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The easy-care bald apple is not only a pretty ornament for the garden, the fruits of the plant are also rich in vitamin C.
The bald apple berry belongs to the Aronia genus and belongs to the rose family. The fruit, also known as black mountain ash or black apple, is a robust and easy-care plant that, not least because of its pretty, brown-red autumn color, is an ornament for every orchard. The pea-sized apple berries are real vitamin bombs that have long been valued in Russia as a medicinal plant. In our latitudes, the popularity of plants has increased due to the distribution of aronia juices. In the following, we will tell you what you should consider when growing and caring for the bald apple berry.
The Bald Appleberry is a shrub that grows upright and can reach heights of up to two meters. Visually, the bald apple is similar to the felt apple. The initial hairiness of the foliage gradually disappears. The pointed, dark red winter buds are striking on the deciduous shrubs. The flower panicles can comprise up to twenty flowers. The flowers are about one centimeter in size and have five sepals. The exposed five petals appear white to pale pink. The ripe apple berries are shiny black in color and should be harvested quickly in autumn, otherwise they will fall off the shrub.
History and spread of the bald apple berry
The home of the Bald Appleberry is located in the northeastern United States. There, the plant had to adapt to the harsh climate, which benefits the hobby gardener today. The natives of America used the plant growing on stony slopes and riparian zones or in barren dune areas early on as a source of food. The targeted cultivation of aronia began in the United States and Canada in the early 18th century. In 1834 the plants came to Russia, where they were rarely displayed in botanical gardens. The plant became interesting for science and when the health benefits were recognized, apple berries were used as medicinal plants in the then USSR. In the 1950s, the bald apple berries came to Central Europe. The cultivation initially took place in Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. In Germany, the apple berries are now grown near Dresden, in Upper Lusatia and in the vicinity of Landshut.
The use of the bald apple berry
The bald apple berries are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is not advisable to eat the fruit raw because the taste of the aronia is remarkably bitter. The fruits are preferably processed into juice, wine or jam.
The health value of aronia berries has already been confirmed in numerous studies. Daily consumption of even small amounts should demonstrably contribute to increasing general well-being.
The importance as a medicinal plant was recognized early in Russia. Both fresh fruit and dried apple berries are used. The berries contain a lot of vitamin C, iron, folic acid or iodine.
In folk medicine, the following ailments are cured with the apple berry:
- high blood pressure
- Urinary tract infections
- hardening of the arteries
When does the bald apple berry bloom?
The flowering period varies from region to region and can begin in mild regions in May. The apple berries are usually in full bloom between July and August.
Plant the bald apple berry
Adapted to the harsh climate in the northeast of the USA, the bald apple berry proves to be an easy-care guest in the orchard. The plant can also supply itself with nutrients via the broad, branched root system when there are longer periods of drought.
Find the right location
You have a free hand when it comes to choosing a location. You can integrate the apple berry into existing hedges, plant in groups or cultivate as a specimen plant.
" Watch out: Since the plants develop widely branched root systems, a planting distance of at least 1.5 meters should be maintained for group plantings.
The bald apple berry thrives in a sunny location, just as it is satisfied with partial shade. Slopes and rivers are preferred. The good salt tolerance makes the plant ideal for cultivation near the coast. The sunnier the location, the more lavish your crop will be.
Before planting, it may make sense to plant a root barrier. This way, the root network cannot spread unhindered and hinder neighboring plants from growing. A moist location is particularly good for the plant. However, the bald apple berry does not tolerate waterlogging. This can be prevented by creating a drainage from shards of clay or gravel.
The ideal location in brief:
- Note planting distance
Select the right substrate
Even if the bald apple declares its consent to almost any soil, it has certain requirements, the fulfillment of which can contribute to a rich harvest. The soil should be as moist as possible and contain a high proportion of clay or sand.
" Tip: Heavy clay soils become more permeable if you loosen them with sand or gravel.
If the soil is enriched with humus during planting, the plant can grow up well and is supplied with a valuable natural fertilizer right from the start. Too much sand in the soil is less suitable because water and fertilizer cannot stay in the soil. You will then need to water and fertilize more often. If the soil is too loamy, the liquid remains on the surface for too long and does not allow it to reach the roots in a timely manner. Anyone who has the ability to determine the pH of the soil should do so. Ideal soil conditions are created with a pH between 5 and 6.5.
The ideal substrate in brief:
- sandy loam soil
The best planting time
The bald apple berry is preferably planted in autumn. Then the plant has already shed its leaves. The plants commercially available at this time are mostly bare-rooted plants. The planting can take place until the first frosts. You can plant container goods that have a stable root system all year round. Since the plants appear quite robust, they will grow well in any case and will defy even lower temperatures.
Step by step instructions
❶ Select location
❷ Preparation of the floor
❸ Keep planting distance
❹ Dig out the planting hole
Legen Lay drainage
❻ Install root lock if desired
❼ Water the root ball
Einsetzen Insert the plant
❾ Fill in the substrate and close the planting hole
❿ Press on the soil well and water the plant well
Once the right location has been found, it is important to loosen the soil. A permeable soil is particularly important to prevent waterlogging, which the plants cannot tolerate. Mixing in gravel or sand is a good way to make the soil more permeable. Provide nutrients with compost.
A planting distance of at least 1.5 meters must be observed because the apple berry forms a densely branched root system. You can curb the growth by installing a generous root barrier. It is important not to restrict the plant too much and to hinder its growth. Container plants should be watered before being placed in the planting hole. To do this, place the plant in a bucket until there are no more air bubbles. After planting, the bald apple berries should be watered vigorously.
Hold the bald apple in the bucket
The cultivation of bald apple berries is also possible in a bucket. With regard to the widely branched root system already mentioned, you will already suspect that the planter must be of sufficient size.
" Tip: If aronia is pressed into a planter that is too small, it stops growing.
If the bald apple is considered robust and well adapted to our climate, with container plants it is important to always cut back in this regard. The plants need frost protection. As soon as the earth freezes in the planter, the apple berry can no longer absorb food and “thirsts”. A protected location is an advantage in winter. Wrap the plant with garden fleece or coconut mats and additionally protect the soil with brushwood or leaves.
" Tip: Barn manure is a particularly effective long-term fertilizer. This takes three years to decompose and provides the plants with all the necessary minerals and nutrients during this time.
If you mulch the soil regularly, you protect the plant from drying out. Likewise, less weeds will be able to settle in the root area.
How to properly care for the bald apple
The broad network of roots of the plants in terms of irrigation suits the hobby gardener. The apple berries usually get all the necessary nutrients from the roots and do not need to be watered regularly. Only in particularly dry summers should you water the plants from time to time.
" Tip: Container plants cannot do without irrigation and should be watered regularly. The floor must not dry out. In return, no waterlogging may occur.
The undemanding plant does not depend on regular fertilizers. It is sufficient to use compost as an organic fertilizer. This usually happens during planting.
❍ harvest time:
From the second year after flowering, the bald apple berries will develop fruit. The harvest season begins around September and extends into October. In order to determine the fruit ripeness of the berries, the optics are usually not decisive, because the dark purple color begins in July. To check the ripeness level, it is advisable to pick out a berry and cut it open. A solid red flesh indicates that the fruit is ripe.
❍ Cut back:
First of all, it makes a difference whether you buy container goods or choose bare root plants. Potted plants are not cut in the first year of standing.
In the case of bare-rooted plants, a cut must be made before planting. Damaged shoots are completely removed during this so-called planting cut. Shorten all other shoots by half.
" Tip: Also check the roots. Damaged root parts must be removed. A slight cut of the main root makes it easier for young plants to absorb nutrients.
In the case of container plants, the soil shoots are reduced in the second year. The best time to do this is spring. To ensure that the fruit can develop unhindered, shoots that are too tight must also be removed.
Every three years it is time for a clearing cut. This takes place in late winter and serves to rejuvenate the plant. Here you remove all old and overhanging shoots.
The most common method of propagating bald apple berries is to obtain cuttings. Cut the cuttings about 20 centimeters long from the shoots of an existing plant. Shorten the shoot tip to the lower eye and cut the remaining leaves in half. The cutting can now be put into the ground and kept evenly moist. The best season for this measure is autumn.
" Tip: Unfinished bald apple berries can also be propagated by seeds. Furthermore, the plants themselves form root shoots, which can be dug up directly and used separately as a new shrub.
Cultivated outdoors, the bald apple berry does not need winter protection. The plants are extremely frost-resistant and easily tolerate temperatures down to -35 degrees. Even late frosts cannot harm the plant.
Container plants are less robust. The plants would not be able to survive if the earth froze in the bucket. Therefore, apple berries must be overwintered in a protected location in the bucket and must also be protected with garden fleece or coconut mats.
The upgrading to the standard tree is quite simple. Copulation is the simplest finishing method. The apple berry plant is grafted directly onto a high stem.
The method of grafting is reserved for experienced gardeners. Here you transfer a well-trained plant eye. The mountain ash is preferably used as a base. If the apple berry is refined on the rowanberry, one speaks of the black rowanberry. The small tree created in this way delivers particularly high yields.
❍ diseases and pests
The bald apple is considered to be quite robust and resistant, but is still not completely spared from diseases and pests.
The following were observed:
- fire blight
- apple moth
- Red spider
The bald apple berry is one of the rose family and can therefore also be affected by fire blight. The disease caused by bacteria can cause great damage and there are currently no effective means found. But fire blight is completely harmless for us humans.
" Watch out: If there were dark spots spirally distributed on the dead branches, the pear wasp was at work. The infestation can easily be mistaken for fire blight. In this case, it is sufficient to remove affected branches, further measures are not necessary.
If the bald apple berry begins to shed the leaves and shows a low fruit yield, this can indicate the apple moth. On closer inspection of the fruit, there are small holes caused by the larvae. Natural predators such as wasps or parasitic wasps have proven effective for combating them.
Infestation by red spiders can already occur in spring. Bright dots appear on the leaves. Over time, these become gray and merge with one another. The leaves start to curl and fall off later. If the plant is particularly badly affected, a fine web can also be seen. If you want to get by without chemicals, you can use predatory mites, ground beetles or predatory bugs as natural predators. Soap or olive oil are also suitable for targeted control of the pests mentioned.
Overview of facts:
|site selection||❍ The plants can cope with almost any location.|
❍ If you expect a high yield, you should choose a place in the sun.
❍ In the shade, the apple berry grows less intensely and is more rotten.
❍ A planting distance of at least 1.5 meters must be observed so that the plant can spread.
|soil quality||❍ The floor should be as moist as possible.|
❍ At the same time, it is important to avoid waterlogging, which is promoted by drainage.
❍ Heavy clay soils can be made more permeable with sand and gravel.
❍ A pH of 5 to 6.5 appears to be the ideal substrate.
|to water||❍ The apple berry in the field does not need regular watering.|
❍ During particularly dry summers, make sure that the floor does not dry out completely.
❍ A layer of mulch keeps the moisture in the soil longer.
❍ Container plants need to be watered regularly, as they cannot get enough liquid from the roots.
|Fertilize||❍ When planting, compost is mixed into the substrate.|
❍ Barn manure is an excellent long-term fertilizer, which supplies the plant with all the necessary nutrients over several years.
❍ No additional measures are required.
Overview of different types of aronia
Botanically speaking, the apple berry is divided into three different types. The Bald Appleberry and the Felted Appleberry are particularly suitable for cultivation in the orchard. Different forms of culture have emerged over time, the apple berries have grown larger and taste less bitter.
The felt apple is also known as dwarf rowanberry. The name can be traced back to the felt hair on the underside of the leaf. Felted apple berries can grow up to three meters high and produce numerous white to light pink flowers from May. The fruits can be harvested around September. Even though the fruits of the felted apple berry taste sweeter than the apple berries of the bald aronia, they are less relevant for raw consumption and they are usually processed into juices, liqueurs or jams. Felted apple berries are undemanding plants that can be cultivated on almost any soil and survive even severe frosts undamaged.
A brief portrait of other varieties of apple berry
This apple berry is mainly grown in Sweden and is therefore well adapted to a harsh climate. You can expect high yields. The fruits are particularly rich in vitamin C and have a diameter of up to 13 mm.
The fruits of this apple berry are particularly large and have a shiny black color. Viking delivers high yields, whereby the aroma is less aromatic compared to the wild form of the bald apple berry. With a maximum height of 1.5 meters, the shrub can be easily harvested by hand.
This variety was already cultivated in the former GDR in the 1970s and is still considered the most frequently cultivated apple in Germany and neighboring Poland. The fruits are juicy and aromatic and are preferably used to make jams.
This sorter was first bred in Hungary. Rubina delivers high yields and bears shiny dark purple fruits. The shrubs can grow up to two meters high and are particularly frost-hardy.
Keep the bald apple berry as a bonsai
The Bald Appleberry also proves to be quite undemanding in bonsai culture. The plant lover can design them in a wide variety of styles. Care must be taken not to let the floor dry out. The earth should be moist all the time. Appropriate watering behavior is particularly important during the flowering period, otherwise the bonsai sheds its flowers. Watering is more economical in winter. Waterlogging must be avoided in any case. The occasional administration of bonsai fertilizer ensures healthy growth.