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Need guidance: Varieties for North African Climate
I have some questions about which variety is most suitable for my region.
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NoWayJose
2 Posts
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1
June 9, 2024 - 9:45 am

Hello,

I need some guidance to start an apple orchard in North Africa (Tunisia - Kef). Please note: English is my third language; I have no background in farming.

Context: My brother and I inherited 15 hectares of land in the Kef Governorate, located in the North West of Tunisia.We are still debating whether we should turn the 15 hectares into an olive grove or an apple orchard. We know enough about olive groves, given that our country is one of the top olive oil producers in the world; but when it comes to apple orchards information can be difficult to acquire.

Climate: Our region has a dry climate, somewhere between sub-humid and semi-arid. Below a screenshot for our region's climate history (Wikipedia). Snow is uncommon (Once every couple of years, nothing heavy). My main source of water will be from an already existing and functioning well.

El Kef Climate

NOTE: Humidity is often lower than indicated in this table from (40-50% at night to around 20-30% during the day)

I don't know what other information you might need to answer the following questions, but please let me know if you require any additional details:

  • Which variety is most suitable for our region?
  • How many trees per hectare should we plant (Density)?
  • How many years until production?
  • How many kgs per tree on average?
  • How often should pruning be done?
  • Which irrigation method is most suitable?
  • What's the average life of an apple tree? (Long term planning)

If you have any tips please share them with us. This just an attempt to get a general idea on apple orchards.

Thank you!

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Larry_G
190 Posts
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2
June 10, 2024 - 12:48 am

For a third language, you use punctuation well.

For USA readers, 15 hectares is about 37 acres.

Apples require several hundred up to 1,000 chill hours per winter season, temperatures between 32F and 45F.

Report back to us how many chill hours you have locally.

Are apples a popular fruit in your region, do markets have local apples or are they all imported?

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NoWayJose
2 Posts
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3
June 10, 2024 - 1:52 am

Larry_G said
For a third language, you use punctuation well.

For USA readers, 15 hectares is about 37 acres.

Apples require several hundred up to 1,000 chill hours per winter season, temperatures between 32F and 45F.

Report back to us how many chill hours you have locally.

Are apples a popular fruit in your region, do markets have local apples or are they all imported?

  

I did an approximation, I'd say my region has around 400 to 500 chill hours per winter season maybe a little less these past couple of years.

Apples are available in my region, local not imported. I found a study citing the locally produced varieties: 

Local Varieties

NOTE: The study was conducted in an area with a warmer climate than ours. 

I'm not sure if those varieties are my only options; are there other varieties more suited for our climate?

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John S
PDX OR
2849 Posts
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4
June 10, 2024 - 9:01 am

There are specific varieties that do well in warmer climates. I think that Anna is one of them. I've never made a list because I don't live in one of those.  It should be easy to find.  You could look for apples in sub tropic areas or something like that.

JohnS
PDX OR

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Larry_G
190 Posts
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5
June 10, 2024 - 11:20 am

Be aware of biennial bearing:

https://apal.org.au/finding-th.....in-apples/

Sounds like an apple orchard in your region is feasible.

Perhaps there will be less market competition with apples rather than olives.

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jafar
787 Posts
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6
June 10, 2024 - 12:58 pm

In one of the fruit forums, probably years back, I remember a guy who had an apple growing project in Africa who claimed that he could pretty much ignore the documented chill hours for varieties and have success.  I can't remember his explanation.

 

Probably was growingfruit or gardenweb.

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John S
PDX OR
2849 Posts
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7
June 10, 2024 - 3:28 pm

I had remembered Dorsett Golden.  Here is the first one I found:

https://fruittreelane.com.au/g.....varieties/

 

JohN S
PDX OR

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jafar
787 Posts
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8
June 10, 2024 - 4:45 pm

I have, or had, Anna and Dorsett Golden on a tree at my old place.  They bloomed way before the other varieties on the same tree.  I think I had both, its possible only one, its been a while.

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Dannytoro1
66 Posts
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9
June 10, 2024 - 5:02 pm

Greetings and welcome.

 

Your Climate is very close to mine in Brantley County Georgia. Though we get more rain. 

 

Here are proven low chill types you should consider {sub 400 chill hours}

Anna

Beverly Hills

"Branch" from North Carolina

Brogden

Dorsett Golden

Ein Schumer 28 {it is a bit better then the mealy Ein Schumer regular}

Galacia {Brazil}

Gordon

Hoover {South Carolina}

Jim W. Day

June Sweet

Little Benny 

Marequesa {Brazil}

Pettengil

Reverend Morgan {Houston Texas}

Royal Limbertwig

San Jacinto

Schell {West Virginia}

Shell {Alabama}

Sour June

Sugar Apple {North Carolina}

Summer Limbertwig

Vered {Israel}

Wallace Howard {Georgia}

Winter Banana

Any of those should do fine just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more I've forgotten. And a whole bunch of apples that are good from 400-700 hours. 

 

Just remember chill hours are never a sure thing. None of my Anna's or Dorsett Goldens bloomed this year. We had a very odd on/off/on series of cold streaks that clearly did none of my fruit trees any good this year.

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Dannytoro1
66 Posts
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10
June 10, 2024 - 5:16 pm

jafar said
I have, or had, Anna and Dorsett Golden on a tree at my old place.  They bloomed way before the other varieties on the same tree.  I think I had both, its possible only one, its been a while.

  

Kevin Hauser at Kueffel Creek I imagine. Yes "No Way Jose" would do well visiting their website.

Kevin's blog is here. He has been away working some big projects and the Nursery website in California is down.

But the facebook site in Uganda is alive and well. Very nice folks there. I talk apples with them sometimes.

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jafar
787 Posts
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11
June 10, 2024 - 5:25 pm

https://growingfruit.org/t/hig.....imate/1749

This is the discussion I was talking about from 2015.

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Chris M
Philomath, OR
160 Posts
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12
June 11, 2024 - 7:42 pm

Dannytoro1 said

jafar said

I have, or had, Anna and Dorsett Golden on a tree at my old place.  They bloomed way before the other varieties on the same tree.  I think I had both, its possible only one, its been a while.

  

Kevin Hauser at Kueffel Creek I imagine. Yes "No Way Jose" would do well visiting their website.

Kevin's blog is here. He has been away working some big projects and the Nursery website in California is down.

But the facebook site in Uganda is alive and well. Very nice folks there. I talk apples with them sometimes.

  

I second Kevin, his book on warm climate apples was very helpful when I lived in the very hot San  Fernando valley in Los Angeles.

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Viron
1407 Posts
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13
June 12, 2024 - 6:43 am

I would seek out other apple orchard operations in the area, tour them if possible..  We have US government horticultural agents instructed to advise ventures such as yours, check for the same.  

The Israelis have long researched and developed apples for their climate, which may be similar to yours; their info appears available online..  

I would also search your proposed area for apple trees in general, especially those totally neglected, giving you an obvious example of how well, or if they can survive and fruit.. 

Research rootstocks as well as production cultivars, for drought, disease, insect resistance, ultimate size, anchor strength..  Orchard design; free-standing, or trellised.  Labor availability..  Local diseases, pests; would it need serious fencing?  Water availability for the first couple years..  

Sounds exciting Smile

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davem
362 Posts
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14
June 12, 2024 - 2:02 pm

Viron said
I would also search your proposed area for apple trees in general, especially those totally neglected, giving you an obvious example of how well, or if they can survive and fruit.. 

I agree with Viron.  What I was going to suggest is to find some undeveloped/neglected/wildlife refuge site nearby which has conditions similar to your site. Pay very close attention to the fruiting plants which are growing there, and identify the plant family of each. Chances are good that you can find a named variety in that same family which would be happy at your site.  You may also be able to grow that exact plant, and graft named varieties onto it.

I would start out with small quantities of many varieties and species, to find out what is happy there, and also makes you happy.  Then plant more of those, and let the rest die.  Also in my yard I intermix a LOT of native plants which attract a lot of native insects and birds who spend all day searching for insects, including pest insects.  They also leave their droppings everywhere which is how I fertilize most of my plants. Their droppings often bring new plants to my yard, many of which are natives. You may need to put netting over certain plants whose fruit the birds really like.  In my yard that is blueberries. I also protect every new plant from wild rabbits until it is somewhat mature.  Now I just need a solution for squirrels who eat all my nuts...

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Dannytoro1
66 Posts
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15
June 13, 2024 - 4:47 am

Eickoff is a nice Ugandan apple

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jafar
787 Posts
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16
June 13, 2024 - 12:28 pm

I assumed that apples aren't generally grown in Tunisia, but the last couple of posts caused me to question that assumption.

A quick Google search yielded this paper about apples in Tunisia: https://i-proclaim.my/journals.....oad/30/30/

Also, link regarding an apple variety reputed to do well there: https://www.fondazioneslowfood.....eet-apple/

This was my search "tunisia apple production orchard"

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Dannytoro1
66 Posts
(Offline)
17
June 13, 2024 - 6:41 pm

Was was looking at a USDA apple imports list for 2023. It will open your eyes who is growing commercial scale Apples. Egypt? Morocco?

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