Everyone loves apples and there is nothing better than a ripe apple picked straight from the tree. Apple trees are fairly easy to grow and they are a great fruit to start your home fruit garden with. However, most varieties of apples cannot be grown in warmer regions of America because there is not enough cold weather in winter to allow the trees to develop properly. If you live in zones 8, 9 or 10 you want a variety of apple that needs very little cold weather and the Dorsett Southern Apple, also known as Dorsett Golden, is the right choice to make. It will produce a bumper crop of delicious apples as early as June or July, way ahead of all other varieties. If you want to give your family guaranteed fresh fruit straight from your garden this is the apple you should choose.
Like almost all apple varieties, it needs a second variety to pollinate it, and at the Tree Center we have made sure to also stock the Anna Southern Apple. These are perfect pollinators for each other and both trees will produce bumper crops. Like Dorsett Southern, the Anna Southern Apple needs very little cold and will grow happily in warm zones where other apples will fail. The Anna apple will ripen its crop later, so with these two varieties you will have fresh apples right from the garden for months.
Growing Dorsett Southern Apple Trees
Growing apples can be a little complex, with the need for pollinators and also the need for periods of cold weather to mature the flower buds. If you live in warm regions most varieties will not grow well because they do not receive enough cold weather – called chill hours – during the winter. The Dorsett Southern Apple however needs less than 200 hours of chilling which will normally occur even in zones 9 and 10, so this apple will succeed where others fail. So this tree will produce a good crop of apples even in southern California, Florida and Arizona. Like all apples it can be attacked by a variety of pests and diseases, but these can be controlled with a variety of both organic and traditional methods.
The Dorsett Southern Apple was developed in the Bahamas, so you can be sure that it is well adapted for hot regions. It has been thoroughly tested at the University of Florida and is recognized as the best variety for gardeners in zones 9 and 10 and is also very suitable for zone 8. It will also grow well all the way into zone 5, where it will perform like other early fruiting varieties.
Soil Conditions and Sun Exposure
Like all apples, Dorsett Southern needs a sunny location in well-drained soil and prefers sandy or loamy soils to clay. In very warm areas it will also tolerate some shade and the apples may have an even better flavor when grown in a little shade. Morning sun and a little late afternoon shade is idea, while morning shade is not so desirable. It should receive at least half a day of sun or more.
Care and Maintenance
The Dorsett Southern Apple will grow quickly and will begin to produce fruit in 2 or 3 seasons. The size of your tree is controlled by pruning and a mature tree will probably be no more than 10 feet tall. In hot regions pruning should be done in winter as flowering may occur as early as January. This variety is best grown with a central leader and side-branches radiating out close to horizontally, evenly distributed around the main trunk. In this way low branches will develop well, making harvesting easy. Use string tied to stones on young branches to develop this low branch angle with the stem. Sharp angles will produce branches that can easily split and break when they are older.
Planting and Initial Care
When planting your tree, prepare the soil well with rich organic material. Dig a hole three times as wide as the pot or three feet across if you tree is dormant with bare-roots. If you are planting in winter shake the soil from the roots and spread them out evenly around the hole. If you are planting a tree in leaf, make a cut an inch deep with a sharp knife from top to bottom of the root-ball at 3 or 4 places around the roots. This will encourage new roots to spread out from the tree.
Replace most of the soil, keeping your tree at the same depth it was in the pot. Do not cover the ‘kink’ you will see low down on the trunk which was where the tree was grafted. Fill the hole with water and when it has drained away replace the rest of the soil. Apply mulch over the root-zone, leaving the area against the trunk free of the mulch. Keep your tree well watered especially during the summer months. Young trees will need 5 gallons of water each week and increasingly more as they develop into mature trees with large harvests.
Buying Dorsett Southern Apple Trees
The Dorsett Southern Apple is such a special plant that only the exact plant will be able to grow in warm areas. So it must be produced directly from trees absolutely known to be the right variety. Our trees are grown the correct way, by grafting stems of these special trees onto roots that control the size of the tree. That way every tree is identical to the original and you can be sure your apple will thrive in your area. However, these take longer to produce, so avoid cheaper trees that will only be a disappointment.
We sell only trees that are true to the original form and we have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. However, we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.