Gravenstein Apple Tree
Distinguished, Heirloom Gravenstein Apple
The Gravenstein Apple originated in Denmark in the early 1600's, where it is called a native and is proclaimed as the "National Apple". This wonderful fruit was so admired that it was brought to the United States with Russian settlers in the early 1800's, with orchards being established at Fort Ross, California.
The Gravenstein Apple was immediately recognized as a uniquely superior fruit with its adaptability, many usages and wonderful flavor. The local orchards of Sonoma County California would become the central distribution point for the Gravenstein Apple. Nathaniel Griffith, called the Grandfather of the Gravenstein, was encourage by none other than Luther Burbank to plant, what Burbank considered, a most superior apple.
Firm, snappy, light green with red stripes and a wonderful distinctive flavor. Gravenstein Apple has an excellent tart sweet flavor and is famous for making the finest apple juice and ciders. Gallons of pure pressed Gravenstein Apple Juice are still in high demand today. Wonderful as a dried fruit, in the early 1900's no less than 100 driers existed in the Sonoma county of California to satisfy the demand for this wonderful dried fruit.
The Gravenstein is also prized as an excellent apple sauce and is a favorite for cooking and baking. Of course, fresh off the tree is still the finest way to enjoy the Gravenstein apple. Not known for being a good shipper or keeper may be the reason the Gravenstein became an early processing apple variety. But almost 500 years of appreciation must speak to the Gravenstein' s outstanding uniqueness.
It's widely adapted to many climates and is known to produce in the colder zones 2 to 4. It may, however experience damage in years of early extreme temperature swings in these zones. This may make the "Grav", as it is known, one of the most widely adapted of all apples. The adaptability extents into the more common apple growing regions of zones 5 - 9, where it is primarily grown by farmers market growers and home gardeners.
The Gravenstein Apple can be an alternate bearer and thinning your fruit to a fist length between each fruit should be an important part of your fruit tree maintenance. Thinning is a requirement with most all fruit but is particularly important with Gravenstein to avoid a shy cropping year.
One of the earliest ripening varieties, the Gravenstein should be included with a mid-season variety, such as a Mcintosh or Empire and a late variety, like the Fuji or Braeburn apples, to ensure pollination and to get a 4 month long harvest of wonderful apple varieties.
- Light Green with Red Striped Fruit
- Heirloom Apple
- Distinctive Flavor
- Prolonged Picking Season
Buying Options for Plants
Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.
Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!
Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.
- Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
- Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.
Nature Hills Container Size by Volume
|Young Plants to 18 Months|
|2"x2"x3"||Ranges from||.18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume|
|4.5" Container||Equal to||.655 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume|
|3.5" Container||Equal to||.67 dry quart / .74 dry liter in volume|
|4" Container||Equal to||.87 dry quart / .96 dry liter in volume|
|1 Quart||Equal to||1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume|
|5.5" Container||Equal to||1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x5"||Ranges from||.8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x6"||Ranges from||1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x9"||Ranges from||1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x10"||Ranges from||1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume|
|Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old|
|2 Quart||Equal to||2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume|
|#1 Container||Ranges from||2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume|
|5"x5"x12"||Equal to||3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume|
|Plants 2 - 4 Years Old|
|#2 Container||Ranges from||1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume|
|#3 Container||Ranges from||2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume|
|Plants 3 - 5 Years Old|
|#5 Container||Ranges from||2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume|
|#7 Container||Ranges from||5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume|
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Beloved Early Season Gravenstein Apple
The Gravenstein apple was discovered in Denmark in the 1600's and named Grasten, meaning Graystone. In the United States, the Gravenstein owes part of its popularity to the Russians early occupation of the California Sonoma Coast, who left the seed for what would become the mainstay of Sonoma County, the Gravenstein Apple.
In the late 1700's the Russian Fur traders had begun to settle in Alaska, but found the climate was not conducive to growing crops they were used to growing. Looking for a better location to continue to hunt and farm crops to supply the fur trappers along the coast, a site along the Sonoma coast was settled in 1811 and Fort Ross was erected.
This did not turn out well for the Russians, as the climate of the coast was heavy in summer fog and very few of the crops were successful. The one food crop that was successive were the Gravenstein Apples they had planted. Unsuccessful farming resulted in a brief stay and by 1841, the Russians sold out to John Sutter, who gutted the fort to build his fort in Sacramento. In 8 years, it would become the center of the California Gold rush.
The Gravenstein apple orchards left at Fort Ross were not well cared for, but the plants were ideally suited to the climate of the coast and survived well. It appears that cutting wood was taken from the trees regularly and the Gravenstein apple began to appear throughout Sonoma County during the mid-1800's.
Luther Burbank, the famous plant breeder of Sonoma County, was a particular fan of the Gravenstein. In 1883, a young farmer Nathaniel Griffith, interested in growing apples, asked the advice of Luther Burbank on what apple varieties he would recommend. Burbank recommends he plant his 78 acres in Gravenstein Apples. This began a very successful business for Mr. Griffith with demand for his apples quickly coming from as far away as southern California. By the early 1900's, more than 10,000 plus acres are planted in Sonoma county.
In the years to come, Gravenstein would become one of the most popular early season apples, but this would not last. The Gravenstein Apple had two failings: one was its varied set from light to heavy, year to year, and second was its short shelf-life. The Gravenstein was not a keeper-shipper.
The more modern apples hybridized for shipping and storage, along with the more profitable grape-growing for the wine industry, would see the demise of the Gravenstein apple industry in Sonoma beginning in the late 1970's. Today, there are less than 700 acres still in production.
Still famous for its pies, fresh eating, juicing, and sauces, along with its wide range of adaptability, the Gravenstein Apple remains one of the most popular of the home garden variety planted today.
|Botanical Name||Malus 'Gravenstein'|
|Mature Height||Semi-Dwarf: 15 - 20 feet|
|Soil Type||Widely Adaptable|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun|
|Fruiting Time||3 - 5 Years|