Standard Apple Varieties
Traditional apple varieties (Table 4.2) also can be grown in the home orchard. The varieties listed in the table were selected for their popularity and availability. Some of the newer varieties such as Gala, Fuji, or Jonagold are especially valued because of their fruit quality. When choosing these varieties, the orchardist should be aware that a more intensive pesticide program must be followed to obtain marketable fruit.
Some apple varieties such as Red Delicious and Golden Delicious also are available in various strains. A strain is a mutation of a certain variety that has been selected and propagated for an improved characteristic. A strain might differ in fruit characteristics, growth characteristics, or both. Some varieties have many strains; for example, approximately 250 different strains of Red Delicious have been described and cultivated.
The most common strain difference that the backyard grower should be concerned about is spur strains versus nonspur strains. Spur-type growth is more compact since fruit spurs and leaf buds are closer than those on nonspur trees. On spur types, two-year-old wood will usually form fruit buds rather than develop side shoots. As a general rule of thumb, spur strains of a given variety will result in trees only about 60 to 70 percent as large as the nonspur types of that variety. Because of their compact form of growth, spur types are ideally suited for home gardeners with limited space.