St Edmund's Russet

First significant harvest from two trees of this variety, my earliest russet just starting to ripen up (not counting Chestnut Crab).
These apples seem to glow on the tree and in the hand, very attractive uniform yellow russet color. Subacid flavor with some good sweetness, skin not too thick. Develops some pearlike texture as it softens. Really good out of hand eating and I’m sure awesome sharp cider variety. 13 brix will no doubt rise as these get riper.


That’s a very pretty apple!


I am curious how your St. Edmund’s Russet has done over the last couple of years. How is the vigor, disease issues, growth habit and of course the fruit been since you posted in 2017?

I have St. Edmund’s Russet that I grafted on Bud 9. It’s about 6 feet tall now and I am hoping to get a few fruit next year.

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I haven’t had a lot of fruit yet as the tree is young, but I do like it if I pick a bit on the early side (while still just the slightest hint of green) as I don’t like soft apples very much. I haven’t noticed it to be overly vigorous. Drooping branches I guess. This apple had been in the fridge a couple weeks and I think was a bit better than directly from the tree (early). Not a crisp apple necessarily but this was a bit crisp.

I haven’t sprayed and haven’t had any issues, but it’s often dry here, so I think the disease pressure might be a bit lower. This apple obviously got attacked by bugs…but some of the apples were fine. I also think that late rains might crack this apple ( which you can see on top of this). I’ve noticed those cracks. That’s a definite negative.

Would I cut down a liberty apple to grow another one of these? Maybe :slight_smile: A tradeoff for taste versus easy productivity. But I don’t have enough experience with St Edmunds yet.


Thank you for your post. I am glad you posted it’s hard to find first hand reports for rarer apples and I think this is especially truth for apples that originate outside the United States. The cracking is worrisome hopefully it won’t be common for you or for me in the future.

My tree has grown well this year. I think the over all scion vigor is probably about average for my tree which is on Bud 9. It really has shaped up nicely either I trained it well or the tree just puts branches out in the right spots.

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Your description of SEP apple is alike gardener’s comments featured in Gardener’s World 2012 show! It was from there my interest peaked to learn if this apple may be suitable for CA zone 9 garden. The apple in your palm indeed glows!

Most domesticated apples are suitable for California zone 9. Twenty years ago it was discovered that the chill hour requirements can be thrown out.

You are right, Trees of Antiquity states “Yes to low chill”. What does chill time means? Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Historically in Europe it was thought that all subtropical fruit & nut trees required a chilling-induced dormancy for them to bear fruit the following season. Many Prunus and Pomes actually do. The general formula is number of whole hours below 45°F between Oct. 1 and April 1. (Yes! Agriculture has ties to that date too.)

It was subsequently discovered here in the U.S. that better methods of estimation can be had by regional formulas (e.g. the Utah method) – but unless you are up by Redding, or in the mountains / high desert the general formula will suffice.

Another thing discovered here is that “low chill” east of the Rockies is “significant chill” here in metro CA areas, and our low chill is nearly unheard of in the east with the exception of southern FL. In fact in the nursery business here we also talk about “ultra low chill”.

Then about 20 years ago a fruit crazed gardener in Riverside decided to start experimenting with apples - initially a long cordon alongside his driveway - and they all fruited! Nowadays he’s a member here. In a side note to this: about 10 years ago I was selling fruit trees on Sundays at a farmers market in Leucadia. On one occasion a lady approached and began discussing fruit trees. She remarked that “it’s about time people started selling apples”. It turned out that she and her husband moved out to La Jolla in the 70’s and planted a Gordon Apple about 100 yards from the ocean! It was still producing at the time.


My two trees have continued to bear nice crops, although a biannual tendency has emerged. The trees themselves have slowed down in vigor due to bearing and also perhaps the droughty summers we’ve had lately. I still like this Apple quite a bit and have been experimenting and found it excels for cooking and various processed goodies like apple butter, dehydrated rings etc


I have a healthy, productive graft of it here in zone 10a. You should be fine there.

As @Richard suggests, many of the traditional concerns about apple chill hour requirements appear to be overblown. I’ve yet to find an apple that won’t grow and produce here in my low-chill coastal environment.


Exactly! I want to experiment too - dehydrated apple is heavenly! Could you rate the crispiness eaten fresh? On a scale of 0-5, 5 being super crispy, where d you rate it? Thx

Jerry, wow! Unbelievable learning platform for me! You along with others, who take the time to read and post, it is invaluable! I have been really reluctant to commit to growing fruits, but with such wonderful team and array of growers who have done it before me, brings so much encouragement to try this new hobby.


Thanks for such detailed explanation! There is so much to learn! Appreciate your comments.

When relatives moved from Wisconsin to near Chico, CA, they were told by a number of neighbors that apples wouldn’t grow there. They planted some trees anyway. When they started harvesting great crops of apples, the neighbors began planting apple trees, too.


I ordered 5 trees for my nursery years ago and never tasted one from a managed tree until yesterday. I was only able to harvest it because I netted it- the birds on the site kill it well before it is ripe even though other apples need no such protection. They also kill William’s pride, though. The nets can’t keep out wasps, but this is a low wasp year. Wasps also kill this apple specifically, even more than Golden Russet.

All that said, the apple I tasted was extraordinarily good. If it didn’t ripen so early it might be my favorite russet. I have little use for apples that are ripe before the end of August.

I picked mine yesterday. It is a very good apple and, as you note, it is very early.

I think birds and bugs are focusing more on my figs. :frowning:

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A friend has been singing its praises to me for years. I avoided it because of how early it is. Theres too much else to pick late summer, and somehow pulling out the cider press on a hot September just feels wrong. I may have to reconsider though given how highly you all (whose opinions I value) rate it. Im sure there will come a day when other fruits fail and Ill be glad to have them. This year, ‘bosc’ pears are like that for me. Two loaded trees surrounded by an orchard of mostly bare trees

I don’t consider this a cider apple. It’s dessert. I wouldn’t suggest growing more than you can use more or less immediately, eating out of hand and gifting to friends and neighbors. My sisters are visiting and munching right this moment on slices of both St Edmund’s Russet and Redfree, another early variety. That’s when they’re not eating fresh figs.

But you’re right that there’s a ton of other action. These early apple varieties (I’d include Centennial and Chestnut crabs) are a luxury not a necessity.


I’ve seen you post this a few times Richard. The whole chill thingie. Is there a publication you can give a link to? I’d be curious.

I’d love to be able to grow a cider apple, but in limited looking they seem to be more high chill (on paper).

No idea on fire blight resistance.

I’d love to chill on the chill, at least for apples.