Nehou Apple

I was collecting scion from an old local orchard that had a lot of neat heirloom varieties. I came across an old tree that had been pruned hard to take out dead limbs the year before. It’s covered with waterspouts in response to the hard pruning. I look at the orchard map, it’s called Nehou. I collected a bunch of grafting wood because it was easy picking. I grafted a good number of them. The produce very nice vigorous trees.

I could not find to much information on it other than it’s a French cider apple. I came across more information today. It looks like it is a nicely balanced Bittersweet with good production and high brix. The kind of profile you would want to be the bulk of your cider orchard, if you were in France. So the question is, how will it do in Kansas? I would be interested to hear anyones experience with this apple.

I had a tree of it many years ago but it never fruited for me. I gave up on all the European cider apples in my climate, they were highly prone to fireblight and rotting. They also tended to ripen too early and they lose tannins when ripening in hot weather.

You might try the folks at Trees of Antiquity. A few years ago when I was looking into cider apples, I had a helpful conversation with them about both the tree habit of, and cider from, the varieties they sold (including Nehou).

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I know that Dave Benscoter found Nehou in eastern Washington, so it at least holds promise for Kansas, as winter and summer temps are comparable, if I am not mistaken. I have no direct experience with it.

As to European apples not doing well, Scott, I have Médaille d’Or out back. Bought from Cummins two seasons back, it is looking good, but of course will not bear fruit for another season or so. I’ll be sure to report on it when the time comes.

Good fruiting with the Nehou!

Dave, my Euro cider apples looked awesome until they started fruiting. Even for the first few years of fruiting I thought I would be OK, but once the rot and fireblight set in things got seriously difficult. I had hoped that with 50 different varieties on trial (including Medaille d’Or) I would get a few that would work but it was not the case. Note that with a commercial spray program I think it would work OK, I just don’t want to be spraying that much.

I was intrigued by Nehou as well, but passed on it when I read this from Andrew Lea: “Remember also considerations like the fruit harvesting period. Few small cidermakers can have a need for the early cultivar ‘Nehou’, whose fruit is ready in late August but which bruises easily and does not store.” Anyone have first hand experience with it here in the states?

Incidentally, lea’s website is really fun to read if you have a free afternoon.

Thanks @GardenGekko for another usefull link. Looks like I planted out 6 Nehou trees in my orchards plus the more in the nursery that I hope to sell to an adventurous sole. I know they are a gamble but I dont have much invested in them.

@scottfsmith what cider apples are doing well with your low impact spray program?

@39thparallel - it sounds like from this post and the campfield post that you’re putting together a really nice cider orchard! What other cider varieties are you planting? How big is your orchard?

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I am focusing on really late apples since on average they fare better against bugs and rot, and it will make my cider making happen in cooler weather. Now that I think of it I may have removed Nehou when I heard how early it was, at some point I realized I needed to clear out any early cider apples.

Some that appear to be good include Yates, Winesap, Black Limbertwig, and Keener Seedling. I also have an unnamed crab for added tannins. All of these are October/November picking. Not fruiting yet but looking promising include Gilpin, Campfield and Harrison. I did get one Campfield this year, deer got the fruit but it looked perfect up until the deer took it.

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Fifty! In my back yard I can only dream of such an opportunity. I know Médaille d’Or is a gamble, and I also am avoiding sprays for the fruit. So far, disease pressure seems relatively mild in this part of the world, although I’ve specifically avoided fire blight and mildew susceptible cultivars.

Have you found an American apple supplying a fair amount of tannins for cider? That is my intent with Medaille d’Or.

I think crabs are the best route, and they were historically common as an addition. As they tend to be sour you need sweeter apples to balance. I have some unknown crab I am adding more trees of so I will have enough tannins. Campfield as mentioned on the recent Campfield thread is another high-tannin one, it is similar to the Euro cider apples.

Nearly all of the Euro cider apples can have fireblight problems, there seems to be a very late blooming tendency in their genes. So, watch out for that.

BTW the way I got 50 in my back yard was by really packing them in, I had 50 apples in one 50’ long row! Today those rows have half the apples, “only” 25 in 50’.

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I had not been onto this site when Campfield was discussed. So far no one had mentioned the tannic properties of Campfield.
Hmm, this may change everything. More research: Thanks!

Thanks. The best way to explain my orchards are mid-west experiment stations with a focus on cider. By spring, I will have 175 varieties of apples that I have planted on 5 acres over the last couple years. I have a good number of multi-purpose apples that could be used for cider like:Arkansas Black, Ashmead’s Kernel, Black Twig, Black Limbertwig, Bramley, Calville Blanc, Esopus Spitzenburg, Golden Russet, Grimes, Irish Peach, King David, Macoun, Mullins, Roxbury Russet, Stayman & York. I am adding a bunch “Southern Apples” Because I believe they are best acclimated to our climate. I am also adding a block of red fleshed apples to add color to cider. I do not hang much hope on the european cider apples and am a little apprehensive about Harrison and Campfield. Our climate is a little different than New Jersey and I did see some Fireblight strikes on Harrison last year.

I’m sure @scottfsmith is right about tannan being the key to great cider. Hopefully I can find a few good varieties to fill the void.

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I got Winekist (August) and Redfield (October) apples for their red fleshed qualities, The Winekist I hope to blend with Rambour Franc (if it does well in Spokane) and Redfield with Claygate Pearmain and/or Golden Harvey. All this is based on the hope they will fruit well here. Winekist surprised me this last summer by blooming and producing beautiful fruit - without sprays - and 12 Brix.
I tasted Redfield locally, organically grown, and was impressed. The one caveat seems to be that both are a bit droopy in habit. I had hoped to place them between the sidewalk and street, but fear they will interfere with passersby. Now, since the yard is already packed (I AM trying to keep enough room between each to make pruning and harvest simple and enough air and light to keep things healthy) I’ve talked with my neighbors about getting a red fleshed apple in their yards. They agree. Whew. This will goad me into keeping good relations with neighbors!

What cider apples have you had success with? I am looking to set up a small backyard cider orchard in Spokane in a couple of years and would love to know what varieties besides redfield you have had success with? Nehou seems to have different heritage than most of the main european cider apples with a different flowering group and picking season, do you know anyone who grows it?

If you look at what the high-quality U.S. cideries say they grow, I think that you will find a lot of Dabinett and Porter’s Perfection.


Appleman: You are in Spokane? Yes!
My experience with cider apples is practically nil so far. The initial idea was to grow a couple apple trees for fresh eating, sauce and pies. Several disappointments and learning more expanded the scope of my hopes to include cider. Just in the past few weeks I grafted Harrison and Goldrush, both with the hope of pressing cider. Claygate Pearmain was successfully grafted only two years ago, and I think CP may contribute to cider - as well as providing other delights. Neil Crowley in Reno, NV loves it. The Redfield is a bench graft (on M26) bought in '14, now standing in another yard where it will get the room needed to grow properly. Both Redfield and Winekist appear to be spreading trees, and I had already designated the space in this yard to others.
I have no cider press.
One tree I hope will make summer cider - mixed with Winekist juice - is Summer Rambo/Rambour Franc. It was a cleft graft I made onto Geneva 30 in '12. It has attained a nice size at about 11 feet. This season it is going to be loaded with blooms after growing with nary a one until now. It might show 10% bloom today.
Winekist had some surprise bloom last year and two fruits, which clinched its ID. Bloom was mid, almost mid-late, a deep pink which faded to lilac before petal fall.
Redfield has yet to bloom, but that is expected.
I had hoped Sturmer Pippin might contribute to cider, as well as baking and fresh eating in winter and spring, but it requires much more calcium than my soil possesses, and I have top-worked it recently to Keepsake. BTW, Sturmer might be worth trying if one were to load the drip zone with dolomite while the sapling grows and add more every year or so to mitigate cork and bitter pit. It is fairly precocious, PSF, and the fruit tastes wonderful in those bits I could cut away from cork and bitter pit. REading its assessment by Brits, it seems to be the better for our sun, dry air and 30 degree F temperature swings.

Lastly, I have Hunt Russet, also a bench graft made (from Maple Valley Orchards, Wisconsin) in '14. It stands on P2, so will be of modest size. This season it is opening about 11 debut blossom buds, so I may get a sample to find when it ripens. This apple has cider potential, and I wonder if I should have gotten it on M26 instead.
That is the extent of my cider experience, mostly research and the beginning stages of trial and error. I hope this can be of some use to you.

…and forgot to say Médaille d’Or came as a whip from Cummins two years ago. It will also open debut bloom this season, and appears at this date to be developing them about as fast as does Hunt Russet. Time will tell. Md’O stands on Gen11, so will be smaller. I put it in the most protected place, due to its brittle wood. It will also get 6-7 hours of sun but not late afternoon sun, and it is shielded from the worst winds by the house.
If Médaille d’Or does well, then it may offer enough tannins to complete a winter cider made of juice from Harrison (am making two trees of that, I hope,) Claygate Pearmain and a bit of Goldrush. Should Md’O not prove well, then Campfield would be next to be tried.
Md’O blooms so late in Europe I wonder if it can bring a crop here at all. As things stand, it appears to have a high chill requirement, which might work in my favor if the fruit can develop faster in our conditions. Sturmer certainly did.

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Just to update: Médaille d’Or and Hunt Russet began blooming May 9 and are at 90% petal fall today, May 18. Both are very young and this spring has been a record cold and wet season, compressing bloom time. Rambour Franc looks to get to 90% petal fall tomorrow, just to give you an idea of how this works with very young trees that are somewhat precocious and another that went to big bloom in its sixth leaf. RF is actually considered an early-mid bloomer, so it appears my concerns about pollen sources for Md’O are dealt with. Bardsey and Wynoochee Early are still blooming, also.

Nehou (how is that pronounced?) was found growing in the old orchard on Steptoe Butte by Dave Benscoter, so it has at least 80 years of growth in Spokane area. I need to get closer to this apple and see what it can do.

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