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Spartan apple trees

Spartan is a deep marroon-coloured apple with an excellent refreshing sweet flavour. Apple text books often describe the flavour as "vinous" and it can indeed have a wine-like quality, although this is first and foremost a crisp sweet juicy unpretentious apple.

That flavour, and the crimson skin, are an easy clue that Spartan is related to the famous Canadian McIntosh apple. Spartan is undoubtedly one of the best of the many varieties which trace their ancestry back to McIntosh. It is also one of the few that have made it across the Atlantic to the UK, where it is widely grown and well-suited to the temperate UK climate.

Spartan ripens quite late in the season, usually around early October. The apples will remain on the tree over a 2-3 week period, which means you can pick a few at a time rather than have to deal with a glut. This is also the best way to enjoy them because although they keep fairly well, the flavour and crispness fade in storage.

Spartan is also a very good pollinator of other apples, producing large quantities of compatible pollen.

Spartan is a simple unpretentious apple, and when eaten straight from the tree on a crisp cold morning is a real delight.

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Spartan apple trees for sale

Pot-grown

All pot-grown trees are suitable for planting out in the garden, some are suitable for growing in containers.

  • PG12-year bush-trained 12L pot-grown tree M26 rootstock £39.50
    Medium tree (2m-3m after 10 years)
  • PG22-year bush-trained 12L pot-grown tree MM106 rootstock £39.50
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
  • PG3Premium half-standard 12L pot-grown tree MM106 rootstock £44.50
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
  • PG4Espalier 12L pot-grown tree MM106 rootstock £59.50
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
    Contact us
  • PG5Fan-trained 12L pot-grown tree MM106 rootstock £59.50
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
    Contact us

Bare-root

  • BR11-year bare-root tree M26 rootstock £19.95
    Medium tree (2m-3m after 10 years)
  • BR21-year bare-root tree MM106 rootstock £19.95
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
  • BR32-year bush-trained bare-root tree MM106 rootstock £29.95
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
  • BR42-year bare-root tree MM106 rootstock £29.95
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)

How to grow

Although it originates from Canada, Spartan has long been a favourite in the cool temperate climate of England, and as might be expected from a Canadian variety, it is naturally cold-hardy. Whilst it will grow throughout the UK, it is generally happier in areas with drier climates.

It crops reliably and heavily. The fruit tends to be small but moderate thinning is very effective and the remaining apples will be a good medium/large size.

There are few disease problems, and birds and aphids are not often an issue either. It appears to be somewhat susceptible to scab in areas with damp climates, but unaffected in areas with dry climates.

Spartan also tends to produce a neat and attractive tree.

The large quantity of blossom makes it a good pollinator for other apple varieties. The pollen is also viable at lower temperatures (10C rather than 15C-20C) than most other apple varieties, making it a useful variety to grow if your orchard is in an area with cold spring weather.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

History

Spartan is one of the most widely-grown of the McIntosh family of apples, which are characterised by their deep maroon skinand bright white flesh. Spartan was developed at the Canadian Apple Research Station in Summerland, British Columbia, in the 1920s. The female parent is McIntosh, and the male parent is thought to be the popular American variety Newtown Pippin although this is not certain.

Spartan characteristics

Using

  • CroppingHeavy
  • Picking seasonLate
  • Keeping (of fruit)1 week
  • Fruit persistenceNormal ripening
  • Flavour qualityGood
  • WildlifeRHS perfect for pollinators
  • Flavour style (apples)Vinous
  • Food usesEating freshJuice
  • Discoloration of fruitVery oxidising (browns quickly)
  • Vitamin C contentLow

Growing

  • Gardening skillBeginner
  • Self-fertilityPartially self-fertile
  • Flowering group3
  • Pollinating othersGood
  • PloidyDiploid
  • VigourAverage vigour
  • PrecocityPrecocious
  • Bearing regularityRegular
  • Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
  • Organic cultureSuitable

Problems

  • Disease resistanceAverage
  • CankerSome susceptibility
  • FireblightSome resistance
  • MildewSome resistance
  • ScabSome susceptibility
  • Bitter pitVery resistant

Climate

  • Climate suitabilityTemperate climatesWarm climates
  • Cold hardiness (USDA)(3) -40F / -40C
  • Summer average maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
  • Frost resistance of blossomGood resistance

Identification

  • Country of originCanada
  • Period of origin1900 - 1949
  • Flower colourWhite
  • Leaf colourGreen
  • Fruit colourCrimson