For many, the Melba apple is the taste of childhood. It is difficult to forget and cannot be confused with anything. A fragrant, juicy, sweet apple still pleases our children and grandchildren. The lack of a variety in the form of a lack of immunity to scab cannot exclude it from the range of popular ones, despite the abundance of new modern varieties.
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 Nellie Melba. It's hard to say when he came to Russia. The variety was sent for state variety trials in 1940. It was entered into the state register in 1947 under the name Melba. It also had the name Azure, but the name Melba stuck most of all - so we will call it. Late summer or early autumn variety. Zoned in all regions, except for the Northern, Ural and Far Eastern regions.
Winter hardiness of Melba is above average. The wood of a mature tree can withstand temperatures down to -35 ° C. It blooms early, frost resistance of flower buds is relative. Like most old varieties, it is heavily affected by scab. And also susceptible (to a somewhat lesser extent) to powdery mildew disease. Since the variety is self-fertile, for pollination you will need a neighborhood with apple trees:
On the MM-106 rootstock (semi-dwarf medium-sized) it begins to bear fruit in the fourth or fifth year, and by eight to ten years the yield is 40-80 kilograms from each tree. Productivity is periodic.
A tree of medium growth, as a rule, has a height of 3-4 meters. It grows rapidly at a young age, after 8-10 years, growth slows down. The crown is wide-oval, raised, thickened. Skeletal branches are massive, branching off at an angle of 60-80 °. The type of fruiting is mixed, most of the fruits are tied on ringlets. 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 is 3-4 meters high
Fruits are not uniform in size. The average weight is 120-140 grams, but it reaches 300 grams. The shape is correct, round-conical, slightly flattened. The skin is dense, but tender, slightly oily, with a greenish-yellow base color. The integumentary color is orange-red, striped, covering half of the fruit. Small or medium white subcutaneous dots are clearly visible. Very juicy and tender 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's apple has snow-white juicy pulp
According to the State Register, the variety is dessert, but most sources and reviews report its versatility. Melba apples make delicious jams, compotes, dried fruits, juice and even cider. Fruit ripening is not very amicable. 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 ones - a month later. Transportability is average. Shelf life in room conditions is two to three weeks, in a refrigerator - 2-4 months.
While writing this text, I discovered that one of the apple trees growing in my dacha (we bought 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 rootstock. The crown is not thickened - I only perform sanitary pruning. Fortunately, he does not suffer from diseases. In the first year, about twenty kilograms of apples were harvested (the tree seems to be quite young), last year there were only about twenty of them. We expect a good harvest this year. One problem is that the bark at the base of the trunk is damaged. Probably drenched by a large accumulation of snow and its slow melting. The former owners are of advanced age and, apparently, it was difficult for them to remove the snow in time. Grafting with a bridge cannot be applied, since the bark is absent for most of the trunk diameter below the soil level. Well, we will support her as long as she can live. And in the fall, we will definitely purchase a Melba sapling in order to plant this beautiful apple tree next spring.
Early spring is the best time to plant the Melba apple tree. In different regions, the time is chosen from the beginning of March (southern regions) to the end of April and even to mid-May in the northern regions. By the time of planting, the snow should melt and the ground should warm up to + 5-10 ° C. By this time, the buds on the trees had not yet blossomed, but they had already begun to swell. Saplings purchased in the fall are stored in the basement or buried in the ground. They should not wake up by the time of planting - they are planted at rest.
The planting pattern for the most common apple trees on semi-dwarf rootstocks is 3 x 7 m. For backyard and country gardens, the row spacing can be reduced to three meters. A tree on a seed stock will require up to five meters of free space around it.
The place for the apple tree should be chosen in the fall and at the same time a planting pit should be prepared. Since the apple tree has a tendency to damp off the stem, it should not be planted in wetlands or in areas with a close occurrence of groundwater. It is best if the site is located on a small slope in the south or southwest direction. And if from the north or northeast the apple tree is protected from cold winds by tall dense trees or by the wall of a building - this will be ideal. 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 have any special requirements for the composition of the soil, but it will grow better on loams and chernozems. It is important that the soil is loose and well-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, then it is better to increase the depth of the hole 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 on the bottom of the pit. It 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 nutrient mixture of black soil, peat, humus and sand, taken in equal parts. For every ten liters of such a mixture, add 30 grams of superphosphate and one glass of wood ash.
With the onset of a favorable time, they begin to plant the plant in the ground:
Before planting, cornry seedlings are soaked for several hours in water.
Planting a tree is best done together.
Except for the problem of disease susceptibility, Melba is not difficult to grow. Like other apple trees, they water it intensively in the first years of life, maintaining constant moisture (but without waterlogging) 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 picking up the fruit. In late autumn, pre-winter moisture-charging irrigation is carried out.
The composition of the dressings is also not original. Begin to them in 3-4 years after planting. In the spring of every third year, you need to bring 5-7 kg / m for digging2 humus, peat or compost. Every year at the same time, mineral nitrogen fertilizers are applied - urea, ammonium nitrate, nitroammofosk - 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 fall for digging - then, by the next season, phosphorus will be completely absorbed by the plant. Potassium, on the other hand, quickly evaporates and is used directly during the growth of fruits - in June. Make two dressings, first dissolving potassium monophosphate - or potassium sulfate - in water during watering. Consumption - 10-20 g / m2... With abundant fruiting, it is worthwhile in the summer to also support the plant with liquid nitrogen fertilizers. For this, infusions of organic matter 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 with an apple tree. Usually do 2-4 feeding with an interval of two weeks.
Liquid organic fertilizers will perfectly support Melba during fruit ripening
The shape of the apple tree will depend on its growth. A tall apple tree on a seed stock is usually formed according to a sparse-tiered pattern. For medium-sized trees, a bowl-shaped formation is more suitable - it creates favorable conditions for good illumination and ventilation of the crown, provides ease of care and collection of fruits. Low-growing trees on dwarf rootstocks are often grown on trellises. In this case, a palmette-type crown is used. In the harsh climate of Siberia, Melba is often grown in stanza form - it ensures the winter hardiness of the tree under a layer of snow. We will briefly describe each of these methods, having previously noted that all shaping work is carried out in early spring before the buds swell.
This is the most famous and oldest form, described in all gardening textbooks. Perform it like this:
Sparse-tiered crown formation is used for tall Melba apple trees on seed halves
This is a more modern form, but it is already widespread. It is done quite simply:
The shape of the crown is in the form of a bowl, ideal for apple trees on a semi-vigorous rootstock
The crown of my Melba is shaped like a simple bowl. True, by the time the summer cottage was acquired, the apple tree was thoroughly thickened, but I easily corrected this 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 not many of them. Perhaps thinning will be needed next year - but it is absolutely not difficult.
When planting dwarf apple trees, you should simultaneously install trellis posts and pull the rows of wire at intervals of 50-60 centimeters. The formation of apple trees is started immediately after planting.
Apple trees on cardic stock look great on palmette trellis
For such a formation, an annual, easily bending seedling is chosen. The method boils down to the following techniques and steps:
For many regions of Siberia, shale formation of an apple tree is the only possible
In addition to formative pruning, they regularly carry out sanitary 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, which is prone to thickening, cutting out branches that grow inward, up and down, intersecting and interfering with each other.
Slightly unripe apples are harvested for storage. This should be done in dry weather - apples harvested after rain will not be stored. With proper cleaning, they can be stored for up to four months.For this, apples are placed in wooden boxes in 2-3 layers, shifting with paper or shavings of deciduous trees. The fruits should not touch each other. The boxes are placed in refrigerators with an air temperature of -1 ° C to +7 ° C.
Apples are harvested in dry weather
Our family does not have the opportunity to store apples in the basement, but, having two refrigerators, the year before last we managed to keep several dozen Melba apples until the New Year. They lay in the lower drawer for vegetables and fruits.
Scab and powdery mildew are the main enemies of old apple varieties. In our time, when these diseases are widespread, it is impossible to grow Melba without timely and careful implementation of sanitary and preventive measures.
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 the 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 realistic and not difficult.
Not everywhere Melba is sick with scab. Apple trees grown in temperate zones are susceptible to this disease. For its development, a wet and cool spring is needed. The spores of the fungus, overwintering in fallen leaves, actively germinate at a temperature of +20 ° C. They, thanks to the existing mucous membrane, are attached to the underside of the young leaves of the apple tree. After 2-3 weeks, the fungus enters the conidial stage, which causes secondary infection of the crown leaves. At this time, you can easily notice the appearance of light olive spots on the leaves, which turn brown and crack over time. In summer, the fungus spreads to the fruit, where cracks, necrotic spots, and pulp compaction are formed. Unripe fruits stop growing, take on an ugly shape and fall off.
Scab often infects apple trees in damp, cool years.
For the purpose of emergency control, the Strobi drug is best suited - it quickly (within a few hours) stops the development of the disease and blocks its spread, making the spores unviable. The duration of the protective action is up to two weeks, but with a strong infection, it is better to re-treat it after one week. Up to three treatments can be done in total.
Strobe blocks fungus quickly
This is a disease of the southern regions. Where winter temperatures drop below -20 ° C, the pathogen fungus does not survive. Infection usually occurs during the summer. Mycelium spots of various shapes and sizes are formed on the underside of the leaves. Through the petioles, the spores enter the growth buds in which they hibernate. In spring, under favorable conditions, spores germinate and infect young leaves, tips of green shoots, flowers, covering them with a white, mealy bloom. In the future, ovaries and fruits are affected, covered with a rusty mesh, which penetrates into the pulp. Preventive measures and treatments are no different from scab control.
Powdery mildew - a disease of the southern regions
Melba is undoubtedly one of the best summer apples. And the ability to preserve the harvest almost until the New Year gives the variety an additional attractiveness. Modern fungicides will help to overcome the tendency to scab and powdery mildew. This apple is for true connoisseurs of quality.
Hello! My name is Pyotr Vladimirovich. I am 63 years old. By education - a mechanical engineer.
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Apple-tree Melba is a summer variety with medium-sized fruits, white-green hue with a red-striped blush. Ripen in the second decade of August. Melba apples have a delicate pulp with a candy aftertaste of a juicy consistency, white. It is listed in the State Register as Melba.
The plant was obtained in 1898 by specialists from the Ottawa Experimental Station (Canada) as a result of free pollination of the well-known Mekintosh variety. The apple tree got its name in honor of the famous opera singer Nelly Melba. The variety came to the Soviet Union in 1940, successfully passed tests, and already in 1947 it was entered in the State Register as recommended for cultivation in many regions.
Brief information can be obtained from the table:
|Culture||Apple tree (Malus domestica Borkh.)|
|Variety||Melba, also Melba, Azure|
|Tree height||Up to 3 meters|
|Early maturity||Average. Begins fruiting at 4-5 years|
|Fruiting type||Mixed, mainly on ringlets|
|Flowering features||Early. The flowers are large, pink or pinkish-white|
|Self-fertility||Partial. The participation of pollinating varieties is required|
|Fruit shape and color||The apples are round or slightly conical, smooth, sometimes with slight ribbing. The color of the skin is uneven: from greenish-yellow to orange-red with a distinct "striping"|
|Fruit taste||Sweet and sour, with a bright aroma and a light candy aftertaste|
|Fruit weight||From 100 to 160 g (less often up to 200)|
|The yield of an adult plant per season||50-80 kg|
|Fruit consumption period||Summer (late summer). In the middle lane, harvesting begins in mid-August|
|Shelf life of fruits||3-4 months|
|Purpose of fruits||Dessert (universal)|
|Winter hardiness||Average. There is a risk of freezing in the northern regions|
|Disease resistance||Predisposition to scab, leaves are affected by powdery mildew|
|Regions of the Russian Federation, recommended for cultivation||North-West, Central, Volgo-Vyatka, Central black earth, North Caucasian, Middle Volga, Nizhnevolzhsky, West Siberian, East Siberian|
|Year of registration in the State Register of the Russian Federation||1947|
|Originators||Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution "North Caucasian Federal Scientific Center of Horticulture, Viticulture, Winemaking" (Krasnodar), Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution "All-Russian Selection and Technological Institute of Horticulture and Nursery" (Moscow)|
Large white-pink flowers with a delicate aroma attract a large number of pollinating insects
Medium-sized tree: plants formed on a seed stock not higher than 3 m, and on a dwarf - 1.8-2 m... The color of the bark is brown with a rusty tint. The crown is wide, spreading, but reaches its final rounded shape rather slowly, so young seedlings can be easily confused with columnar apple varieties. Early flowering. The flowers are large, the petals are pink or pinkish-white, sometimes with lilac veins. The plant is considered an excellent honey plant and attracts many bees, but is self-fertile only partially. To increase yields, experienced gardeners plant Antonovka, Suslepskoye, Bellefleur-Kitaika or Borovinka apple trees next to Melba, which act as pollinators.
The fruiting period is late summer. In a warm summer, harvesting in central Russia begins in the second half of August.
The fruits are covered with a characteristic bluish-white waxy bloom. On this basis, the variety received a second name - "Azure"
Apples have a regular round or round-conical shape and a slightly curved peduncle of medium length and thickness. Fruit weight usually does not exceed 200 grams... The color of the skin is not uniform: it often happens that half of the apple is greenish-yellow, and the other is red with clear pinkish-white stripes. The rind is dense, but not hard, shiny, oily, covered with a waxy coating. Subcutaneous "grains" are noticeable - small or medium. The funnel is deep, of medium width, without rusting. Seeds are dark brown, oblong-elongated. The pulp is fine-grained, tender, white, of medium density, very juicy and aromatic. The taste is sweetish-sour, with a light hint of caramel. The purpose of the fruit is universal.
In the industrial mode, they are grown mainly for the production of juices, but the owners of private farmsteads make jam, jams, compotes and a wide variety of canned foods from such apples, fruit vinegar and wine are obtained from the juice. Grated or chopped pulp is easily frozen and stored in this form throughout the winter.
Apples are considered dessert, that is, they are intended primarily for fresh consumption, but they are also used for processing, making juices, jams and other preparations
Instances of the Melba apple tree, grown on a seed stock, begin to bear fruit at the age of 4-5 years (dwarfs and semi-dwarfs are more early-ripening). In a good year, up to 80 kg of excellent fruit can be removed from a mature tree. With careful manual collection and proper storage, the fruits preserve their consumer qualities for 3-4 months. In addition, these apples perfectly tolerate transportation, which makes the variety very attractive for those summer residents who want to sell part of their harvest.
Fruit ripening does not occur at the same time, ripe apples crumble, so they need to be removed selectively and carefully
Melba belongs to long-lived plants. With good care, the tree can grow in the garden for 50 years or longer. Truth, after reaching the age of twelve, the apple tree begins to demonstrate the frequency of fruiting (to give crops not every year), but, according to experts, this problem can sometimes be dealt with with the help of regular competent pruning and intensive agricultural technology.
It is early maturing, as it begins to bear fruit as early as 3-4 years. The harvest ripens at the end of summer (in the second half of August). The Melba apple variety can be used both fresh and for any homemade preparations. Due to its good transportability, keeping quality and high quality indicators, it is widely used in industry for the production of juices.
The trees of the Melba apple tree are not tall, which greatly facilitates the harvesting process. The crown has a rounded shape, slightly elongated at the top. The bark on the branches is colored in a light orange tint. The leaves are large, light green, oval in shape and uneven edges. It blooms in white-pink color with an unsurpassed aroma.
Most of the fruits are large in size. Their shape is round, slightly elongated downward and slightly flattened. The weight of one apple can reach 150 g. The color is yellow-green, during the ripening period - with a large red striped blush, which occupies half of the surface of the fruit. The skin is thin with a slight waxy coating. The flesh of the Melba apple is snow-white and very juicy, and the sweet and sour taste has a candy aroma.
Despite the early ripening period, the fruits tolerate transportation well and can be stored for 4-6 months in a cool place (refrigerator or cellar). Young trees of the variety bring a good harvest every year, and the older ones are characterized by periodicity of fruiting (once every two to three years).
In the process of growing an apple tree, gardeners in different regions of the country have questions:
The most favorable time - fall, but many gardeners plant in the spring, fearing the death of the apple tree during the autumn planting, caused by the fact that the apple tree does not have time to take root before the onset of frost.
When planting an apple tree in the spring, it is recommended to prepare the pits in the fall, for autumn planting - a month before the event.
In autumn landing is performed after the end of the fall, in the spring – depending on weather conditions.
The crown is formed by performing sanitary plan cuts, carried out in spring and autumn in accordance with the above scheme of anti-aging pruning, as well as for crown formation:
Remove in autumn damaged branchesthat can break off from the weight of the fruit, dry and diseased branches.
Loamy, fertilized soils and groundwater drainage. The landing site must be protected from the wind, be sunny and open.
Distance between apple trees should be 5-6 meters and 6-8 meters between rows.
However, in each specific case, it is necessary to consider:
General recommendations are: there are no special differences in cultivation.
The only rule is that in places where prolonged frosts are possible, it is necessary to cover the tree and take preventive measures against such a disease as scab.
Which variety is better, every gardener chooses for himself individually depending on the region of residence and personal preferences. Below is a table for comparing these varieties when grown in the Samara region:
|Name||Taste, points||Sugar to acid ratio,%||The beginning of a mature carrion||Picking the last apple||Fruit diameter, mm|
|Melba||4,3||16||August 10||August 31||69|
|Mantet||4,5||16||July 25||August 31||59|
|Candy||4,4||30||5th of August||September 2||65|