Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

What are some good apple varieties for this area?

Apples are a favorite fruit in Missouri. There are many varieties from which to choose. Each is unique. The fruit may differ in size, color, shape, flavor, texture, cooking, freezing and storage abilities as well as season of ripening and resistance and immunity to diseases.

Starkrimson Red Delicious is excellent in productivity and fruit quality. The tree produces even after brutal winters. It is a good pollinator for other apple trees. Fruit is solid with a red blush that brightens as the fruit matures. It stores well and ripens in late September.

Golden Delicious is vigorous and a heavy producer. It begins bearing yearly and is a good pollinator for Red Delicious. The fruit is large with an attractive yellow skin. It is excellent for eating with a mild, sweet flavor and crisp texture. It can also be used for applesauce and juice. It needs high humidity for storage but can be stored for 7-8 months. Ripens in early October.

Jon-A-Red Jonathan, although susceptible to fire blight and mildew, is a vigorous, hardy, and productive tree. It has bright, blazing red fruit with a glossy skin and snappy, crisp flesh. It is a good cider and dessert apple. Stores well. Ripens in min-September. No pollinator is needed.

Empire - this McIntosh-type apple is excellent for eating or pies. Trees are very productive and resist fire blight and cedar-apple rust. It has deep full-red fruit with superb flavor. It is firmer than McIntosh with better shelf and storage life. Ripens in mid-September.

Granny Smith bears early and abundantly. It is a long bloomer with frost-tolerated flowers. Pollinate with Gala. Granny Smith's have a dark green skin with white flesh and a sprightly flavor. It is good for fresh eating, juice, and pies. Can be stored up to 9 months. Ripens 6-7 weeks after Red Delicious.

Lodi can withstand frigid winters. It's fruit very often develops a pretty pink blush but it is best if picked while still green and about 3" in diameter. Pollinate with Prima. Lodi has a sweet but tangy flavor and smooth skin with crisp, white flesh. Use soon after picking for pies, applesauce and cider. Ripens in early July.

Royal Gala is a strong, compact tree and a prolific bearer. The solid orange-red medium-size fruits have lots of snap, juice and aroma. It is an excellent pollinator for Red Delicious. Pollinate with Jon-A-Red. Ripens in early September.