Separated at Birth? Apples

Spartan                                                                                      It's a mystery to me!
I have an exciting 'Case of the Mysterious Apple' to solve up at the allotment as my Spartan apple tree is also sporting some completely different apples this year.

The green apple shown on the right is confined to a sturdy upright branch. I've traced it back and it looks like I missed one of the growths from below the graft union when pruning a couple of years ago.

I'm in the process of asking my apple supplier if he knows which variety it is. He often grafts his own trees, so may have the information to hand. When I asked about rootstock at Marlborough Apple Day recently, the local nurseryman there was rather surprised as they're usually from a crab apple variety, rather than the larger apple I have.

I've yet to do a taste test as it isn't quite ripe enough for picking. I can tell this because it's staying firmly attached to the branch when I gently cup my hand around the apple and lift it up.

The usual advice would be to prune this extra branch out and to rub out any subsequent regrowth. However, my Spartan tree (which I'm training as a cordon) is extremely prolific and assuming my mystery apple tastes OK, I'm tempted to see what happens if I keep it growing with both apples. I'll keep you posted!

Have you experienced anything like this as well? What did you do? Or have you had another gardening mystery to solve this year?


  1. That's really intriguing. I do love Spartan apples - interesting to see how the intruder compares!

  2. Hi hillwards - it's one of our favourites too - really crisp and juicy :)

  3. very interesting i have never heard of that before unless it was graft before you brought it and you were not told well wait and see what comes out of your tasting of the apple when ready for eating
    have a great weekend

  4. Hi Linda - the branch grew after I bought it, but I incorrectly identified it as being above the graft when I came to prune the tree. I'll be taste testing it soon :)

  5. Whatever the outcome, I'm sure it will make a interesting post. I'll be watching for an update!
    Have a great day!
    Lea's menagerie

  6. Hi Lea - I love mysteries and experimenting, so this is perfect for me - and the blog :)

  7. How interesting! Thought it looked a bit like a 'golden delicious'? Whatever, I hope you enjoy the taste, let us all know...

  8. Anon - in another photo I took it looks like a Bramley!

  9. I nearly bought some Spartan apples today but they were on offer £3.00 for two packs or £2.00 for one. I didn't want two packs or to be ripped off for the price of one so no apples for me. This happens to me all the time in supermarkets I end up not being willing to buy the stuff I want. Sorry your mention of apples set me off!

  10. Hi Arabella - I'm impressed you found some Spartan apples in the shops! There's usually only about 6-8 varieties on offer (viz choose from Cox, Bramley, Golden Delicious, Royal Gala, Braeburn, plus a couple more depending on the time of year) and whilst Spartan used to be quite common, I've not seen it around in recent years.

    Having said that, those offers are annoying aren't they? However, Spartan is a good keeper, so in this instance, the offer would have served you well.


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