Apple Best Practice Guide - Agronomy


World supplies of apples, from both the northern and southern hemispheres have increased significantly over the last 20 years. This has resulted in an oversupply to the European and UK markets in most seasons. This oversupply causes a depression in the prices realised for UK-produced apples and a fall in the profitability of apple growing enterprises.

If apple production in the UK is to continue to be profitable, it will be essential for growers to maximise production of quality fruits per unit cost (land, labour, materials and capital costs). This must be achieved regularly in each season, commencing soon after the establishment of the orchard.

Regular Cropping of Apple is dependent upon having:

  • Sufficient flower numbers to set an optimum crop
  • Adequate flower ‘quality’ to enable adequate fruit set
  • Good conditions for flower pollination and fertilisation
  • The correct numbers of fruits set and retained per tree,
  • so as to optimise final fruit size and quality
  • The best conditions and management ‘post fruit set’ to ensure optimum fruitlet growth.

Each one of these factors will be influenced by:                                                                                                   

  • Temperatures, light levels and other climatic conditions in the orchard
  • The growth characteristics of the scion and the influence of the rootstock
  • The system of tree management
  • Soil water and nutrient supplies
  • Hormonal and other internal physiological tree factors.