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How can I identify the apples in my backyard?

October 8, 2020
Bulmers Norman apples growing on a tree.
Bulmers Norman, a European apple variety

This time of year, UMN Extension receives a steady stream of questions about how to identify unknown apple trees. In most of these instances, the person calling has recently purchased or inherited a property and was not made aware of the varieties of fruit trees growing on the property.

When someone finds an unknown apple tree, it is understandable to be curious about what variety it is. You may be able to narrow down possibilities or figure out the variety based on clues like apple skin color and appearance, the timing of ripening, texture, and age and size of the tree.

If you know an apple tree was planted from seed the resulting tree is not likely to be true to any specific variety.

The University of Minnesota does not offer apple tree identification services. But UC-Davis will accept samples for DNA fingerprinting on a fee-for-service basis.

Annie Klodd, Extension educator, fruit and vegetable production

Related topics: Yard and Garden News
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