The Q&A Archives: Growing Apple Trees in Maine

Question: I would like to plant just a couple of apple trees in central Maine. I am having trouble finding info. Can a Cortland tree and a MacIntosh tree be planted near each other and will they pollinate? If not, what do I plant with each tree to ensure pollination? When do I spray and with what chemical? What is the best time to prune and how do I do that? If this is too much for one question, please help with the pollination problem so I can at least get them planted. Thank you.

Answer: Most apple varieties are self-fruitful, but will produce more fruit if cross-pollinated with another variety. I think you would be fine with those two varieties. However, before you purchase the trees, have you considered planting some of the new disease-resistant varieties? Macs, in particular, are very susceptible to the fungal disease apple scab, and will require frequent spraying to achieve clean fruit. There are several scab-resistant varieties, including some new ones like 'Liberty' and 'Nova EasyGro'; some heirloom varieties are also somewhat resistant. I suggest you visit the following web page from St. Lawrence Nurseries. These folks are the experts at growing fruit in the north (they are based in zone 3 in Potsdam, NY) and their web page is very helpful. There carry a large selection of apples; see the chart on their web site:

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