The Ginger Gold apple tree is one of the most commonly-grown commercial apple varieties in the United States. You can find it in grocery stores anywhere in the country when it ripens, earlier than most apples. With most apples ready to fall from the tree in autumn, the Ginger Gold can be found in mid to late summer.
The popularity of this sweet, soft-fleshed apple variety prompted it to be presented as the official fruit of Virginia in 2007, though the bill was never passed. However, this mild, sweet apple is enjoyed in every state around the country both raw and cooked. It has been called one of the best early-ripening apple varieties, along with the Gala.
History of The Ginger Gold Apple Tree
The Ginger Gold apple developed naturally as a variation of the Golden Delicious apple. It was discovered in Virginia in the 1960s. In 1969, Hurricane Camille hit the East Coast of the United States, causing severe flooding. It particularly affected many apple orchards, including those owned by Clyde and Ginger Harvey.
As they searched for surviving trees, the Harveys discovered a Ginger Gold seedling. When they transplanted it, the tree bore yellow fruit. Analysis showed that it was a relative of the Golden Delicious and Albemarle Pippin varieties as well as a third variety.
It entered the commercial market and gained popularity, especially through the beginning of the 21st century.
Ginger Gold Apple Tree And Fruit Characteristics
The Ginger Gold apple tree is smaller than most varieties, which makes them a great choice for smaller yards. In April, they bloom with small pinkish-white flowers.
The Ginger Gold apple is most recognizable from its pale yellow color, small size, and long stalk. The fruit is shaped like a cone. Its skin has a waxy coat. When it first appears on the tree, it is pale green but with time will ripen to yellow. The flesh of the Ginger Gold is a cream color.
A particularly useful characteristic of the fruit is its long shelf life. In the refrigerator or other cool environment, the Ginger Gold apple will remain good to eat for one to two months.
Like most apple trees, the Ginger Gold can handle moderately cool temperatures. Its ideal growing regions are USDA zones 4 through 8.
To learn more about planting the Ginger Gold Apple Tree, follow this link.
Size And Spacing
Ginger Gold apple trees are smaller than most apple varieties. At full maturity, they usually reach between 12 and 15 feet. This puts them in the category of semi-dwarf trees. You can also find a dwarf variety of the tree that reaches a maximum of eight feet at maturity, with a similar canopy spread to the semi-dwarves.
Spacing apple trees like the Ginger Gold can be tricky. That is because they need to be far enough away from other trees to get enough sunlight and soil nutrients but close enough to allow for cross-pollination.
In general, you should plant full-sized apple trees 15 to 18 feet apart and dwarf varieties between six and eight feet apart. As a semi-dwarf, the Ginger Gold needs between eight and 15 feet of space. This lets it spread its roots and canopy to get adequate nutrients from the sun and soil.
In general, the Ginger Gold apple tree does not need an unusual amount of care. With basic watering, pruning, and disease prevention, it is likely to thrive and produce a large crop of fruit every year.
Like most apple trees, the Ginger Gold apple may be vulnerable to most common apple tree diseases. These, if not caught early, can kill your tree and ruin the developing fruit. For this reason, many gardeners prefer to treat apple trees preventively each year with a special fungicide.
The Ginger Gold apple tree needs full sunlight to thrive. This means a minimum of six hours of sun every day, though more is optimal.
For the most part, if you get at least an inch of water every one to two weeks, you don’t need to water your Ginger Gold apple tree any more. You might want to give it a little bit more while it is still young or newly planted. But as long as your area isn’t experiencing a bad dry spell, you won’t need to water.
Prune in the winter when the tree is dormant. The goal should be to open the canopy up to let the central parts of the tree better access the sun. Remove any branches that are dead or showing signs of disease.
When you cut the branches, make sure it is at an angle. This is to direct moisture away from the cut. Prune to improve the growth of horizontal branches and provide a system of supporting branches around the tree’s main trunk.
Learn more about pruning the Ginger Gold Apple Tree here.
Diseases And Care
The Ginger Gold apple tree is more susceptible to mildew than most apple varieties. Check your tree regularly for signs of powdery mildew. If you see any, spray it with a commercial fungicide. Other diseases that threaten the Ginger Gold apple tree include cedar apple rust and fire blight.
You may want to consider applying fungicide at the beginning of the grow season as a preventive measure.
Aphids, mites, and Japanese beetles are a few of the insects that might threaten the Ginger Gold apple tree. Apple trees are generally more susceptible to pests than other fruit trees.
You might also find yourself fighting bark beetles, apple maggots, codling moths, and flat-headed apple tree borers.
The best way to combat these and avoid danger to your tree (and potentially your harvest) is through preventative care. Set traps and spray pesticide in the early season to keep your tree from becoming infested.
Common Uses For The Ginger Gold Apple
The Ginger Gold apple is most commonly eaten raw, since it stores well. The flesh is slow to oxidize, which makes it ideal for slicing and adding to dishes like fruit salad.
What Does The Ginger Gold Apple Taste Like?
The Ginger Gold apple has a crisp flesh with a mild, sweet taste. It is slightly more tart than its relative, the Golden Delicious.
Ginger Gold apples are prized for their use in baking and cooking because they keep their shape well. Unlike some apple varieties that tend to become slack or mushy, this variety holds together. This makes it an ideal choice for pies, bread, cake, and other pastries.
They are also a popular choice for homemade applesauce. Their softer-than-average flesh has a great texture for dishes like these and the taste is delicious.
Eating raw is by far the most well-known way to enjoy the Ginger Gold apple. They keep extremely well, even when cut up, and are slow to turn brown even with prolonged air exposure. That makes them a great choice for incorporating raw into savory dishes or sweet ones like fruit salad or just cutting up in a packed lunch.
Of course, if you prefer, you can also enjoy them straight from the tree as whole fruit.
Ginger Gold apples are a great choice for jams, jellies, applesauce, and other types of preserves. They are especially good for anything that requires fruit to hold its shape (even just in part).
You can also easily dry these apples at home with a dehydrator, making them a delicious addition to trail mix, bread, cookies, and more.
You may not think you can freeze apples, but you can! Ginger Gold apples can be frozen either whole or in slices. Alternatively, you can also freeze them after cooking, such as for applesauce.
Though Ginger Gold apples are usually eaten raw, you can add them to many recipes. Try a savory recipe like Apple Chicken Salad, which is a great main course for a picnic or family lunch. If you prefer apples in pastries or sweet dishes, try some Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp or Apple Fritters.
The Ginger Gold apple is also a great choice in classic apple dishes like simple apple pie.
Health Benefits of that Fruit
Like other apple varieties, the Ginger Gold apple is high in fiber, which is important to digestive health. Apples contain many important vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin C and potassium.
You can learn more about the health benefits of the Ginger Gold apple here.
Where To Buy This Fruit Tree?
You can buy the Ginger Gold apple tree from commercial nurseries like Nature Hills.
Where To Buy The Fruit
The Ginger Gold apple is widely grown in the commercial market, so you can find it at most grocery stores around the country. You are most likely to spy it on shelves during the harvest, which happens between July and August, depending on where you live.
Should You Fertilize The Ginger Gold Apple Tree?
The Ginger Gold apple tree needs annual nitrogen feeding. This should take place in the early spring once the tree is a few years old.
However, you should make sure that you don’t over-fertilize or do so more than once a year. That’s because soil that has too much nitrogen can stimulate leaf growth at the expense of bud growth, leading to a lush green tree that doesn’t produce much fruit.
To prevent this, you may want to do a soil test in your garden before fertilizing.
How Do I Know If My Tree Has Pests Or Disease?
Sometimes, it is obvious if your apple tree is infested by insects. You may be able to spot actual insects like slugs or beetles. However, it’s important to learn to recognize the signs of infestation or disease. This ensures that you can take quick action to treat your tree.
Different types of pests or disease can also require special treatment, so it’s important to know the cause of your tree’s problems. This ensures that you find the right treatment.
Common signs of disease include: leaves with green, black or brown spots, “scabs” on the fruit and foliage, yellowed leaves, velvety-looking growths, or rotten-looking spots on the branches, leaves, or fruit.
Common signs of pests include: wooly-looking clusters on leaves and branches, pits in fruit skin, holes in apples, sticky white or black residue, or holes in the leaves or limbs.
Wrapping up The Ginger Gold Apple Tree
If you want to try an apple that remains a classic around the country, the Ginger Gold apple tree is a great choice. You’ll love having this friendly little tree in your garden or yard, especially when it produces its delicious fruit.
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