Certain studies maintain the antioxidant potential of a single apple is equal to that of 20 oranges!

Malus pumila ‘McIntosh’

Apple tree

Malus pumila 'McIntosh'

Care Rating

Care rating

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Blooming and fruits period

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With its beautiful thick red covering, and its tender, juicy, slightly acidic white flesh, the McIntosh has seduced the palates of thousands of people who would rather fight then switch!

Harvest: starts in mid-September, and can go up to the end of October.

Tree: very hardy, vigorously growing tree that thrives even in zone 4.

Fruit: clear red skin with the occasional green cheek.

Flower: pink buds, turn into white flowers.

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Malus pumila 'McIntosh'
Malus pumila 'McIntosh'
Soil type

Apple trees need a well-drained, well-aerated soil with a generous dose of compost incorporated to a reasonable depth.


It’s recommended that, while you’re planting the tree, you add a supplement such as mycorrhiza or bone powder to promote root establishment.

Every spring, apply a 10-13-13 fruit tree fertiliser, as per the manufacturer’s directions.

Indirect pollination

Unless your McIntosh tree has a different variety of apple tree that flowers at the same time, within 24 to 30 metres, you’ll be lucky to get even a small percentage of the potential apple harvest.

For this purpose, ‘Melba’ and ‘Lobo’ are excellent pollinators.

For maximum fruit production

A moderate dry period in August fosters the production of flower buds, while severe dryness will have the opposite effect. Water to provide optimal conditions.

Any tree that has an abundance of fruit in a given year will only produce a moderate amount the following year. To avoid this eventuality, thin the young fruit in order to leave the year’s buds with enough energy to differentiate into flower buds.

Fruit thinning

Fruit thinning involves picking some fruit while they’re still young (about the size of a dime is perfect). Early June is best for this.

The benefits of thinning include:

  • Larger fruit
  • Higher sugar levels and less acidity
  • Even year-to-year harvests
  • Fruit of generally higher quality
  • A longer lifespan for you tree, as it isn’t stressed by over abundant production

Thinning — which is best undertaken in March or April, before the sap rises — involves cutting vertical branches, and branches that stop light from penetrating to the centre.

Pruning is eliminating dead, diseased or mangled branches.

Branches with bark inclusion (usually those with less than a 30° angle from the stem) should be eliminated because the easily break under the weight of the fruit.

If three dry, sunny days in a row are expected in early August, that’s the perfect time for pruning, as it prevents fire blight.

Phytosanitary (diseases, insects)

A good way to prevent apple-tree diseases is to apply dormant oil before the spring buds appear.

Apple trees are subject to fungal attacks

  • Brown-olive spots on leaves and fruit are a sign of a scab infestation. A sulphur treatment is the standard remedy.
  • A sodium-bicarbonate-based treatment is the best thing for whitish spots on foliage.
  • Cedar-apple rust, which is transmitted to apple trees from junipers, manifests as dark green lesions on the fruit that develop into a long orange cones. Spread both kinds of trees with a sulphur-based preventive treatment.
  • Fire blight: 2 to 3 weeks before flowering, branch ends are blackened as though exposed to fire. Avoid severe winter pruning, but eliminate adventitious shoots over the summer months.

Watch out for these insects

  • Codling moth: The larvae dig right into the fruit tree. Treat with Surround WP Kaolin Clay.
  • Weevil: Bite into young fruit, deforming them and provoking premature dropping. Treat with Surround WP Kaolin Clay.
  • Wood borer: A worm that digs a 25-centimetre-long (10-inch) tunnel under the bark. Poke a metal stick into the hole to kill it.
  • Scale: Covers the bark to suck the tree sap. Treat with lime sulphur.
  • Aphid: Drinks sap from under the leaves. Treat with a soap insecticide.
  • Apple maggot: The larvae dig channels in the fruit. Treat with Surround WP Kaolin Clay.
  • Never spray your apple tree when the flowers are open because that will affect the bees and considerably reduce fruit production.
Nutritional value of red apples
1 fresh apple, medium size
Amount % Daily Value*
Calories: 72
Fat 0.2 g 0 %
  • Fibres
19 g
2.6 g
6 %
10 %
Protein 0.4 g  
Vitamin C 6.4 mg 11 %
Potassium 148 mg 4 %
Copper 0.037 mg 2 %

Reference: Canadian nutrient file — Health Canada. Values based on % of daily value (% DV) and reference standards.

As a food

Excellent eaten fresh, with its small to medium size making it ideal for a child’s lunchbox. It also makes good compote, juice and cider, as well as being ideal for some desserts.

Julie’s recipe:
Apple compote with maple syrup

Apple compote

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