fourth to fifth year, and by eight to ten years, the yield is 40-80 kilograms per tree. Productivity is periodic.

A tree of medium height, as a rule, has a height of 3-4 meters. It grows rapidly at a young age, after 8-10 years, growth slows down. Crohn broadly oval, raised, thickened. Skeletal branches are massive, extending at an angle of 60-80 °. Type of fruiting - mixed, most of the fruits are tied on gloves. The period of active fruiting of Melba on dwarf rootstocks is 10-15 years, on semi-dwarf rootstocks - 20 years. Tall centenarians reach the age of 40–55 years.

Melba tree has a height of 3-4 meters

The fruits are heterogeneous in size. The average weight is 120-140 grams, but reaches 300 grams. The form is regular, round-conical, slightly flattened. The skin is dense, but tender, slightly oily, with a greenish-yellow basic color. The integumentary coloration is orange-red, striped, covering half of the fruit. Small or medium subcutaneous points of white color are clearly visible. Very juicy and delicate pulp with a fine-grained structure and medium density. The taste is excellent, sour-sweet, with caramel spice and aroma. Tasting score - 4.5-4.7 points.

Melba apple has white, juicy flesh

According to the State Register, the variety is dessert, but in most sources and reviews its universality is reported. Melba apples make delicious jam, compotes, dried fruits, juice and even cider. Ripening is not too friendly. Harvesting should not be postponed, as ripe apples quickly crumble. In the southern regions, apples are harvested in the first decade of August, in the northern regions - a month later. Transportability is average. Shelf life in the room - two to three weeks, in the refrigerator - 2-4 months.

When writing this text, I found that one of the apple trees growing in my country house (we acquired it two years ago) is Melba. According to the description of the State Register, everything converges. My wife and I really like the taste of this apple. She is small in height - about three meters. There is a semi-dwarf stock. The crown is not thickened - I perform only sanitary scraps. Fortunately, he does not suffer from diseases. In the first year, they collected about twenty kilograms of apples (the tree seems to be quite young), last year there were only about twenty. We expect a good harvest this year. One trouble is that the bark at the base of the stem is damaged. Probably wet with a large accumulation of snow and its slow melting. Former owners have an advanced age and, apparently, it was difficult for them to clear snow in time. Bridge grafting cannot be used, since the bark on most of the trunk diameter is absent below the soil level. Well, we will support her as long as she can survive. And in the fall we’ll definitely buy Melba’s sapling in order to plant this beautiful apple tree next spring.

Video: Melba apple tree review

Planting of Melba apple tree in spring

Early spring is the best time to plant the Melba apple tree. In different regions, they choose the time from the beginning of March (southern regions) to the end of April and even until mid-May in the northern regions. By the time of planting, snow should have melted and the ground should warm up to + 5-10 ° C. The buds on the trees by this time had not yet blossomed, but had already begun to swell. Seedlings purchased in the fall are stored in the basement or buried in the ground. They should not wake up at the time of landing - they are planted at rest.

The planting plan for the most common apple trees on semi-dwarf rootstocks is 3 x 7 m. For backyard and summer cottage gardens, aisles can be completely reduced to three meters. A tree on a seed stock requires around five meters of free space around itself.

The place for the apple tree should be chosen in the fall and then the landing pit is prepared. Since the apple tree is prone to boiling out the stem, you can not plant it in wetlands or in areas with close occurrence of groundwater. It is best if the site is located on a small slope of the south or south-west direction. And if from the north or northeast the apple tree will be protected from cold winds by tall thick trees or a wall of the building - this would be an ideal option. The distance from buildings and other trees should not be less than five meters, since the apple tree does not like shade. Melba does not impose special requirements on the composition of the soil, but it will be better to grow on loams and chernozems. It is important that the soil is loose and drained.

The dimensions of the landing pit are usually as follows: diameter - one meter, depth - 60-70 centimeters. If the soil is poor or heavy, it is better to increase the depth of the pit to one meter, and the diameter to one and a half meters. On heavy clay soils, a drainage layer 10-15 centimeters thick is laid at the bottom of the pit. This can be pebbles, crushed stone, broken brick, etc. On sandy, marl soils, a layer of clay is laid on the bottom of the pit to retain moisture. The pit is filled with a nutritious mixture of chernozem, peat, humus and sand, taken in equal parts. For every ten liters of such a mixture, 30 grams of superphosphate and one glass of wood ash are added.

Step-by-step instructions for planting an apple tree

With the onset of favorable time, they begin to plant the plants in the ground:

  1. They take out a seedling and soak its roots in water for several hours.

    Before planting cornry seedlings are soaked for several hours in water

  2. A certain amount of soil is extracted from the landing pit so that the resulting hole can freely accommodate the root system of the seedling.
  3. A small mound is poured in the center of the hole.
  4. At a distance of 10-15 centimeters from the center, a wooden stake 1-1.2 m high above the soil level is hammered.
  5. The seedling is removed from the water and its roots are fluffed with Kornevin or Heteroauxin powder.
  6. Place the seedling with the root neck on the mound, straighten the roots and begin to backfill them. Together, this will be much more convenient.
  7. They fill up the hole completely, periodically compacting the earth. At this time, you need to ensure that the root neck is at the level of the soil.
  8. Tie the trunk of the plant to the peg with a soft ribbon.
  9. Using a chopper or a plane cutter, a near-stem circle is formed along the diameter of the landing pit.
  10. Water the soil with plenty of water so that no air sinuses remain in the root zone.

    Tree planting is best done together

  11. After absorbing water, water the tree with a solution of five grams of Kornevin in five liters of water.
  12. The central conductor is cut to a height of 0.8-1.0 m, and the branches are shortened by 20-30%.
  13. After 2-3 days, the soil is loosened and mulched with hay, straw, compost, etc.

Features of cultivation and subtleties of care

With the exception of problems with disease susceptibility, growing Melba is not difficult. Like other apple trees, they water it intensely in the first years of life, maintaining constant moisture (but without swamping) of the soil during the season. After reaching the age of 5-6 years, watering is reduced to one per month. Stop them 2-3 weeks before eating the fruit. In late autumn, pre-winter water-loading irrigation is carried out.

The composition of the dressings is also not original. Approach them 3-4 years after planting. In the spring of every third year, 5-7 kg / m2 of humus, peat or compost should be brought under a dig. Annually at the same time, mineral nitrogen fertilizers are applied - urea, ammonium nitrate, nitroammophos - at the rate of 30–40 g / m2. During flowering, it is useful to spray the crown with a solution of boric acid (2 g per 10 liters of water) - this increases the number of ovaries. Phosphorus and potassium are required for fruit growth. Due to its insolubility, superphosphate is introduced in the autumn for digging - then by the next season phosphorus will be completely absorbed by the plant. Potassium, on the contrary, quickly disappears and is used directly during fruit growth - in June. Two top dressings are done, previously dissolving potassium monophosphate - or potassium sulfate - in water when watering. Consumption - 10-20 g / m2. With abundant fruiting, it is also worth supporting the plant with liquid nitrogen fertilizing in the summer. To do this, organic infusions in water are usually used: mullein 2 to 10, bird droppings 1 to 10 or fresh grass 1 to 2. The concentrate that has been infused for a week is diluted with water in a ratio of 1 to 10 and watered. Usually do 2–4 top dressings with an interval of two weeks.

Liquid organic fertilizers will perfectly support Melba during the ripening period.

How to prune the Melba apple tree

The formation of the apple tree will depend on its growth. A tall apple tree on a seed stock is usually formed according to a sparse-tier scheme. Medium-sized trees are more suitable for a cup-shaped formation - it creates favorable conditions for good lighting and ventilation of the crown, provides ease of care and fruit collection. Low-growing trees on dwarf rootstocks are often grown on trellises. In this case, the formation of the crown according to the type of palmette is used. In the harsh climate of Siberia, Melba is often grown in shale form - it provides winter hardiness of a tree under a layer of snow. We briefly describe each of these methods, after noting that all the shaping work is done in early spring before the kidneys swell.

Step-by-step instructions for sparse-tier crown formation

This is the most famous and oldest form described in all gardening textbooks. Perform it like this:

  1. A year after planting, the first tier of skeletal branches is formed. To do this, choose 2-3 multidirectional branches growing with an interval of 20-25 centimeters. Cut them off by 20-30%.
  2. All other branches on the trunk are cut "to the ring."
  3. The central conductor is cut at a height of 20-30 centimeters above the upper skeletal branch.
  4. After one or two years, the second tier of skeletal branches is formed in the same way.
  5. On the branches of the first tier lay one at a time - two branches of the second order, the rest are cut "into a ring."
  6. After another one or two years, the third tier of skeletal branches is formed, after which the central conductor is cut out above the base of the upper branch.

    The sparse-tier formation of the crown is used for the tall Melba apple tree on the seed half

Step-by-step instruction of the cup-shaped crown formation

This is a more modern form, but it is already widespread. It is performed quite simply:

  1. One to two years after planting, choose 3-4 future skeletal branches. They can be on the same level — in the case of formation by the type of a simple bowl — or grow with an interval of 15–25 centimeters — when formed by the type of an improved bowl.
  2. These branches are cut by 20-30%, and all the rest are cut completely.
  3. The central conductor is cut above the base of the upper branch.
  4. In the future, you can form on the skeletal branches one or two branches of the second order.
  5. It is always necessary to ensure that the skeletal branches grow with the same strength and do not get ahead of each other. Otherwise, any of the branches can assume the role of a central conductor, which violates the principle of formation of this type.

    The crown shape in the shape of a bowl is ideal for an apple tree on a semi-chubby rootstock

The crown of my Melba is shaped like a simple bowl. True, by the time of the purchase of the summer cottage, the apple tree was thoroughly thickened, but I easily corrected it already in the very first spring. By the second spring, the need for thinning had already disappeared. In the fall I cut out some dry branches, but there were few of them. Thinning may be needed next year - but it is absolutely not difficult.

Step-by-step instruction of forming in the form of palmettes

When planting dwarf apple trees at the same time, you should install poles for trellis and pull the rows of wire with an interval of 50-60 centimeters. Apple trees are formed immediately after planting.

  1. On the trunk, choose twigs or growth buds located in the trellis plane. There should be from eight to twelve.
  2. Twigs shorten to 20-30 centimeters.
  3. All other branches are cut "into a ring", and growth buds are blinded.
  4. In subsequent years, the branches are unbent and tied to the trellis so that the lower ones have an angle of inclination of 45–55 °, and the upper - 60–80 °.
  5. The central conductor is cut annually so that its height does not exceed 60-70 centimeters above the base of the upper branch.
  6. All unnecessary and competing branches are periodically deleted.
  7. Fouling branches are left with an interval of 15-20 centimeters. They do not tie up and do not bend - they must grow freely.

    Apple trees on cardiac stocks look great on trellises in the form of palmettes

Step-by-step instructions for the stlan formation of the crown

For such a formation, an annual, easily bent, seedling is chosen. The method boils down to the following techniques and steps:

  1. When planting, the seedling is placed vertically or slightly obliquely - up to 45 °.
  2. In June, the trunk is bent to a horizontal position and pinned in this position by hooks to the ground. The ram should remain in a vertical or inclined position.
  3. After this, in the first year, a top on the top of the stem can grow. Perhaps this will happen in the second year. When the top reaches a length of 25-30 centimeters, it is bent in the opposite direction and pinned, laying the second shoulder of the stanza.
  4. In two or three years, both arms will be formed, after which they are shortened by 20-30% to induce branching.
  5. Subsequently, skeletal branches of the first order are formed from strong shoots with an interval of 30-40 centimeters. The lower shoots are cut “into a ring”, the upper shoots are pinched over the third - fourth leaf in order to form fruit formations.
  6. Culling and pruning is carried out regularly throughout the life of the tree.

    For many regions of Siberia, the stane formation of the apple tree is the only possible

Other types of crown trim

In addition to forming pruning, sanitary is regularly carried out by removing dry and diseased shoots. This is done in late autumn after the end of sap flow. And also in early spring it is necessary to thin out the crown of Melba, prone to thickening, by cutting branches growing inward, up and down, intersecting and interfering with each other.

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Harvesting and storage

For storage, slightly ripened apples are collected. This should be done in dry weather - apples collected after rain will not be stored. With proper cleaning, they can be stored for up to four months. To do this, apples are placed in wooden boxes in 2-3 layers, shifting paper or shavings of deciduous trees. The fruits should not touch each other. Boxes are placed in refrigerators with air temperatures from -1 ° C to +7 ° C.

Apples are harvested in dry weather.

In our family there is no way to store apples in the basement, but with two refrigerators, the year before last we managed to save several dozen Melba apples until the New Year. They lay in the bottom drawer for fruits and vegetables.

Diseases and Pests

Scab and powdery mildew are the main enemy of old varieties of apple trees. Nowadays, when these diseases are widespread, it is impossible to grow Melba without timely and thorough implementation of sanitary and preventive measures.

Table: Sanitary and preventive measures against diseases and pests of apple trees

EventsWhat and how doThe timingAchieved effect
Collection and burning of fallen leaves Autumn after leaf fall Destruction of wintering in leaves, spores of pathogens of fungal diseases (scab, powdery mildew, etc.). And also various harmful insects are destroyed - weevils, caterpillars, etc.
Sanitary pruning and burning of remote branches
Deep digging of the soil of tree trunks with a flip of layers of earthLate autumn, before frostInsects wintering in the upper layers of the soil rise to the surface, where they die from frost
Examination and treatment of barkIf cracks and damage are found, they should be cut to healthy wood, disinfected with 1% solution of copper sulfate and apply a protective layer of garden varnish FallPrevention of the formation of hollows, black cancer, homosis, cytosporosis
Whitewashing trunks and skeletal branchesApply a solution of slaked lime with the addition of 1% copper sulfate and PVA glue, as well as special garden paintsBark disinfection, sunburn prevention
Processing of crown and soil with 3% solution of copper sulfateLate fall, early spring Prevention of fungal diseases and pests
Spraying the crown with solutions of potent herbicides. DNOC - once every three years, Nitrafen - in other years. Early spring
Installation of hunting beltsAt a height of 40-50 centimeters above ground level, a belt made from improvised materials is installed on the apple tree trunkCreating obstacles for insect pests - flower beetles, caterpillars, ants, etc., to hit the crown of the apple tree.
Fungicide spray Before flowering, they are treated with Horus, during flowering - with Embrelia, in the fruit setting phase - with Skor. During the entire growing season, Fitosporin-M is used. The processing intervals are two weeks, in rainy weather - one week. All fungicides, except Fitosporin, are addictive and use of drugs with the same active substance more than three times per season is ineffective.Prevention and treatment of fungal diseases, including scab and powdery mildew
Insecticide spraying Before flowering, they are treated with Decis, after flowering - Fufanon, Commander, SparkPest Prevention

The main diseases of the apple tree Melba

Of course, we will talk about scab and powdery mildew.

As I wrote above, my Melba is not sick with scab or powdery mildew. It grows in a very successful, well-lit and ventilated place, protected from the winds by the wall of a country house. And besides, I very carefully follow the rules of prevention and sanitation, which I mentioned above. So I can safely say - to grow Melba with timely observance of simple rules is quite real and not difficult.

Scab of apple trees

Not everywhere Melba is sick with scab. This disease affects apple trees grown in temperate zones. For its development, you need a wet and cool spring. Fungal spores wintering in fallen leaves actively germinate at a temperature of +20 ° C. They, due to the existing mucous membrane, attach to the underside of the young leaves of the apple tree. After 2-3 weeks, the fungus passes into the conidial stage, which causes secondary infection of the crown leaves. At this time, you can already easily notice the appearance on the leaves of light olive spots, which eventually turn brown and crack. In summer, the fungus passes to the fruits, where cracks, necrotic spots, and pulp seals form. Unripe fruits stop growing, take an ugly shape and fall off.

Scab often infects apple trees in wet, cool years.

For emergency fighting, the Strobi drug is best suited - it quickly (within a few hours) stops the development of the disease and blocks its spread, making spores unviable. The duration of the protective action is up to two weeks, but with severe infection, re-treatment is best done after one week. In total, up to three treatments can be done.

Strobi quickly blocks the fungus

Powdery mildew

This is a disease of the southern regions. Where winter temperatures drop below -20 ° C, the pathogen does not survive. Infection usually occurs in the summer. On the underside of the leaves, mycelium spots of various shapes and sizes form. Through petioles, spores enter the growth buds in which they winter. In the spring, under favorable conditions, spores germinate and affect young leaves, the tips of green shoots, flowers, covering them with a white, powdery coating. In the future, the ovaries and fruits are affected, covered with a rusty mesh that penetrates the flesh. Preventive measures and treatment methods do not differ from methods for combating scab.

Powdery mildew - a disease of the southern regions

Table: probable pests of Melba apple tree

PestsHow do they lookHarmMethods of control and prevention
Apple mothLight brown night butterfly 2-3 cm longFrom the eggs laid in the upper tiers of the crown, caterpillars crawl out. They immediately penetrate into unripe apples, where they feed on seeds. As a result, the fruits fall off. With the defeat of ripened fruits, they become worms - now they can only be used for processing.Before and after flowering, the crown is treated with Decis, Fufanon.
Apple BlossomThis is a small weevil beetle - 2-3 mm. Winters in the soil of near-stem circles, and in early spring creeps out and rises to the crown.Females gnaw the base of the buds and lay one egg each. Creeping out of them, the larvae eat the bud from the inside, after which it will not bloom.Hunting belts effectively prevent beetles from reaching the crown. Insecticide treatments reinforce success.
ShieldAn insect up to one and a half millimeters long is hidden on the cortex under shields up to three millimeters long.It feeds on the juice of bark, leaves and fruitsIf a pest is found, the bark is cleaned with metal brushes, and then it is washed with a solution of laundry soap and soda. In some cases, affected branches are cut out and burned.
Gall aphidAphids can be found inside twisted young leaves and on the tips of young shootsIt feeds on the juice of leaves, shoots, in some years, the defeat reaches 50%Since ants carry aphids on the crown, installing hunting belts will prevent the problem. Insecticide treatments are effective after removing twisted leaves.

Photo gallery: probable pests of apple trees

Apple moth can significantly spoil the crop

Flower beetle larva eats a flower from the inside

The shield is well camouflaged on the bark of branches

Affected by the gall aphid, the leaves of the apple tree curl up and turn red

Grade Reviews

Under Peter, Melba grows very poorly. Planted several times, only one survived to fruiting, but still died the next year. And the rest did not even live to bear fruit.


I have Melba growing, it tastes good and is not bad in storage (relative to Papiroka, which does not lie at all). But Melba is greatly affected by scab and black cancer. Medunitsa is growing up, has not yet borne fruit, but I want to leave her instead of Melba.

Elena Akentieva

By taste, I think that these varieties of apples are worth each other! When used, you get complete pleasure! Shelf life, I think, is also about the same with good storage in small quantities in the refrigerator until November! (ate in the 20s). But things are different in leaving! If Medunitsa is a winter-hardy and disease-resistant variety (which does not require additional care for treating trees with chemicals), then Melba is frankly weak in this regard! I’ve been struggling with scab and fruit rot for several years, and it’s too early to think about victory over diseases! Any rainy summer and sore story repeats !! Yes, and we also need to remember, after all, Medunitsa is our variety, bred by Isaev, and Melba was not bred from us!


An apple tree of the Melba variety has been growing in our country for 40 years, and still pleases us with the harvest. True, it bears fruit only after a year (this variety has a pronounced periodicity of fruiting), but apples are so tasty and fragrant that new modern varieties simply cannot be compared with them.

Olga1971 [75K]

Pluses: Delicious apples. Variety Melba has established itself in time. Disadvantages: Affected by scab For a long time, my grandfather in the garden, there were two apple trees. Precisely varieties "Melba". Since childhood, I was in love with the taste of these apples. They, apples, are small, very juicy, and quite sweet. The Melba variety is very good for squeezing juices. Grandfather always made juice from this variety, although there were a lot of apple trees in the garden. Four years ago, I decided to set up a small kindergarten already at my site. I chose varieties, and, of course, did not forget about Melba. I bought two seedlings produced by the Michurinsky Saplings company. Melba seedlings were three years old. Good quality, there is a method how to determine it. The leaves of the seedlings (I planted in autumn) should not be wilted, and there should be no dirt on the trunk of the seedlings, and there should be a fluff. Such a bluish fluff. I planted Melba in pits with a diameter of 1 meter and a depth of about 70-80 cm. Unfortunately, only one Melba took root, more precisely, both seedlings took root, but in the spring of the second year one apple tree was eaten by voles (they like to nibble the root system) so fight with a vole in advance. Here in the fourth year (Melbe total seven years) the apple tree bloomed for the first time. Got some small apples. The taste I'll tell you is just excellent. And really it turned out to be Melba, and not some wild creature. So I advise both the variety and the company of the supplier. I will make a reservation that the region is Moscow Region.


Undoubtedly, Melba is one of the best summer apples. And the ability to keep the crop almost until the New Year gives the variety an additional appeal. To overcome the penchant for scab and powdery mildew will help modern fungicides. This apple is for true connoisseurs of quality.


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