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Kidd's Orange Red apple tree

Kidd's Orange Red appe

Kidd's Orange Red is one of the select band of apple varieties which can truly be said to rival the definitive Cox's Orange Pippin for flavor. It is primarily a sweet apple, but unlike most sweet apples it has a rich complexity to the flavors too. Kidd's Orange Red is fairly crisp but also pleasantly chewy, and each bite seems to release yet more juice and flavor. It's in some ways reminiscent of a good French dessert wine - sweet, but with a good kick to it.

Although regarded as a typical 'English' apple, Kidd's Orange Red was developed by New Zealand apple enthusiast J.H. Kidd in the 1920s and is a cross between the English Cox and the American Delicious, so in reality it is a marriage of the Old World and the New World. There is no doubting this is a Cox-style apple though ... but when you know the parentage, it isn't hard to spot the sweet scented contribution from Delicious in the background, and it is a combination that really works.

The tree grows attractively, and the crimson pink blossom is a particular feature.

Although primarily an apple for eating fresh, Kidd's Orange Red also produces a high quality sweet cider, with a pleasing thick texture.

Kidd's Orange Red apple trees for sale

  • Medium 1-year bare-root tree $33.75
    Mature height: 8ft-12ft after 10 years
    Semi-dwarf rootstock
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How to grow

It often seems that apples with the best flavor are the most difficult to grow, but this is not the case with Kidd's Orange Red. It is very easy to grow, generally problem-free (like many varieties descended from Delicious), and makes an excellent garden variety for most regions, including cool temperate climates and warmer climates.

It forms an attractive-looking tree with long branches which grow vertically when the tree is young but then bend over with fruit as the tree comes into bearing. If necessary, tie the young branches towards the horizontal to improve the appearance - this will also help cropping. Certainly worth considering as a feature apple tree.

Kidd's Orange Red is a good choice if you are not keen on pruning, as its branches and fruiting spurs do not become congested as the tree ages.

The only caveats are that it is not a heavy-cropper (although it does produce a good crop). Fruit size can be on the small size so moderate thinning can be helpful as the fruitlets start to form.

Kidd's Orange Red has a much wider climate range than Cox's Orange Pippin and can tolerate hotter summers without losing flavor, making it one one of the best alternatives in the USA for enthusiasts who find their climate is too hot for Cox.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

Historical details

Kidd's Orange Red was developed in the 1920s by New Zealand apple enthusiast J.H. Kidd. It is a cross between Cox's Orange Pippin and Delicious.

Kidd's Orange Red characteristics

  • Gardening skillBeginner
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Pollination group3
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • PloidyDiploid
  • Bearing regularityRegular
  • Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
  • Picking seasonLate
  • UsesEating freshJuice
  • CroppingLight
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-2 months
  • Flavor style (apples)Aromatic
  • General resistanceAverage
  • FireblightSome resistance
  • ScabSome resistance
  • Cedar apple rustSome resistance
  • Cold hardiness (USDA)(4) -30F / -34C
  • Summer maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
  • Country of originNew Zealand
  • Period of origin1900 - 1949
  • Fruit colorOrange / Red