Congo Apple Orchard

A peek into East African Apple Culture; where else do you store your scionwood but in a banana tree stalk?..


Thanks for sharing, interesting to see how apples do in the tropics. Just a few questions, pardon my ignorance on such things:

How do they get apples to grow in such a warm climate? Do they grow the usual low chill apples, like Anna, Dorsett Golden, Ein Shemer, etc? What about Granny Smith or Fuji?

Were those apples at the top of that tree around the 11min mark? They look very spindly, is that because they were just planted and haven’t put on scaffolds yet?

It’s odd seeing them fellows wearing long sleeve shirts, I’m sure it’s very humid, if not warm as well. I guess they’re used to it, though.


They get the apples to fruit utilizing tropic apple culture; manual leaf stripping, horizontal branching, shutting off any irrigation during dormancy. Anna and Dorsett Golden are the first to start bearing, but high-chill apples respond well also. The first trees were planted as rootstocks in 2016, then topworked in 2017, and are now whips. The tall whippy growth is typical of the tropics; they will be notched to induce branching this season as they come out of dormancy. The weather at this location is cool and foggy, you’d want a jacket on, especially during the rainy season which is just wrapping up now.


Thanks for sharing! Bananas and apples grown in proximity sure sounds like southern california weather! Really curious if they also grow avocados and citrus there, as those would be excellent cash-crops(apart from being nutritionally-dense) fruits for peoples on that part of the world.

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I grafted Eickhoff last spring, a variety from Zimbabwe. It will be interesting to see if it makes it through this winter.


Yes, for the most part the fruit markets even in remote areas put ours to shame, with many kinds of avocados and Washington Navel and Valencia oranges.


Can’t help but wonder if the pests to deal with there would be more intimidating than here. :slight_smile:

Well…no codling moth, no fireblight, no stinkbug. But on the other hand, spitting cobras, tsetse flies, and leopards. But will all of that and bad roads, no running water, no power, exploding lakes, and occasional rebellions, it’s STILL easier than doing business in California.


Well said, applenut!

Malaria worried me. Always boiled my water and a spoon of bleach on the veggies.

Thats why i’m in Michigan.

74 degrees in Congo right now…

40 here but it aint snowing and it’s sunny, Hallelujah! :smile:

92 on the Bank sign…in Berea KY today…10-5-2018

They got their first apples this season, and are excited out of their minds.


Do you know what varieties are working well for them?

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The first trees to bear heavily are always Dorsett Golden, which is the spindle loaded with apples. The variety doesn’t keep well, but gives them an early return on their large investment and encourages them to plant more trees. The ones on the table are Washington Sweet, Anna, and maybe you guys can help me with the one on the scale…


I wasn’t going to ask, but I have to. Can you explain this please?

They call it a Limnic eruption

Since the temperature is constant in equatorial Africa, the lakes do not “turn over” like in temperate climates, and methane from decaying organic matter gets trapped in the bottom of the lake. If something like a landslide or earthquake churns the water, the rising water reduces in pressure and releases the trapped gas, which churns up the lake more, thus more gas rising, etc. until the erupting gas either suffocates the surrounding countryside or detonates like a fuel/air bomb.

On the bright side, they’re harvesting this methane from Lake Kivu as an energy source

Usually the first thing they make with the new energy is cement, an essential and usually expensive component of building which usually has to be trucked inland from ports a long way away.


The spitting cobras are real too

But like I said, still easier than doing business in California.