The Red Falstaff apple is a sport of, unsurprisingly, the Falstaff apple and, thanks to its richer colour, has become more popular with amateur growers. The deeper red colour is the only real difference; otherwise, they have the same scrunchy bite, tartly sweet flavour and high juice content that is great for use as a sharp element in a cider blend. In a sunny year, fruit from the South will take on a shiny, cricket ball red colour but a slightly streaky, paler colour is more common after most British summers. Get picking in the first week of October; Red Falstaff apples store until the end of December, so we suggest that you juice and then freeze extra fruit if you have too much (or make it all into cider!).
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Red Falstaff's History and Parentage: An apple sport is a tree that was grafted from a branch of another apple tree that, for some reason produced fruit that was a bit different from the apples on the tree's normal branches. In many cases, the fruit of the sport is a deeper colour than the parent's, which tends make them more attractive to buyers - the tree itself is usually identical to the parent. The original Falstaff apple was bred from Golden Delicious and James Grieve in the 1960's by Dr Frank Alston in the East Malling Research Centre, Kent. The Red Falstaff Sport appeared in the late 1980's and swiftly became a hit with growers and consumers.
Pollination Partners for Malus Red Falstaff: Your trees are almost fully self-fertile, so while a pollination partner will improve cropping slightly, it isn't essential if you would like to know more, visit our Fruit Tree Pollination table.
Rootstocks, Growing Notes and Pruning & Planting Advice:
Your trees have a bit of a weeping habit, which makes them stand out from most other apple trees - it also makes harvesting easier. The flowers on these hardy plants are more frost resistant than average, so they are a sensible choice for planting in the North if you don't mind the loss of colour on the fruit (they still taste the same). As with any apple tree, carry out pruning during the winter, unless you are growing your trees as a cordon. Remove dead, diseased or damaged wood whenever you spot it. Your trees are heavy and regular croppers. We use the dwarfing rootstock M9 for the cordons - remember that trees on M9 need to be supported - and the MM106 rootstock for everything else. This is a great all-round rootstock that can be used for fans, espaliers or medium-sized trees up to about 4 metres.
If you are unclear about fruit tree sizes, please take a look at our Guide to Fruit Tree Sizing.