MALUS domestica 'Esopus Spitzenburg'
Plant Common Name
Antique Apple, Apple, Dessert Apple
Originating in Esopus, New York, before 1800, this favorite of Thomas Jefferson is still unsurpassed as a dessert apple. Ripening in late summer and early fall, the medium to large, spherical to conical fruits have yellow skin heavily overlaid with red and orange. The fragrant, fine-grained, yellow flesh of this dessert or cooking apple is crisp, tender, juicy, and highly flavorful. The fruits keep for several months. This cultivar bears moderate crops on open, spreading, disease-prone trees. Although self-fertile, 'Esopus Spitzenburg' will bear more heavily when cross-pollenized by another apple that blooms midseason (such as 'Gala').
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, these trees offer sweet, fragrant flowers of light pink, white or rose, and in fall reward us with crisp, juicy apples.
These fruits have 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.