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Braeburn apples, which first appeared in the 1950s, were revolutionary in that they were the first supermarket apples that rivaled the richness of flavor of many of the heirloom varieties. No other mass produced apple at the time had achieved such a fine balance of sweet-tart appley goodness, and Braeburn today is still one of the finest tasting supermarket apples you can buy. But here’s the thing: Braeburn apples destined for the market are usually picked slightly under-ripe. You’ll probably never know the complex depth of flavor this variety is capable of until you try one right from the tree! Plant a Braeburn Apple Tree in your backyard today, and you’ll look forward to exquisite gourmet snacking each fall.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
- Spacing: 12-15'
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The original Braeburn Apple Tree was discovered as a chance seedling that popped up on the farm of a New Zealander named O. Moran in 1952. It was later named after Braeburn Nursery, which raised the variety commercially. The new seedling was the offspring of a sweet red apple called Lady Hamilton, which is no longer in production. The other parent was thought to be the tart green Granny Smith. Braeburn shows a combination of these two parent apples’ traits—a greenish yellow peel streaked with red and a mix of sweet and tart flavors. This “bicolor” type of apple is all the rage right now, and Braeburn was one of the first of its kind.
With full-bodied, complex flavors that will surprise and delight you, Braeburn apples are ideal for eating fresh from the tree or chilled for a bit in the fridge. They’re also great for cooking. Although Braeburns are plenty juicy when eaten fresh, when cooked they don’t release a lot of juices, so pie and tart fillings made from them don’t become runny, and they hold their shape.
How to Grow
The Braeburn Apple Tree flourishes in climates with long, sunny, warm growing seasons. The harvest continues very late in the year, after other apples have been picked. Braeburn is partially self-fertile, which means that it will set some fruit without another Apple Tree in the vicinity, but another suitable Apple or Crabapple Tree nearby during flowering will certainly boost production. Plant this tree in a well-drained, sunny site with good air circulation and monitor it carefully for signs of pests and disease. Braeburn is susceptible to the common diseases that attack Apples, and it is particularly vulnerable to fire blight. Please feel free to consult with our expert growers at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on actions to take to prevent and treat Apple Tree problems.
Questions & Answers
How much fruit can I expect from my apple and how soon?
The answer to this question depends on the rootstock being used and the age of the tree. Bower & Branch trees are grown on a semi-dwarfing rootstock and come to you well established. You can expect your first harvest in 3 years with a substantial harvest in 5 years.
Now in the first two years you may get some apples forming but it is important that these be removed as early as possible. Bower & Branch Growers do allow for a small handful to remain, no more than 10 apples.
When all fruit is left to mature the fruit will use up important nutrients and energy that your tree needs to be using to develop a root system and branch system. Letting fruit mature on your tree in the first two years can cause seriously stunt the development of your tree.
By year 3 you can leave the fruit to develop on the side branches and just remove the fruit on the central leader. This action allows for strong central leader development for future desired branch structure for producing apples. This will give you one or two dozen apples to enjoy in year 3. By year 4 you can start to harvest larger and larger crops each year.
A mature semi-dwarf apple can produce 5 bushels of fruit each year (126 medium sized apples in a bushel). Apples can live for more than 100 years so your apple tree could be there for years to enjoy.
While every apple has some special characteristics that make it recommendable, Braeburn has some extra special features and benefits that earn inclusion in many home orchards. Braeburn originated in New Zealand in 1952 as a chance seedling and has quickly gained a reputation as an excellent all-purpose apple. A great baking apple, Braeburn remains firm when baked, not turning into mush! Braeburn also does not release a lot of liquid and retains excellent flavor when baked. Braeburn and Golden Delicious have been declared the best choices for apple pies by some!
Braeburn also makes a great choice for cider and matches up well with Golden Delicious and Granny Smith for exquisite cider blending.
What do I need to pollinate a Braeburn Apple?
While it has been reported to be self-fertile, to get a bumper crop from your Braeburn Apple each year Bower & Branch recommends another apple variety within 100 feet to cross - pollinate (two Braeburn Apple trees will not improve cross-pollination). The two apple varieties will cross-pollinate each other and both trees will provide you with an improved harvest volume annually. Add Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Macoun, or Red Delicious, all are very compatible with Braeburn for good cross-pollination.
Other pollination partners for Braeburn can be native wild crabapple within 100’. Perhaps your neighbors are already helping you out. Crabapples, especially the white varieties are great providers of pollen for apples! Bower & Branch recommends Donald Wyman, Weeping Red Jade, Sargent, Madonna, Spring Snow or Sugartyme. These named varieties, are grown for flower and show providing tremendous landscape value and do not produce edible fruit for people, but the the birds adore them.
How big will Braeburn become?
We grow our apples on a semi-dwarfing rootstock (S-M7). This will give you an apple that will grow 12-15’ in height and width before pruning to form. You can expect a substantial harvest in 3 to 5 years using this rootstock.
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