Table of contents:

Apple-tree Melba: Description And Characteristics Of The Variety, Advantages And Disadvantages, Planting And Care Features + Photos And Reviews
Apple-tree Melba: Description And Characteristics Of The Variety, Advantages And Disadvantages, Planting And Care Features + Photos And Reviews

Video: Apple-tree Melba: Description And Characteristics Of The Variety, Advantages And Disadvantages, Planting And Care Features + Photos And Reviews

Video: APPLE Mutso white apples, red apples apple Melba 2022, December

Apple tree Melba: variety description and tips for growing

Apple tree Melba
Apple tree Melba

Apples are one of the most popular fruits grown by Russians on their private plots wherever the climate allows. Among the variety of varieties bred by breeders, the Melba apple tree has enjoyed constant success for more than a decade. The variety is appreciated both in Russia and all over the world. What is the reason for its enduring popularity?


  • 1 Description and characteristics of the Melba variety

    • 1.1 Advantages and disadvantages of the variety
    • 1.2 Video about the variety
  • 2 Landing features

    • 2.1 Time and place
    • 2.2 Selecting a seedling
    • 2.3 Preparing for landing
    • 2.4 Step by step process

      2.4.1 How to plant an apple tree correctly - video

  • 3 Tree care

    • 3.1 Barrel circle
    • 3.2 Watering
    • 3.3 Fertilization
    • 3.4 Cropping
    • 3.5 Preparing for winter

      3.5.1 Preparing a tree for wintering - video

  • 4 Diseases and pests

    • 4.1 Diseases of the apple tree and methods of their treatment - table

      • 4.1.1 Diseases of the apple tree in the photo
      • 4.1.2 How to deal with scab on an apple tree - video tutorial
    • 4.2 Insect pests affecting apple trees - table

      • 4.2.1 Harmful insects in the photo
      • 4.2.2 How to deal with pests - video
  • 5 Harvesting apples
  • 6 Reviews of gardeners

Description and characteristics of the Melba variety

Nelly Melba
Nelly Melba

Nelly Melba is the opera diva after whom one of the most popular apple varieties is named

The Melba apple tree (sometimes the name of the variety is written as "Melba") was obtained in Canada in 1898 by free pollination of the natural McIntosh variety (McIntosh). The one who first received the seeds at the breeding station must have been a passionate music lover. The hybrid was named in honor of one of the most famous opera singers of that time - Australian Nelly Melba. Despite the fact that it is more than a century old, the variety is considered quite young by the standards of fruit trees.

Apple Melba
Apple Melba

The average weight of apples from Melba is 150 g, but there are also such specimens

The variety quickly gained popularity in Russia and the countries of the former USSR. It was entered into the State Register in 1947. Today Melba is found wherever the climate permits. The exceptions are the Urals, Siberia and the Far East.

The trees of this variety are medium-sized (up to 3 m), the crown is wide, rounded, not too dense. On a dwarf rootstock, the tree is even lower - 1.8–2 m. The bark is colored brown with an orange or rusty tint. The crown is formed rather slowly. For the first few years, apple trees look more columnar.

Light green oval leaves, elongated. Sometimes there is a yellowish tint. On the oldest branches, due to the developed central vein, they are slightly concave. Small denticles run along the entire edge.

The flowers are very large. The petals are white, pale pink at the base, tightly adjacent to each other. Sometimes even a small overlap is formed. The buds are almost purple.

Blooming apple trees
Blooming apple trees

Blooming apple tree will decorate the garden

The fruits ripen in mid-August. If the summer was not too warm - at the beginning of September. Apples of medium size, weighing 130–150 g, some specimens up to 200 g. The shape is round, towards the base the apple slightly expands, therefore it seems flattened and resembles a cone. The skin is dense, but very thin, smooth, covered with a gray "waxy" coating. Ripe apples are light green, with a striped “blush” where the sun hits the fruit. The bright red spot covers about half of the apple's surface area. In this place, small subcutaneous dots, white or pale yellow, are clearly visible.

The pulp is very tender and juicy, crispy, fine-grained, almost snow-white in color. The apples taste sweet and sour, with an amazing aroma of caramel sweets.

Cutaway Melba fruit
Cutaway Melba fruit

Melba apple pulp is almost perfectly white

Melba is not only tasty but also healthy apples. They contain:

  • sugar - 10-11%;
  • titratable acids - 0.75–0.8%;
  • pectin - about 10%;
  • vitamin C - 13-15 mg per 100 g.

Advantages and disadvantages of the variety

The undoubted advantages of the variety include:

  • Early maturity. The first harvest can be expected 4 years after planting the seedlings in the ground.
  • Productivity. From one apple tree over 10 years old, 50–80 kg of fruit can be harvested annually.
  • Fruit appearance. The apples are not only delicious, but also very beautiful. This is an important factor for those who sell and grow them on an industrial scale.
  • Keeping quality. Under suitable conditions, apples will lie until mid-winter. Moreover, they practically do not suffer during transportation.

As always, there are drawbacks:

  • Insufficient winter hardiness. However, on the basis of Melba, breeders have bred many more cold-resistant hybrids (Karavella, Zavetnoye, Early Aloe, Red Early, Prima, Melba Red, Melba's Daughter), which retain the best qualities of the "parent".
  • Weak scab resistance.
  • Irregular fruiting. The older the tree becomes, the less often it bears fruit. It is impossible to predict whether there will be a harvest this year, since the cycle of fruiting is not visible. But this is a common misfortune for most fruit and stone fruits.
  • Self-infertility. In order for the Melba fruits to start, you need to plant a few more apple trees of different varieties.

Young apple trees of the Melba variety yield consistently

Melba has so-called clones:

  • Melba Red (or Melba Red). Self-fertile variety, bred in Canada. The crown is more like a cone than a ball, the tree is vigorous. Less affected by scab. It differs from the main variety in bright red, almost crimson color of the fruit. In size, they are on average 50 g larger than the classic Melba.

    Melba Red
    Melba Red

    Melba Red fully lives up to the name, the apples are almost raspberry

  • Melba's daughter. The clone was born in the Leningrad Region (Pavlovsk Experimental Station). It also surpasses the "parent" in fruit weight and scab resistance. When both varieties are planted side by side, they are excellent pollinators for each other. However, the harvest is stored for no more than a month. This clone tolerates winter frosts better. It is suitable for growing throughout Russia. But, of course, it will not work to achieve the maximum yield in Siberia and the Urals.

    Melba's daughter
    Melba's daughter

    Apple tree Melba's daughter tolerates frost better than the original

Variety video

Landing features

Time and place

The optimal time for planting Melba seedlings is autumn. Focus on when the first frost usually occurs in your area. The apple tree must be planted in the ground at least 35-40 days before. It is best to plan a landing from mid-September to the end of the first decade of October.

The Melba apple tree is not high, but when planting between neighboring trees, you need to leave at least 7 meters, between rows - about 3 m.In the first few years between apple trees, to save space, you can grow raspberries, currants, strawberries, cucumbers, legumes.

Apple orchard
Apple orchard

The distance between apple trees should not be less than twice the height of an adult tree

The soil is preferable light and fertile. The best option is loam. Heavy silty or clayey soil is categorically not suitable. River sand can be added to black soil.

Check the acidity of the soil first. For Melba, neutral or slightly alkaline soil is preferable. If this is not the case, add dolomite flour (500 g per m²) while digging.

Good drainage is very important, especially if the groundwater is close to the surface. To avoid root rot, plant Melba on a hillside or dig a groove to regulate the water level. This way you will avoid problems associated with stagnant melt water and prolonged autumn rainfall.

Melba is also demanding on the presence of sunlight and has an extremely negative attitude towards cold drafts. When these conditions are not met, the apples do not turn red, they become smaller, and they are not so sweet.

Sapling selection

Choose a one year old or two year old seedling. Those that grew normally by this time have a height of 40–80 cm, 2-3 lateral shoots and a developed root system.

The bark should be smooth to the touch, uniform in color, without cracks, knots, or bumps. In a healthy tree, it is elastic, not wrinkled.

Preparing for landing

The landing pit is prepared in advance, 12-15 days before disembarkation. The optimum depth is 70–80 cm, width and length - 100 cm. The fertile soil removed from the pit (upper 25–30 cm) is mixed in equal parts with peat and compost or humus, and 2 times less coarse river sand is added.

Wood ash (200 g for every 5 liters of soil), simple or double superphosphate (400 g or half) and potassium sulfate (150-200 g) are also added there. Fertilizers with nitrogen content are not applied - the tree will not be able to prepare for wintering.

2-3 days before planting, the roots of the apple tree are dipped into a container of water. You can add potassium permanganate there (to a pale pink color) for disinfection or Epin to stimulate growth.

Immediately before planting in the ground, cut off all the leaves with sharp scissors. The roots are coated with a mixture of clay and fresh cow dung, diluted with water to a state of thick slurry.

Step by step process

Planting an apple tree
Planting an apple tree

Apple tree planting scheme

  1. At the bottom of the pit, a mound 15–20 cm high is formed from fertile soil.
  2. At a distance of 10–15 cm from its center, a peg is inserted for support. Height - at least 70 cm above the upper edge of the pit.
  3. A seedling is placed on a mound, the roots are carefully straightened and the hole is covered with soil in small portions, periodically tamping it. Make sure that the root collar is 4–6 cm above the upper edge of the pit.
  4. When the pit is completely filled up, the soil is compacted again. At a distance of 40–50 cm from the trunk, a low barrier (10–12 cm) is formed, surrounding it with a ring.
  5. The planted apple tree is tied to a support and watered abundantly (15–20 l). When the moisture is completely absorbed, the trunk circle is mulched.

How to plant an apple tree correctly - video

Tree care

Apple trees of this variety are relatively unpretentious, but they do not tolerate cold well. Along with watering, maintaining cleanliness in the near-stem circle, weeding and fertilizing, special attention should be paid to preparing trees for wintering.

Barrel circle

A circle with a radius of 50–100 cm should be weeded regularly.

In the fall, be sure to dig it up, remove fallen apples, dry leaves and broken branches. Such garbage is a "home" for larvae and eggs of pests, spores of fungi and bacteria. You create very comfortable wintering conditions for them.


An adult tree should receive 10 to 20 liters of water per day. Watering is adjusted according to weather conditions. In extreme heat, you can additionally spray the foliage from a spray bottle.

Moisture is especially important at the time of ovary (you can do with melt water) and active ripening of fruits - from mid-July. If you neglect watering, most of the crop will crumble before it ripens. It will also negatively affect the next fruiting. Simultaneously with the ripening of the crop, flower buds are tied - future apples.

Beginning in mid-August, watering is gradually reduced. This contributes to the correct preparation of the tree for winter. If the end of summer and autumn are rainy, you don't need to water the apple tree at all. The soil is moistened only as needed. To retain moisture longer, you can mulch the trunk circle, for example, with peat.


In the first year, if the planting pit was prepared according to all the rules, you can refrain from feeding. Then, every year in early May, before flowering, water Melba with a urea solution (500 g per 10 liters of water). Carry out the same feeding in another month.

In summer, until the end of July, Melba is fed with organic matter with an interval of 15–20 days. Fresh cow dung diluted with water (1: 8) or chicken droppings (1:12), infusion of nettle greens (1: 2) are suitable. The leaves and stems are cut, filled with water, tightly closed and the container is left in the sun. When a characteristic smell appears (after 3-4 days), the liquid is filtered and used for watering.

In the fall, dig up the trunk circle again, adding dolomite flour (400 g for young seedlings, 700 - for adult trees), superphosphate (80-100 g double or twice as much simple) and potassium sulfate (50-70 g) into the soil. Or apply a complex fertilizer containing phosphorus and potassium (Nitrofoska, Diammofoska, Autumn, ABA). You can dilute all this in water and water the apple tree, forming an annular groove with a depth of at least 10 cm.


Apple pruning
Apple pruning

The crown of the apple tree is formed based on this scheme

Planted in autumn, Melba needs pruning already next spring. You need to have time to carry out the procedure before the awakening of leaf and flower buds, so that the damage is minimal. The central branch, the conductor, is cut by a third. 2-3 growth buds are left on the lateral shoots.

The next 2-3 years form the crown. The length of the main shoot is also removed. Several shoots are left on the skeletal branches, growing at an angle of about 45 ° to the trunk. All others are cut to the first growth bud.

Further, the main focus is on sanitary pruning. In autumn and spring, cut off all dried, dead and diseased branches, as well as shoots growing down and deep into the crown. This will greatly facilitate tree maintenance, pest control and harvesting. They also remove vertically growing branches - the so-called tops. The fruits are not tied to them. They can only be left if the tree has been badly damaged in winter. This is a good basis for the formation of new skeletal branches.

To get a harvest 4-5 years after planting, the first 2-3 years, all the buds formed are cut off. This will allow the tree to quickly adapt to the climate and "gather strength" for future fruiting.

Preparing for winter

Be sure to whitewash the trunk and skeletal branches at least a third of the height. Whitewash young seedlings entirely. Prepare a solution of 10 liters of water and 1 kg of slaked lime. Just before whitewashing, add 100 g of HOM preparation (or half as much Fundazol or copper sulfate), 50 g of fine tar soap shavings, 20 ml of stationery glue and 1.5–2 kg of powdered clay. The clay can be pre-dried in an oven or oven and crushed. Mix everything thoroughly.


Whitewashing the apple tree trunk is an effective measure against rodents

Build a shelter for the trunk to prevent hares and mice from chewing on your tree. The trunk is wrapped with burlap or tarpaulin in several layers, laying each of them with straw, and the whole structure is securely fixed. Nylon tights are also suitable. It is undesirable to use plastic wrap - it does not allow air to pass through, moisture condenses under it. This contributes to the development of rot and mold.

Another option is to tie the branches of a young seedling and put a narrow cardboard box on the trunk, stuffing it with straw or torn newspapers, covering it with peat. In winter, be sure to periodically check the condition of the branches. Mark those that are frozen to prune in the spring.

Apple trees in winter
Apple trees in winter

For the winter, warm the apple tree trunk with breathable material

If the winter is snowy, rake a snowdrift around the trunk. This will additionally insulate the apple tree and nourish the soil with moisture in the spring. It is only necessary to break the crust formed during the thaw in time.

Preparing a tree for wintering - video

Diseases and pests

One of the main disadvantages of Melba is its poor resistance to fungal diseases, primarily scab. Therefore, in order to get a stable harvest, you need to regularly examine apple trees for characteristic symptoms, be able to identify the problem and know how to cope with it.

Diseases of the apple tree and methods of their treatment - table

Disease Symptoms Prevention and control methods
Scab First, brownish spots appear on the leaves, then the disease spreads to the fruits. Rapidly growing dark gray spots and cracks appear on the apples. The growth of fruits stops, they fall off. For prophylaxis in the spring, at the time of the appearance of the leaves, Melba is sprayed with Horus, Skor and Oxykh, preparing a solution according to the instructions. The norm for an adult tree is 1.5–2.5 liters. If the problem was noted last year, after flowering, they are sprayed again with the same preparations or colloidal sulfur (25 g per 5 l of water).

In the fall, it is useful to water the near-trunk circle with urea (0.5 kg per 10 liters of water).

Powdery mildew A thin layer of off-white bloom appears on the leaves. It is easy to erase at first. Then it thickens, turns brown, the smallest black dots are noted. The leaves lack moisture and oxygen, they turn yellow, curl, dry and fall off. Inflorescences also fall off without setting fruit. At the time of leaf blooming, the apple tree is sprayed with Topaz. After flowering - HOM (copper oxychloride) - 20 g per 5 liters of water. When the entire crop is harvested, for prevention, another spraying is carried out with copper or iron sulfate (for 10 liters of water - 50 g of the product and 10 g of finely planed laundry soap) or Bordeaux liquid (100 ml per 10 liters).

You can alternate between HOM and colloidal sulfur (70 g per 10 L of water). The trunk circle is thoroughly cleaned of fallen leaves and other debris.

Moniliosis (fruit rot) Fruits have brown spots that are soft to the touch. They grow rapidly. Concentric circles of whitish growths appear. The pulp also turns brown, you can't eat it. The apples are falling. Any fruit that has fallen or is hanging on the tree and showing signs of damage should be collected regularly and destroyed immediately. Three-time spraying also helps: when the leaves are blooming - Quickly, after flowering - Horus, 20-25 days before the apples are fully ripe - Fundazol.
Cytosporosis Dark spots appear on the bark, resembling burns or ulcers. They grow rapidly, changing color to brick or reddish brown. The wood becomes brittle. Even thick branches break easily with the slightest effort. On the break, thin black "threads" are clearly visible - the mycelium. The development of cytosporosis is facilitated by excessive watering and a lack of fertilizers. Therefore, do not neglect the care recommendations. The apple trees are sprayed three times. The leaf buds have not yet opened (but at a temperature not lower than +15 ºС) and after flowering - with the preparation HOM (50 g per 10 l of water). Before flowering - Fundazol (45 g per 10 l of water).

In autumn, fertilizers containing phosphorus and potassium (superphosphate, potassium sulfate, potassium chloride) are applied to the soil.

Dry top The upper branches shed their leaves and dry up. The apple tree lacks zinc. Spray it with zinc sulfate (also known as zinc sulfate). For 10 liters of water - 50 g of the substance.
Black cancer The trunk and branches of the apple tree are cracking, next to the places of the fractures, the wood and bark look as if burned. Affected shoots dry up. The most common cause is trauma caused by pruning. Therefore, use only sharpened and disinfected instruments. Treat all sections with a 2-3% solution of copper sulfate and cover with garden varnish.

There is no effective cure. You can only cut off the affected branches and process the cuts.

Bacterial burn Leaves curl, fruits wrinkle. Both blackens and falls in the middle of summer. There are no effective remedies at all. The only way out is to destroy the focus of the disease or the whole apple tree, until the bacteria or fungus has infected the entire garden.

For prophylaxis, purchase seedlings only in proven places, destroy pests that carry the infection, disinfect the tool after each use. It is also useful to spray the soil in spring and autumn with a 2-3% solution of copper sulfate.

Milky shine The bark and leaves take on a silvery hue, clearly visible in the sun. With the further development of the disease, the leaves completely discolor, dark brown spots appear on the bark.

Diseases of the apple tree in the photo

Milky shine
Milky shine

Milky sheen is easy to identify but hard to get rid of

Bacterial burn
Bacterial burn

A bacterial burn is most often brought into the area with new seedlings.

Black cancer
Black cancer

Trees damaged by black cancer seem to have survived a fire


In apple trees affected by cytosporosis, the thickest branches easily break


Moniliosis is easily recognized by concentric circles of white dots.

Powdery mildew
Powdery mildew

White powdery mildew on the leaves seems harmless, but this is not at all true.


Melba most often suffers from scab

How to deal with scab on an apple tree - video tutorial

In addition to diseases, fruit trees also suffer from pests that can rob you of your harvest in a matter of days. The breeders are unable to do anything about this. Apple Melba is no exception.

Insect pests affecting apple trees - table

Pest Symptoms Prevention and control methods
Apple moth Butterflies lay their eggs in flower buds. Caterpillars hatched from eggs completely gnaw out the seed chamber, then gnaw their way out and move to intact fruits, contaminating the pulp with their excrement along the way. Apples cease to ripen, fall off. You can't eat them. The larvae overwinter in fallen leaves, apples and other debris. Therefore, thoroughly clean and dig up the trunk circle every autumn. Wear sticky belts on trees in the spring. After 12-14 days after flowering, spray the ovaries with Fastak and Tsimbush.
Apple leaflet Adults lay eggs on young leaves, which curl up into a tube. The hatched caterpillars feed on greenery, only the veins remain. Caterpillars move very quickly, if touched, they fall, hanging on a thin cobweb. Before blooming of leaf buds and immediately before flowering, the buds and buds are sprayed with the preparation Cymbush.
Apple shield Small, dark brown, almost flat growths appear on the bark. Pests suck sap from trees. If the scale insect has multiplied en masse, the apple tree stops growing, dries up, the flowers fall off, the fruits are not tied. The soil and tree in the spring, before flowering, are sprayed with Aktara or Nitrofen (2% solution). For prevention, wash the apple tree every spring with a stiff brush dipped in the following solutions. For 10 liters of water and 50 g of fine shavings of tar soap, take 2 cups of sifted wood ash or 200 g of fluffy lime and 50 ml of copper sulfate, or 300 g of dolomite flour and 35 g of HOM preparation. Air temperature during processing is not less than + 15… + 17 ºС. In autumn, spray the tree and soil with Karbofos or Metaphos.
Apple blossom beetle Beetles gnaw flower buds and buds from the inside and lay eggs there. As a result, the buds, not having time to bloom, dry up and fall off. While the buds are swelling, shake the apple tree several times, spread a cloth or oilcloth under it, destroy the beetles that have fallen from the tree. Spray almost blossoming buds with a solution of Chlorophos (50 g per 10 l of water).
Apple sawfly Caterpillars eat the pulp and seeds of unripe fruits. The apples shrivel and fall off. Before and after flowering apple trees are sprayed with Karbofos and Chlorophos (35–40 g per 10 l of water).
Hawthorn Eggs overwinter in fallen leaves, held together by cobwebs to resemble a nest. There may be nests in trees. In the spring, the hatched larvae destroy leaf and flower buds, young greenery and flowers. Until the leaves bloom, apple trees and the soil under them must be sprayed with Karate.

Harmful insects in the photo


Sawflies feed on the pulp of unripe apples

Flower beetle
Flower beetle

The flower beetle lays eggs in the buds with a long proboscis


Massively proliferated scale insects cover the trunk with a continuous layer

Fruit moth
Fruit moth

Apples damaged by the moth cannot be eaten


Hawthorns on the apple tree are visible, so they can be harvested by hand

How to deal with pests - video

Harvesting apples

The first fruits of Melba ripen in mid-August, if the summer was warm and sunny enough. Further fruiting continues until the end of September.

Apples are harvested by hand - no need to shake the tree and pick up fruits from the ground. It is also strongly not recommended to erase the bluish "bloom" from apples and pull out the stalk. You will significantly reduce their keeping quality and transportability. Fallen apples should be eaten or processed immediately.

The variety is completely versatile. Delicious apples are suitable both for fresh consumption and for canning for the winter. Jams, jams, marmalades, compotes and juices are simply amazing. If there is nowhere to store all this, dry the apples. The benefits do not suffer in the least.

Apple jam
Apple jam

Melba's apple jam smells fantastic

If you want to remove the fruits for long-term storage, harvest them 7-10 days before they are fully ripe. It is very important to choose the right moment. Quite unripe apples wrinkle quickly, overripe apples turn brown and acquire an unpleasant mealy taste. In order not to be mistaken, cut the apple. The seeds should be soft, green-brown.

Melba will stay in the refrigerator until the New Year. Another good option is a cellar. Selected for storage, even, smooth fruits without the slightest traces of disease and pests are immediately after collection cooled to a temperature of + 4 … + 5 ºС and transferred to storage.

The best container for apples is wooden crates. Plastic is also suitable, but in this case ventilation holes are required. Apples are placed in a container in layers, so that they do not touch each other. The layers are sprinkled with sawdust, scraps of paper, dry leaves, sand or peat. Needles, coniferous sawdust and straw will not work. The latter will quickly melt away, from the rest there will be an unpleasant aftertaste of resin. For added protection, each apple can be wrapped in a napkin or soft paper. The fewer the points of contact between apples, the longer the harvest will last.

Apple harvest
Apple harvest

Melba gardeners grow not only for themselves, but also for sale

Gardeners reviews






The Melba apple tree was bred over 100 years ago, but its popularity with new generations of gardeners remains unchanged. This is easy to explain, because the variety has many advantages, is unpretentious in care and is grown in areas with a wide variety of climates. If you follow the simple rules of agricultural technology, the annual bountiful harvests and fruit taste will be a worthy reward for you.

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