August’s Tree of the Month – The Common Apple Tree (malus pumila)
The common apple tree is a member of the rose family. It is native to western Asia and it spread to Europe in ancient times by traders. It was introduced to the Americas in the 18th Century.
Priory Press has picked the common apple tree because now is the optimum time to go apple picking. And we love apples. The wood itself is of little use to a paper mill or a printer because of it’s unsuitable grain, but it’s fruit is. Who doesn’t eat apples with enjoyment?
The common apple tree has scaly bark that ranges in colours from pink-brown to grey-brown. The leaves of the tree are oval, flat and broad with toothed edges. Leaves are generally 5 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. At full maturity trees can measure up to 25 feet tall. In the spring the tree produces blossom. The apples reach ripeness in the late summer to early autumn.
The fruit from the common apple tree can be used for jams, pies, cider and other food products. The wood is used to make small pieces of furniture and wood art. The tree also provides food stores and shelter for wildlife of all kinds.
Photos by Will Cook
- The Common Apple tree has scaly bark that ranges in color from pink-brown to gray-brown. The leaves of the tree are oval, flat and broad with toothed edges. Leaves can grow to be 5 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Mature trees range in height from 15 to 25 feet with canopy spreads that can reach 25 feet. Tree trunk diameters on mature trees are commonly around 24 inches. In the spring the tree produces white blossoms that have five petals. These blossoms are often tinged with pink. The tree develops fruit in the summer which can be red, yellow or green. The fruit reaches ripeness in the fall.
- The tree prefers to grow in full sunlight and can thrive in most any soil type as long as it is moist and well draining. Because most apple trees do not self-pollinate, two or more trees of different species should be planted together so the trees will bear fruit. Planting different species of trees that have similar blooming times will provide healthier, more abundant fruit.