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Three Counties cider apple trees

Malus domestica
Three Counties is an early-ripening bittersweet cider apple.

Three Counties cider apple trees for sale


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Three Counties is a modern bittersweet cider variety. It has a passing resemblance to Dabinett (one of its parents) but ripens much earlier - usually in mid-September.


The Three Counties cider apple variety is named after the traditional cider-growing counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Worcestershire. It was developed at the Long Ashton Research Station of the University of Bristol in the 1990s, in response to demand from commercial cider producers for a cider apple that would ripen in September - much earlier than the traditional varieties. It is thought to be a cross between Dabinett - one of the best English cider varieties, but very late ripening - and James Grieve - a juicy early-season apple.

Three Counties characteristics


  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Flowering group2
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • PloidyDiploid
  • Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
  • Climate suitabilityTemperate climatesMild damp climates


  • Picking monthSeptember
  • Picking seasonMid
  • CroppingHeavy
  • Food usesJuiceHard cider
  • Juice styleBittersweet (cider)


  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Period of origin1950 - 1999
  • Fruit colourRed striped
  • Fruit sizeAverage

Similar varieties

  • See also Dabinett
  • See also James Grieve
    James Grieve
    James Grieve is the classic Scottish dual-purpose apple. It can be eaten fresh, and is also excellent for juicing and cooking.
  • Prince William
    Another bittersweet developed at Long Ashton, but Prince William is a cross between Michelin and James Grieve.