An apple a day keeps the doctor away! This saying is actually true. Apple is amongst the commonest fruits grown worldwide. Apples are a part of the apple tree that belongs to the rose family known as Rosaceae. Apples are mostly found natively in Central Asia. However, its parent plant i.e. Malus sieversii, is still found in some parts of the world. Do you know? Europe produces the oldest cultivated apples and these apples were being sent to America by the colonists of Europe. Apple trees grow best in temperate regions. The winter season is ideal for growing apples but they can also be cultivated during summers with medium to high humidity. Generally, apples are widely used in apple cider vinegar which is consumed by most people nowadays. Apple cider vinegar is the most common syrup in Canada and America. During the festive season of Christmas, the Europeans used to serve the apple ale along with some wine to cherish the winter season.
History of the Apple Trees
The largest apple cultivator in the world is China. This is because, during the year 2011, China produced almost 35 million tonnes of apples which was half of the apple production throughout the world. Talking about the other countries, the USA produces 4.8 million tonnes of apples while India cultivates 2.8 million tonnes of apples every year. A 2014 research report shows that the largest apple explorer was in the USA earning a gross amount of $1,088,369,000. To grow an apple, the farmers use the grafting system in which the size of the tree is determined by the rootstock. The apple trees are grown using a ‘scion’– a grafted branch of the apple tree.
Scientific Classification of the Apple Tree
The kingdom of the apple tree is Plantae. Apple belongs to a clade of Tracheophytes, Angiosperms, Eudicots, and Rosids. The order and the family of the Apple tree are known as Rosales and Rosaceae, respectively. The genus of the tree is regarded as Malus and the species of the apple tree is Domestica. The binomial name of the apple tree is called as Malus Domestica.
Apple Tree Root System
A taproot of an apple tree develops when the seed germinates, anchoring the crop in the soil. After several years of implantation, the embryonic taproot expires and the root structure evolves to a fibrous root system only having a few vertical, strong anchoring roots. There is no discernible taproot in this tangle of roots.
What are the Types of Roots in an Apple Tree?
The apple tree root system generally involves two classes of roots: the Taproot and the Fibrous root. We will study another root as well known as the feeder roots in the apple tree root system.
The trees of the apple root system consist of some deep taproots that penetrate deeply into the soil. During the scarcity of nutrients and in the time of drought season, these deep roots can take up the moisture reserves from within the soil and sustain the plant for its better growth. They also help to secure the tree to the soil in the event of severe weather, such as storms. A full-sized normal rootstock may produce a vertical root approximately 20 feet underground in three years with perfect soil and humidity parameters.
In an Apple tree, the fibrous roots grow horizontally and radically from the deep taproots and spread into the soil in every direction possible. They tend to spread in order to obtain moisture and nutrients from the soil. The fibrous roots are found near the soil within the 3 feet of distance.
Feeder roots emerge from fibrous roots and hit the topmost few millimeters of the underlying soil. The apple tree’s feeder roots generally compete with adjacent plants and turf for moisture and nutrients. The feeder roots are in charge of absorbing the majority of the oxygen, water, and minerals from the soil.
How do the Roots of the Apple Tree Function?
During the springtime, summers, fall, and winters, apple tree roots maintain a season-specific pattern of development. Deep taproot and lateral fibrous roots, as well as tiny feeder roots, comprise these roots. The apple tree’s taproot system is similar to that of carrots, which are also taproots. The spreading of the apple tree’s branching fibrous roots is roughly double its canopy. However, favorable soil conditions limit the spread. Fine feeder roots emerge from the fibrous lateral roots to absorb nutrients from adjacent surfaces. The taproot can access deep moisture reserves to keep the tree alive during harsh climate conditions, such as drought.
How do the Apple Trees Grow in Different Seasons?
The roots of the apple tree grow very rapidly during the springtime. Both the feeder and fibrous roots tend to spread and take up all the vital water and minerals to help in the budding of the apple tree. However, post budding their growth decreases. After taking all the nutrients and minerals from the soil, the apple tree transports them to the buds, fruits, and leaves of the plant. But, a newly grown apple tree does not transport nutrients to the fruits and leaves and they also do not bear any fruits. The apple tree focuses entirely on establishing a healthy root system.
During the summer season, the apple tree roots are busy transporting water and minerals to the fruits. Hence, their roots do not develop properly. Moreover, those apple trees do not possess a well-established root system because the roots are stressed during summers. Not only the summer heat, but the excess weight of the apples tend to put pressure on the tree and on the root system as well.
Just after the harvest season, the trees of the apple begin the dormancy process. In the dormancy period, many feeder roots of the apple tree begin to die and the lateral fibrous roots tend to grow by using the stored energy inside the apple tree. One good thing about the fall season is that it anchors the plant well by developing a good root system.
The fibrous roots that began to sprout after the harvest keep growing until the soil temperature reaches a comfortable temperature, while the majority of the apple tree goes dormant. The root system continues to grow slowly but steadily until the surface freezes. The benefit of root development in the winter is that it is free of interference from some of the other vegetation and turfgrass.
Varieties of an Apple Tree
Apple trees are commonly grown from seedlings or by grafting (attaching a section of an established tree to a rootstock to create a new tree). One advantage of grafting trees is that they produce fruit far more rapidly than seedlings; in fact, you can acquire a tree that yields fruit the first year using grafted trees. Apple trees come in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as:
- Honeycrisp Apple Trees
- Gala Apple Trees
- Fuji Apple Trees
- Red Delicious Apple Trees
- Pink Lady Apple Trees
- Granny Smith Apple Trees
- Golden Delicious Apple Trees
- McIntosh Apple Trees
Diseases Associated with the Apple Trees
While apple trees are extremely hardy, they are susceptible to a few diseases. A healthy tree is the finest defense. Appropriate soil conditions, suitable water levels, and fertilization can all aid in the growth of your trees.
Here are a few diseases to keep away from:
Fire blight is a bacterium disease that leads the tree’s branches to turn black, providing them a burnt appearance, and finally kills it. You can either choose trees that are naturally resistant to the disease or remove diseased branches from the tree to manage the blight.
Powdery mildew affects apple trees’ leaves and fruits. It’s a whitish fungus that grows on the foliage, fruits, and flowers of plants. It will ultimately cause the tree’s condition to deteriorate if left unchecked. Put a fungicide to the tree in springtime, whilst the leaves are beginning to break out, to help suppress the disease.
The fungus apple scab causes dark soot-like patches on the foliage. This disease primarily affects fresh leaves in the springtime, when circumstances are damp. It can, nevertheless, harm mature leaves in May and early June. The fungus shows on the leaves as dark velvety patches. As a consequence, the leaves begin turning yellow and fall off. You could either choose disease-resistant apples or use pesticides and herbicides as the leaves emerge in the spring to prevent the illness.
Cedar Apple Rust
Cedar apple rust is a fungal infection that causes rusty streaks on the tree’s leaves. Juniper, Cedar, and Apple Trees are all susceptible to this disease. In late spring, once this fungus affects Apple Trees, the leaves grow little yellow dots. Both leaves and fruits will fall off the tree sooner as the tree gets increasingly stressed. Once a tree has been infected with Cedar Apple Rust, it is impossible to eradicate it.
Factors Affecting Root Growth of the Apple
Soil composition, moisture, and nutrient content all influence root growth. Apple root growth is also influenced by interference from other plants’ roots and turfgrass. That’s why mulching the bottom of young apple trees is critical in the effort to keep water and reduce shallow-rooted turf and weeds from growing around at the apple tree and robbing nutrients from the feeder roots. Otherwise, the apple tree’s expansion will be stunted during the critical first several years of root growth.
Are Apple Tree Roots Invasive?
- Apple trees grow twice as large as a canopy. These trees do not compete for getting enough oxygen, water, and nutrients.
- Apple tree roots extend to locations that retain nutrients and water, reaching varied depths and lateral sides based on the kind of rootstock, soil, and climate.
- Apple trees, on the other hand, are neither intrusive nor aggressive, and they lack the power to harm housing foundations or infiltrate sewer systems.