There are many wonderful Irish apple varieties; an excellent one is Malus ‘Irish Peach’, sometimes known as M. ‘Early Crofton’ as it is thought to have originated in Sligo as part of the Crofton collection. This is a fine dessert apple described as having fruits that are small and round with a smooth pale yellow skin sometimes marked with dark red stripes. M. ‘Irish Peach’ is a real beauty in terms of colour and taste, it is the first Irish variety to ripen and is usually ready by the end of August or by mid-September and has a real tang.
All fruit trees have a pollinator requirement. The modern apple flowering period is broken into seven groups numbered 1-7. In general, a variety will be pollinated by trees in the same flowering group and those in adjacent flowering groups. M. ‘Irish Peach’ is in group 2. The final size of the tree is determined by the rootstock; MM106 makes a good ‘bush’ tree around 12-15 feet in height and spread. Whether or not the old saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is true, there is great pleasure to be had not only from the blossom but also from picking and eating your own fruit.
(As appeared in Newsletter 155, April 2022. Text courtesy of Peter Milligan)