How to Use the Fruit Tree Database

How to use the database:

  • Search for Variety/cultivar (e.g. Granny Smith), Fruit type (the categories in the database are Apple, Apricot, Cherry, Nectarine, Peach, Pear, Plum), or Fruit Descriptions (search on keywords like red, white flesh, etc.)
    1. Click on the ‘(select)’ button and select what you want to search for from the drop-down menu
    2. Type in your keyword(s)
    3. Click Search
    4. If the search returns more than 20 listings they will be shown on more than one screen; to access the next screen click the > arrow at the bottom of the page.
  • Sort the database by Variety/cultivar or Fruit type – this is useful for browsing e.g. all the apples in the database
  • The home page shows Variety/cultivar, Fruit type and Fruit description for each variety.
  • To find out more about a variety, click on the name of the Variety/cultivar to see the full listing:
    1. Fruit description – characteristics of the fruit including skin colour, type and colour of flesh, flavour, storage characteristics.
    2. Origin – whether heritage or modern variety, country of origin etc.
    3. Pollination – listed when known. If no pollination information is known refer to ‘blossom time’ (see below) and try to match trees that flower at the same time.
    4. Chill hours – many fruit trees need a cold winter to bear a good crop of fruit. Chill hours represents the number of hours below 7C each winter, and is geographically specific. Some fruit trees require either low, medium or high chill conditions.
    5. Blossom time – one of the keys to good pollination is having varieties that flower together. If information about the correct polliniser is not available, often choosing another variety that flowers at the same time is enough to ensure adequate pollination.
    6. Harvest time (IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS) – Each Fruit Type has one “indicator variety”, and the ripening times for all other varieties are shown as +/- days from the indicator variety (if known, otherwise it may be shown as e.g. ‘early season’)
      1. Apple – Red Delicious
      2. Apricot – Rival
      3. Cherry – Bing
      4. Peach – Red Haven
      5. Nectarine – Independence
      6. Plum – Mariposa
      7. Pear – Packham
      8. To calculate the approximate harvest time of any variety in your area, first open the full listing for the appropriate indicator variety. Under ‘Harvest Time’ you’ll find information about dates the variety is likely to ripen in different climate zones around the world. Back up this approximation with any local knowledge you can get e.g. from other local growers, garden clubs or nurseries. Now it’s possible to choose which other varieties you want in your garden depending on whether you want them to ripen before or after Red Delicious (for example).
    7. Production notes – useful info about the tree including how big it might get (though this is also affected by rootstock, for example), whether it’s spur bearing or lateral bearing, whether it needs heavy thinning etc. We’ve also drawn on the ‘zoning’ codes developed in various parts of the world to help identify the type of climate that best suits the tree. (The zones are described in detail in the Global Climate Zone Map you can download from the Members Home Page).
    8. Disease susceptibility and resistance – this info can help you avoid particular problems, e.g. if you live in a high rainfall area you might like to choose apple varieties that are more resistant to Black spot (Apple scab).