By: Teo Spengler
If you want to include a great late season apple tree in your home orchard, consider a Belmac. What is a Belmac apple? It’s a relatively new Canadian hybrid with immunity to apple scab. For more Belmac apple information, read on.
So exactly what is a Belmac apple? This apple cultivar was released by the Horticultural Research and Development Centre in Quebec, Canada. Its disease resistance and cold hardiness make it a desirable addition to a northern garden.
These fruits are lovely and colorful. At harvest, the apples are almost entirely red, but with a little of the chartreuse green under-color showing. The flesh of the fruit is white with a tinge of pale green. Belmac apple juice is a rose color.
Before you begin growing Belmac apple trees, you’ll want to know something about their taste, which has the same sweet but tart flavor as McIntosh apples. They have a medium or coarse texture and firm flesh.
Belmacs ripen in autumn, about late September or early October. The apples store extremely well once harvested. Under proper conditions, the fruit remains delicious for up to three months. Belmac apple information also makes it clear that the fruit, although aromatic, does not become waxy during this time in storage.
Belmac apple trees thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. The trees are upright and spreading, with elliptic green leaves. The fragrant apple blossoms open to a lovely rose color, but in time they fade to white.
If you are wondering how to grow Belmac apple trees, you’ll find that it’s not a difficult fruit tree. One reason growing Belmac apple trees is easy is the disease resistance, as they are immune to apple scab and resist mildew and cedar apple rust. This means you’ll have to do less spraying, and little Belmac apple care.
The trees are extremely productive year after year. According to Belmac apple information, apples grow largely on wood that is two years old. You’ll find that they are distributed evenly throughout the entire canopy of the tree.
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Apple tree pollination is the key to successful fruit production. There are a few factors to keep in mind, and here we focus on apple bloom times.
Pollen, with the help of wind, birds, and beneficial insects like bees, is distributed from flower to flower, which eventually leads to the development of fresh, homegrown apples we all love to eat!
There are a few big factors to keep in mind about apple tree pollination in regard to fruit production. Consider these things when selecting compatible varieties to plant:
Spacing and maturity are covered in some of our previous articles. We recommend planting apple trees up to 50 feet apart (maximum) to keep things within an ideal distance for pollination to occur. Newly planted apple trees take around 2-5 years on average to establish, mature, and bloom to then bear their first crops of fruit.
Bloom time is very important when planning for adequate apple tree pollination and fruit production. Different varieties tend to bloom at different times in the season. Very early blooming varieties will not be ideal pollinators for late-blooming varieties. Think about it: if one apple tree’s flowers have already finished before the second variety’s pollen is available, then there isn't a chance for fruit set. This is why we list a few of our recommended pollinators for each variety we carry – so you can confidently choose adequate pollinators to plant.
You can also reference other apple tree pollination-tools like these:
Or ask us and we’ll help you determine if your apple varieties are ideal pollinators for one another!
Bear in mind, early blooming apple varieties will overlap early to mid-season ones, and mid-season varieties will overlap mid- to late-blooming apple trees. That said, in some years with exceptionally warm springs, we’ve had apple trees in our orchards here in Missouri practically bloom all at the same time – regardless of their natural tendency to be early, mid-, or late-blooming varieties.
A solid understanding of apple tree pollination brings you that much closer to enjoying your own homegrown apples! One final note: when in doubt about apple tree pollination, plant a crabapple tree. Crabapple trees are truly excellent pollinators — even professional apple orchardists plant them systematically to cover any possible pollination gaps in their apple selection. A crabapple tree also makes a beautiful food source that attracts bees, birds, and other wildlife. Happy planning and planting!
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|History:||Replaces Factsheet No. 91-011, Disease Resistant Apple Cultivars|
|Written by:||John Cline - University of Guelph John Warner - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Ken R. Wilson - Pome Fruit Specialist/OMAF John Zandstra - Ridgetown College/University of Guelph|
There are several insects and diseases that can attack apples grown in Ontario. Apple producers must exercise some control over these problems or fruit losses may be excessive and economic production not possible.
Several cultivars are now available which have high resistance or field immunity to apple scab. Table 1 is a partial list of available scab resistant apple cultivars, and additional selections are presently being developed. Some of these cultivars also have resistance to other diseases (Table 2).
Table 1. Scab Resistant Apple Cultivars.
Apple scab caused by Venturia inaequalis (Cke.) Wint., is the most serious disease affecting apples. Growing cultivars resistant to apple scab eliminates the need for control of this fungal disease. Apple scab is not the only disease that can hamper apple production in Ontario. Powdery mildew incited by Podosphaera leucotricha (Ell. & Ev.) Salm, and the bacterial disease, fire blight incited by Erwinia amylovora (Burr.) are also of major concern.
Cultivars with resistance to the major early season diseases (apple scab, fire blight, powdery mildew, cedar apple rust) are now under development and a few which are moderately or highly resistant to these diseases have been released. However, combining resistance to several diseases in a new apple cultivar, as well as maintaining desirable fruit characteristics, has been a formidable task. The level of reported disease resistance and the quality of the fruit produced for disease resistant cultivars in outlined in Table 2.
Resistance to other, less prevalent diseases, has not been included in disease resistance breeding programs. Susceptibility of the cultivars listed here to such problems as black rot, sooty blotch, fly speck, quince rust and other diseases remains largely undetermined. Such diseases might limit the adaptablility of otherwise disease resistant cultivars in some locations if no fungicide sprays are applied.
Before a large planting of disease resistant apples is attempted, disease resistance, fruit quality, and most importantly, market acceptability should be evaluated under a grower's own set of circumstances. Because of the wide range of growing conditions in Ontario apple districts, the best way to evaluate these cultivars is to establish your own small planting including those cultivars of interest.
Figure 1. Liberty apples.
Figure 2. Freedom apples.
Table 2. Selected cultivars with demonstrated field resistance to the diseases listed. Not all cultivars listed have been evaluated in Ontario. Where this is the case the information given is taken from the originating source.