Cox Orange Pippin Apple
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To many people with English roots, the Cox’s Orange Pippin apple is the gold standard of apples. This British favorite has a wonderfully complex sweet-tart flavor that apple aficionados on both sides of the pond go crazy for. When they can get their hands on them—and for Americans, growing your own tree may be the only way—those who try Cox’s Orange Pippin apples describe them as having a rich, almost spicy flavor with hints of mango and orange. This cherished heirloom selection will take you back to a time when flavor was King—not shipping or warehousing qualities!
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
- Spacing: 12-15'
- Exposure: Full Sun
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Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple has been an English institution for over 150 years. It arose as a chance seedling in the 1820s in the orchard of a retired brewer named Richard Cox, near the present-day location of Heathrow Airport. It’s a yellow apple with a red blush, which makes it appear orange—hence, the “Orange” part of its name. The “Pippin” part of its name is an old English word for an Apple Tree grown from a seed, or “pip.” Cox’s Orange Pippin wasn’t made available to other growers until the 1850s, and it wasn’t grown commercially until the 1860s, but once it finally became known, it won the hearts of a nation.
A premium gourmet dessert apple, Cox’s Orange Pippin is best sampled fresh from the tree so that its delightful blend of sweet and tart, familiar and exotic flavors can be appreciated to the max. It isn’t generally considered to be great cooking apple, although it makes a fine, spicy cider if you happen to find yourself with a bumper crop.
How to Grow
Preferring the cool maritime climate of its English homeland, the Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple Tree can be a challenge to grow in many areas of the U.S. Homeowners in the Pacific Northwest and coastal New England will have the most success. As with any Apple Tree, you’ll want to plant it in full sun in a site with fertile, well-drained soil and good air circulation. Even under the best of circumstances, however, Cox’s Orange Pippin may need help in warding off pests and diseases that can damage or destroy the harvest. Please don’t hesitate to contact our expert growers at email@example.com for tips on how to protect your tree in safe but effective ways.
Questions & Answers
Q: Is the Cox Orange Pippin Apple Tree that you carry self fertile?
A: Apples, for the most part, require two varieties to cross pollinate. Cox Orange Pippin is one of those Apples that DO require complimenting planting to enhance pollination.
Q: When will I get fruit from my new Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple?
A: The answer to this question depends on whether your tree is on dwarf, semi-dwarf or standard rootstock 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 crop in 3 years with a substantial harvest in 5 years.
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 evenly spaced across the entire tree. Remove all other apples as soon as you recognize them as apples when young (before mid-June), be sure to space 6” between the few you allow to develop.
If all the fruit is left to mature, the fruit will use up important nutrients and energy that your tree needs to develop a root and branch system. Letting fruit mature on your tree in the first two years may result in serious stunting in the development of your tree and will negatively impact future harvest potential.
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 up to two dozen apples to enjoy in year 3. From then on you can start to harvest larger and larger crops each year.
Supporting the central leader development will encourage additional primary branches to form for the final overall structure for your tree. Apple Tree pruning when done properly will allow for a strong primary structure to enhance harvest and fruit counts, as well as reduce disease concerns.
A mature semi-dwarf apple can produce 5 bushels of fruit each year (126 medium sized apples in a bushel). Apple Trees can live for more than 100 years so your apple tree could be there for years of enjoyment.
Q: Why do you recommend Cox’s Orange Pippin with all of these apple varieties to choose from?
A: While every apple has some special characteristics that make it recommendable, Cox’s Orange Pippin has some special features and benefits that earn inclusion in many home orchards.
Any apple with origins all the way back to 1825 that is still widely regarded as a favorite must be a special apple! Considered the essential English apple and a benchmark for great tasting apples, Cox’s gives the best results in climates with cooler summers like New England. Great for fresh eating, it also is excellent as a cider apple (try blending them with Ashmead’s Kernel and Braeburn or Cortland), and for baking . Although people love them fresh and they often don’t last long enough to make it into baked goods.
Q: What do I need to pollinate a Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple?
A: To get a bumper crop from your Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple each year Bower & Branch recommends another apple variety within 100 feet to cross - pollinate (two of the same Apple tree will not provide cross-pollination). The two apple varieties you choose will cross-pollinate each other and both trees will provide you with a great harvest each year. Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Macoun, McIntosh, Red Delicious and Yellow Transparent are very compatible with Cox’s Orange Pippin for good cross-pollination.
Other pollination partners can be native wild Crabapples 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 as great Crabapple selections to pollinate your apple. These named varieties are grown for flower and show providing tremendous landscape value and do not produce edible fruit for people, but the birds adore them!
Q: How big will my Cox’s Orange Pippin get?
A: Apple tree size is controlled by what root stock the tree is grafted on to. 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 you prune to form.
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