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Apple

Apple is an ancient tree dating back to 600 years BC. It is a wild species originating in China, the Caucasus, and the shores of the Caspian Sea. Apple is one of the most important pome fruit trees in the world, followed by olive and grape, with 7,500 different varieties being produced. In 2005 world production was estimated at around 55 million tons. Today the United States is the major producer with about 15% of world production, followed by Italy and then France and Germany. In the Arab world Apple cultivation has expanded significantly in recent years, with Syria being the third largest producer of apples after Egypt and Morocco.

Taxonomy:
Family:
Rosaceae
Genus:
Malus
Occurrence & Agricultural Importance in this Country:
Main Varieties:
Many varieties are grown in Jordan, including Sommer Red, Vista Bella, Jersey Mac, Earli Gold, Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith.
Marketing Information and Uses:
Use:
Most of the apple crop is marketed packed in containers and sold through the central markets for fresh consumption.
Markets:
Apple growing in Jordan is relatively new. Nowadays Jordan produces about 20-30 thousand tons of apples and this has contributed to a decline in imports. Production figures are expected to continue to increase in the coming years as new plantations come into economic production.
Crop Management:
Cultivation conditions and methods:
Soil Type:
Medium soils with good drainage are ideal, with ground water levels deep enough to avoid contact with the roots. Land must not be troubled by stone and calcium layers; it must also be free of salinity.
Temperatures:
Apples are adaptable to various climates, but they are best adapted to the cool temperate zones. In warmer climates, care must be taken because actually apples need a significant exposure to cold temperatures (between 0°C and 7°C, to break dormancy and begin to produce buds the following spring.
Water Requirements:
Regular watering is important and the first year is critical with new plantations. Various methods may be used, including drip irrigation, mulching, and xeriscaping. Mulches can significantly cool the root zone and conserve moisture.
Nutrition Requirements:
A soil test can determine existing nutrient levels in the soil.
Harvesting Period:
The harvest season ranges from midsummer to late autumn, depending on the variety. Low chill cultivars are harvested first in July and August (Sommer Red, Vista Bella, Jersey Mac, Earli Gold and Royal Gala) and the remaining crop is harvested later, in September and October (Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith).
Harvesting Methods:
Apples are harvested by hand and first placed in picking bags, plastic or polystyrene containers. Some large orchards use large wooden pallet bins. The fruit is then graded and packed. Grading and packing is often done by hand, but on big orchards modern sorting machines are replacing manual labour.

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