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MALUS domestica 'Cortland'

Image of Malus domestica 'Cortland'

James Keith

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Name

MALUS domestica 'Cortland'

Plant Common Name

Apple, Cortland Apple, Red Eating Apple

General Description

This classic, old-time apple is still one of the most popular in United States production. Bred at Cornell University in 1915 as a hybrid between ‘Ben Davis’ and ‘McIntosh’, its medium-sized fruits are red with yellow-green undertones. The flesh within is super sweet and crispy, especially if eaten right after picking. 'Cortland' trees are vigorous and high-producing. Cross-pollinate with 'McIntosh', 'Golden Delicious', 'Honeycrisp' or other apples that bloom mid- to late-season. This fall-producer is one of the most popular apples for northern production with the highest concentrations of orchards in New York State, Michigan and Ontario, Canada.

There is nothing more satisfying than growing your own apple trees. The domestic apple is most commonly a medium-sized tree with a rounded to oval canopy. It originates from southeastern Europe, Siberia, and southwestern Asia and has been in cultivation for thousands of years. In spring, they offer sweet, fragrant flowers of light pink, white or rose and in fall reward us with crisp, juicy apples.

Apple fruits come in a wide variety of colors, textures and flavors and may be eaten out-of-hand, pressed for cider, frozen, canned or baked in a variety of ways. There are thousands of cultivars available, including many interesting heirlooms as well as fresh new varieties. Different selections vary in height and may bear fruit in late summer or fall.

While the domestic apple prefers full sun and well-drained soil, it will tolerate light shade and bouts of drought. For best fruit production, trees must be vigorously pruned and maintained. Apples are susceptible to many pests and diseases, but resistant varieties are available. Most apples are grafted onto rootstock that provides a wide range of benefits such as vigor, pest and disease resistance and dwarf stature, depending on the stock.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Fruit

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    12'-25' / 3.7m - 7.6m

  • Width

    15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Russia/Siberia, Southern Asia, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Red, Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Yellow, Brown

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Edible, Feature Plant, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes