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Spartan apple tree

Spartan

Spartan is a deep marroon-colored apple with an excellent refreshing sweet flavor. Apple text books often describe the flavor as "vinous" and it can indeed have a wine-like quality, although this is first and foremost a crisp sweet juicy unpretentious apple.

That flavor, and the crimson skin, are an easy clue that Spartan is related to the famous Canadian McIntosh apple. Spartan is undoubtedly one of the best of the many varieties which trace their ancestry back to McIntosh.

Spartan ripens quite late in the season, usually around early October. The apples will remain on the tree over a 2-3 week period, which means you can pick a few at a time rather than have to deal with a glut. This is also the best way to enjoy them because although they keep fairly well, the flavor and crispness fade in storage.

Spartan is a simple unpretentious apple, and when eaten straight from the tree on a crisp cold morning is a real delight.

Spartan apple trees for sale

  • Small 1-year bare-root tree $29.00
    Mature height: 6ft-9ft after 10 years
    B.9 rootstock

How to grow

Spartan is very easy to grow in almost any climate. Although the natural home of most McIntosh-style apples is the north-east of North America, Spartan seems happy in most situations. As might be expected from a Canadian variety, it is naturally cold-hardy.

It crops reliably and heavily. The fruit tends to be small but moderate thinning is very effective and the remaining apples will be a good medium/large size.

There are few disease problems, and birds and aphids are not often a problem either.

Spartan also tends to produce a reasonably neat and attractive tree.

Finally, the large quantity of blossom makes it a good pollinator for other apple varieties. The pollen is also viable at lower temperatures (50F rather than the usual 60F-70F required by other varieties) making it a useful variety to include if your orchard is in an area with cold spring weather.

All in all, you won't regret giving it space in your apple tree collection.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

Historical details

Spartan is one of the most widely-grown of the McIntosh family of apples, which are characterised by their deep maroon skinand bright white flesh. Spartan was developed at the Canadian Apple Research Station in Summerland, British Columbia, in the 1920s. The female parent is McIntosh, and the male parent is thought to be the popular American variety Newtown Pippin although this is not certain.

Spartan characteristics

  • Picking seasonLate
  • UsesEating freshJuice
  • CroppingHeavy
  • Keeping (of fruit)1 week
  • Flavor style (apples)Vinous
  • Fruit persistenceNormal ripening
  • Gardening skillBeginner
  • Self-fertilityPartially self-fertile
  • Pollination group3
  • Pollinating othersGood
  • PloidyDiploid
  • VigourAverage vigour
  • PrecocityPrecocious
  • Bearing regularityRegular
  • Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
  • Organic cultureSuitable
  • General resistanceAverage
  • CankerSome susceptibility
  • Cedar apple rustSome resistance
  • FireblightSome resistance
  • MildewSome resistance
  • ScabSome susceptibility
  • Bitter pitVery resistant
  • Cold hardiness (USDA)(3) -40F / -40C
  • Summer average maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
  • Frost resistance of blossomGood resistance
  • Country of originCanada
  • Period of origin1900 - 1949
  • Fruit colorCrimson