Habitats, Ecosystems and Origins
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apples grow on small, deciduous trees. The tree originated in Western Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have been present in the mythology and religions of many cultures, including Norse, Greek and Christian traditions. In 2010, the fruit's genome was decoded, leading to new understandings of disease control and selective breeding in apple production.
The wild ancestors of Malus domestica are Malus sieversii, found growing wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang, China, and possibly also Malus sylvestris.
The apple forms a tree that is small and deciduous, reaching 3 to 12 metres (9.8 to 39 ft) tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown. The leaves are alternately arranged simple ovals 5 to 12 cm long and 3?6 centimetres (1.2?2.4 in) broad on a 2 to 5 centimetres (0.79 to 2.0 in) petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside. Blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves. The flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petaled, and 2.5 to 3.5 centimetres (0.98 to 1.4 in) in diameter. The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically 5 to 9 centimetres (2.0 to 3.5 in) in diameter. The center of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds, called pips.
There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples.Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.Different cultivars are available for temperate and subtropical climates. One large collection of over 2,100 apple cultivars is housed at the National Fruit Collection in England. Most of these cultivars are bred for eating fresh (dessert apples), though some are cultivated specifically for cooking (cooking apples) or producing cider. Cider apples are typically too tart and astringent to eat fresh, but they give the beverage a rich flavour that dessert apples cannot.
Grow from - seed, cutting, graft, etc Pre-treatment Conditions
Pests and Diseases
A wide range of pests and diseases can affect the plant; three of the more common diseases/pests are mildew, aphids and apple scab. Mildew: which is characterized by light grey powdery patches appearing on the leaves, shoots and flowers, normally in spring. The flowers will turn a creamy yellow colour and will not develop correctly. This can be treated in a manner not dissimilar from treating Botrytis; eliminating the conditions which caused the disease in the first place and burning the infected plants are among the recommended actions to take. Aphids: There are five species of aphids commonly found on apples: apple grain aphid, rosy apple aphid, apple aphid, spirea aphid and the woolly apple aphid. The aphid species can be identified by their colour, the time of year when they are present and by differences in the cornicles, which are small paired projections from the rear of aphids. Aphids feed on foliage using needle-like mouth parts to suck out plant juices. When present in high numbers, certain species reduce tree growth and vigor. Apple scab: Apple scab causes leaves to develop olive-brown spots with a velvety texture that later turn brown and become cork-like in texture. The disease also affects the fruit, which also develops similar brown spots with velvety or cork-like textures. Apple scab is spread through fungus growing in old apple leaves on the ground and spreads during warm spring weather to infect the new year's growth. Among the most serious disease problems are fireblight, a bacterial disease; and Gymnosporangium rust, and black spot, two fungal diseases. Codling moths and apple maggots are two other pests which affect apple trees. Young apple trees are also prone to mammal pests like mice and deer, which feed on the soft bark of the trees, especially in winter.
Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock. Some cultivars, if left unpruned, will grow very large, which allows them to bear much more fruit, but makes harvesting very difficult. Mature trees typically bear 40?200 kilograms (88?440 lb) of apples each year, though productivity can be close to zero in poor years. Apples are harvested using three-point ladders that are designed to fit amongst the branches. Dwarf trees will bear about 10?80 kilograms (22?180 lb) of fruit per year
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