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The Liberty Apple Tree may not be well known, but when planning the backyard orchard, smart homeowners who do their research give this one top billing. Bred to be naturally resistant to many of the diseases that affect other Apple Trees, it’s a no-brainer for those who wish to garden organically and not spray toxic chemicals on food their family is going to eat. Oh, and the flavor? This is one satisfying apple! Liberty is a juicy, aromatic, tangy apple with vinous (wine-like) undertones. It’s delectable right off the tree when picked at the peak of ripeness, and it also makes a delightful pink-tinted applesauce when you leave in some of the rich red peels.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
- Spacing: 12-15'
- Exposure: Full Sun
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The Liberty Apple Tree was not a chance seedling, but the result of a carefully orchestrated marriage of trees with specific traits. In 1955, plant breeders at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva chose ‘Macoun’ to be the mother of the new Apple Tree. Macoun is another release from the Geneva research station that scores sky-high on flavor but low on disease resistance. To boost Liberty’s immunity to diseases, it was sired by a relative of Malus floribunda, the robust Japanese Flowering Crabapple. The Liberty Apple Tree isn’t immune to all of the pests and diseases that afflict Apples, but it is far more resistant than most.
Liberty is the perfect Apple Tree for the beginning fruit tree grower. Besides being disease resistant, it naturally develops a strong, sturdy branching habit, it fruits at a young age, and it sets heavy crops annually (some Apple Trees have better crops every other year). In fact, you may need to thin the fruits during the first few years, so the branches can support a hefty crop of apples.
How to Grow
Apple Trees prefer good garden soil but will grow in clay provided drainage is good. Choose a site in full sun where air circulates freely. Avoid low spots where late frosts can strike in spring and damage the blossoms; this is especially important with Liberty, because it is an early-flowering variety. You will need another early- to mid-season-blooming Apple or Crabapple Tree nearby to pollinate Liberty’s flowers and ensure good fruit set. There are many potential pollinators to choose from, such as Braeburn Apple or Royal Raindrops® Crabapple. Liberty has few disease issues, but if a problem does arise, please don’t hesitate to ask our expert growers for help at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Questions & Answers
Q: How big will this Tree grow?
A: We grow Liberty 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, or about 3 years after planted at your home.
Q: What other variety of Apple do I need to pollinate my Liberty Apple?
One note to make is that the Liberty Apple is what we call a triploid - meaning it has three chromosomes as opposed to two (like most other Apples). This means that it will not pollinate any other Apple - it is 'sterile'. If you plant a Liberty, two other Apple Trees are required nearby, each of different varieties, which can cross-pollinate each other as well as the triploid Tree. This might sway you from growing triploid varieties, but they have many advantages including very good disease resistance!
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