Apple cultivation in Kenya

Apple belongs to the family rosaceae. It is a hardy deciduous temperate fruit tree that needs low temperatures of around 13⁰C to break dormancy. There are apple cultivars with a low chilling requirement that can do well in areas that do not experience low temperatures. Alternatively dormancy can be realised through the use of chemicals or mechanically through defoliation to induce early dormancy. We can confidentially ascertain that apples can do well pretty much in most parts of Kenya, even in areas experiencing high temperatures, as long as the right cultivars are used. Fruit production might vary in different climatic conditions, but one can get a substantial harvest.

Apple3

Fruiting apple tree in Nairobi

Commercial apple production requires two essential preconditions: cold winters and relatively hot summers. Apples do well in areas with an annual rainfall of 800 to 1100 mm. Apples can do well in different soil types as long as the soil is deep,  fertile, properly aerated and well drained. Sufficient soil moisture is desired during bud break and fruit set for proper fruit quality and yield. Most apple cultivars are not sufficiently self-pollinating; it is advisable to plant other cultivars that act as pollinators, these include winter banana, Jonathan and golden dorset. A spacing of 2-3m between plants and 3-4m from row to row is ideal. Soil and leaf analysis will offer great insights and will determine the fertilizer programme to be adapted.

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Apple trees should be properly cared for during formative stage to guarantee a good yield.  Trees should be pruned to the desired shape. One should strike a balance between vegetative growth and fruit production. The ‘open centre tree’ is the most common pruning technique that is practised. Thinning is also desired for it helps improve fruit size and quality. There are two main picking seasons: February and August. A year round supply can be realised, picking time can be controlled by the timing of leaf stripping. Apples ripen on the tree and should be hand-picked when they have reached optimum colour and size.

The major pests and diseases include; aphid, thrips, spider mites, fruit flies, apple scab, powdery mildew, armirallia root rot. Preventive control of pests and diseases is desired, use disease free seedlings and ensure to observe high standards of hygiene in your garden. As usual contact your extension officer for proper diagnosis and advice. We do provide extension services and also stock disease free seedlings. The varieties in stock include; Ana, braeburn, Fiji, gala, red delicious, golden dorset and cripps lady. Happy season and ensure you plant a fruit tree; an apple a day, keeps the doctor away.

Reference

Jurgen Griesbach, (2007) Growing Temperate Fruit Trees in Kenya. World Agroforestry centre, Nairobi.

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About PLANT A FRUIT

PLANT A FRUIT is a CSR initiative supported by Natural Green Farm technologies

Posted on October 17, 2015, in Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. George mamboleo

    This is good information, how can I get the seedlings?

  2. I learned lots of useful things from reading this article. Thank you!

    I’m not in Kenya but in northern England. Still, my tree is ailing and I now understand why.

  3. I’ve reblogged this post as it seems to be a concise do’s and don’ts for anyone anywhere thinking about having an apple tree (or more).

  4. Lovely update Helen thank you for sharing

  5. Looking for a fruit farming expert to consult from or hire. Does anyone know any?

  6. Thanks for your article on apple farming in kenya.Am very interested in this venture.I would like to consult on the same;soil,how to get the seedlings and nurturing the trees for good fruits.
    My small farm is in Western Kenya…Vihiga county.
    Thanks and looking forward to your response and advice.

    regards
    june

  7. Good information here. where can somebody get seedlings to plant in the highlands of Timboroa region? And which cultivars can do best in the same region?

  8. Good to know apples can grow in Kenya, which variety can I grow in kericho and where will I get seedlings for the same.
    Thanks again for the article.

  9. Im interested in having the fruit in my home siaya, and would like to have a one on one chatt with an agri-officer. I need help with this. Anybody?

    Regards,

  10. good information….to know apples grow in kenya…im very interested..where can i get seedlings

  11. Wow, glad to read this article.
    Do we have extensions officers in vihiga county that can facilitate this service. Thus the seedlings and care of the same.
    Am exited and eager to start.
    Thank you very much.

  12. This is a good read. Can one grow sales in kericho?. Thanks

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