Parkland Apple Tree- Zone 2
Characteristics of the tree
The Parkland apple is small to medium, averaging 6-7cm in diameter. The skin is primarily a yellow green colour with a red blush covering up to 40% of the apple. The flesh is crisp and white with a greenish tinge, and has a pleasant sweet and tart flavour. The apple is ready to harvest quite early in the season; around mid to late August. It needs to be harvested over a period of two weeks or so, as not all the apples will be ripe at the same time. Note that the Parkland apple tastes best when grown in colder regions, and the fruit will be of poorer quality when grown in zone 6 or warmer. This is due to the apple maturing in July instead of August, as its flesh turns soft when temperatures are constantly above 30 Celsius.
The fruit will keep for up to eight weeks, but will lose some of its crisp texture during storage and it might be better for cooking in preserves or pies. We have found Parkland to be of better quality and stores longer than the Norland apple.
Parkland is a super hardy apple tree, suitable for fruiting in zone 2a. It would also be worth trying in sheltered locations in zone 1b, although it might suffer some frost damage on some branches during particularly cold winters, which will need to be pruned. The tree is compact in shape and upright-spreading, with moderate vigour. It is a tip-bearer, and has a tendency to bear biennially, which should be countered by fruit thinning and regular pruning. It is also moderately susceptible to fire blight. Our Parkland apple trees are grafted on very hardy rootstock (see section on rootstock below for full details.)
Parkland is self-fertile but will be more productive with a pollinator.
This northern hardy apple variety was introduced by the Morden Research Station in 1979. It was selected by Dr. C. R. Ure for the Prairie Fruit Breeding Cooperative. Parkland owes its parentage to the crossing of the Melba and Rescue varieties. It is the leading apple grown commercially in Alaska. This is partly due to Bob Purvis, who in 1985 co-founded the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers, and brought Canadian apples into Alaska to test their durability under Alaskan conditions. Thanks to his foresight, there is now a commercial apple industry in Alaska, based largely on Canadian-bred fruits such as the Parkland apple.
The apple trees we produce are grafted on standard-sized rootstock, so they are ‘full-sized’ apple trees (as opposed to dwarf or semi-dwarf). The life expectancy of this type of apple tree is around 100 years. The illustration shows different stages of its growth up until the age of 20 years (as one rarely plans a landscaping arrangement with a longer time period in mind). At 100 years old, the apple tree will be even larger than shown here – it can reach 7 m in height and spread over 9m – while the house might no longer exist!
You should note that this illustration is meant only to give a general indication of what you can expect, and the growth of your tree might look somewhat different. The development of a tree depends on the soil type, irrigation, fertilisation and climatic conditions. What we show here is based on our observation of observations of the growth of apple trees in zone 4, in rather poor soil. In zone 2, growth will probably be slower, while in a rich soil it would be faster.
All our apple trees are sold bare-root, without pots. They have been cultivated directly in our soil. Bare-root trees must be taken out of the ground and shipped during their period of dormancy, which is why we only ship trees in the spring. A big advantage with these kinds of trees, is that they take up very little space, and can therefore be easily shipped by mail all over Canada!
This photograph shows a 2-3-foot apple tree, just like one that you might receive. Depending on the height you choose at the time of purchase, the tree might be a little smaller (1-2 feet) or somewhat taller (3-5 feet.)
All our apple trees are grafted on standard-sized rootstock, which we grow ourselves at the nursery. Trees that are grafted on standard-sized rootstock will become full-sized apple trees (as opposed to dwarf, or semi-dwarf.) While the life expectancy of a dwarf apple tree is only about 20 years, full-sized apple trees such as those we propagate have a lifespan of around 100 years. We believe it is of the utmost importance to plant for future generations, which is one of the main reasons we prefer these kinds of trees.
Besides this, standard-sized apple trees also have many other qualities that set them above dwarf and semi-dwarf trees in our view. For example, their deep and well-developed root systems allow them to draw water from deep underground during periods of droughts. They are more vigorous and resilient, which in turn also makes them more disease-resistant. They are very hardy, and last but not least, much more productive!
To learn more about grafting and the role of rootstocks, see our article here!