The apple is the universal fruit – loved by everyone of every age. Not only are they delicious to eat fresh, or baked into pies, muffins, and cakes, but they are also very easy to turn them into apple sauce, jelly and preserves. There are so many things to do in the kitchen with apples, they never go to waste. The Ein Shemer Apple has light green to yellow skin, with pale yellow flesh, and it is sweet, but with that delicious apple ‘bite’ as well. Crunchy too, everyone loves this apple for eating fresh, as well as for all kinds of baking.
Gardeners in warm areas of the country often see the apple as a northern fruit, and something they cannot grow, but that is not true. The Ein Shemer Apple Tree was bred and developed in Israel, and it will grow in places with almost no winter. Unlike most other apple tree varieties, it needs just a couple of hundred hours in winter of temperatures below 45 degrees, and that happens even in Florida. If you thought home-grown apples were out of your reach, think again.
Gardeners in cooler areas will also want to grow the Ein Shemer Apple Tree, because it is renowned for starting to fruit when still very young, and it produces apples very early in the year – as early as June in warm regions. There is yet another reason to grow this apple everywhere.
Growing Ein Shemer Apple Trees
Unlike almost all other apples, Ein Shemer will produce a good crop when grown alone, making it ideal for small gardens, where you want to grow apples, but only have room for one tree. Very few apple trees can do this, so it is a top choice whenever a single tree is called for. If you do have more room, plant the other apple for hot regions – the Anna Apple Tree. Both of these trees will crop when grown alone, but both will give a heavier crop when grown together. No other trees can pollinate these two varieties, because they flower so early in the year – in Florida and southern California they can bloom as early as January.
Planting and Initial Care
The Ein Shemer apple tree is easy to grow in almost any garden soil, but it will not grow well in soil that is constantly wet. When planting, make sure you plant it at the same depth as it is in the pot, and be very careful to not bury that ‘kink’ you see lowdown on the stem. That is where the tree has been grafted onto a special root system to control its size and vigor. Any shoots that might come from below that point should be removed flush with the stem, as they will draw strength from the tree, and never produce fruit.
Choose a sunny spot for your tree, and in zones 8 and 9 it will benefit from some afternoon shade. Water your tree weekly in the first season, and regularly during dry periods after that. Begin to train your tree from the beginning. If you have plenty of room, you can develop an open, vase-shaped tree, but it is often better, and saves space, to develop a single central stem, with branches radiating from it. Use string tied to rocks to spread the branches outwards, as narrow, upright branches can snap under the weight of a heavy crop.
If you want larger apples for eating, thin out the tiny apples when they are the size of a quarter. Leave just one or two in each cluster, and space them about 6 inches apart along the branches. You will harvest less weight, but the apples will be larger, and better quality. There is also more waste in small apples, as the core is still the same size.
History and Origins of the Ein Shemer Apple Tree
Abba Stein was a breeder and grower of apples in Israel, at the Kibbutz Ein Shemer, in the 1950s. This new country wanted crops to grow in the desert it was turning into fields, and Abba Stein wanted apples that would grow in the warm, Middle Eastern climate. He bred local varieties with ones he brought from Europe, and produced both the Ein Shemer and the Anna apples, which are still the main varieties grown in Israel today.
To create our trees, skilled growers take stem pieces from trees that can be traced back to the original tree, and then graft them onto suitable apple rootstocks. There is always a high demand for these unique varieties that grow in Florida and other southern areas, and supplies are always limited. Order now while we can still fill that order.