Ministry of Agriculture

Ambrosia Apple

Ambrosia apples just before picking.

Ambrosia apples in the bin

Canadian Plant Breeders Right 388 - Ambrosia is protected in Canada and in the United States and the propagation and/or sale of the variety is prohibited without the consent of the PICO (okanagan Plant Improvement Company, Box 6000, Summerland, BC, Canada, V0H 1Z0).

Planting Trend - Planting trends for this variety are increasing. Royalties will increase as of 2005 which could limit plantings.

Fruit Description - Ambrosia is a medium to large apple averaging 80-100 box size (220-280 g). Fruit from mature trees are uniform in size and symmetrical. The colour is up to 75% to 80% total red colour with a distinctive pink/red blush and faint broad stripes over a creamy white/yellow background. The shape is conic and angular with a wide deep calyx.

Flesh - Cream coloured.

Flavour - Fruit is sweet, sub acid, crisp, juicy and aromatic.

Maturity - Ambrosia matures between Spartan and the beginning of Red Delicious picking time. Two picks are required for optimum quality. A three year assessment reports fruit destined for storage is best harvested with a starch rating of between 2 and 5 on the Ambrosia chart. Do not use any other criteria for harvest. Storage life - Considered to have 3 months in air storage and 6 months in CA. This variety is best suited to CA storage.

Tree Characteristics - Ambrosia tends to grow very upright and spurry. It develops feathers, spurs and some strong branches. The variety is precocious and very productive and the tree form needs to be established before fruiting. It is important to train the tree in its first two years to establish the fruiting area. The tree is similar in habit to Spur Red Delicious and can be treated similarly. Ambrosia tends to produce weaker wood once fruiting begins.

Hardiness - Appears to be relatively good.

Disadvantages - No major problems have been found for this variety. The main question is its acceptability as a new variety.

Cultural Information - Fumigation is recommended for all planting sites. Ambrosia has responded better in fumigated soils. With super spindle training, there appears to be a tendency to throw a few poorly spaced, strong, upright branches when the rootstock/variety combination is M9/Ambrosia. The trees will feather and spur up along the trunk. The B9/Ambrosia combination throws stronger branches and makes strong, compact, multi-branched trees that require branch removal or intensive training to maximize fruiting area. Ottawa 3 is not recommended for a rootstock. With slender spindle and standard training the M26/Ambrosia combination results in a tree that is vigorous and upright. Branching is strong, balanced and requires training to fill the space. Branch maintenance should begin as soon as possible to acquire the proper angles and sufficient growth to ensure maximum fruiting area. Heading at planting will help in establishing the necessary branching. Ambrosia tends to produce weaker wood after fruiting begins. The variety is precocious and early fruiting can lead to slowing of growth and perhaps an inability for the tree to reach its potential size and therefore not be able to fill the space. Ambrosia appears to be less susceptible to mildew than Jonagold. No significant disorders or susceptibilities have been noticed to date.

Bloom Time and Pollination - Ambrosia blooms just before Red Delicious and can be pollinated with the varieties that pollinate Red Delicious or any diploid apple variety with the same blossom time. These include Golden Delicious, Gala, Spartan and Manchurian Crab. Ambrosia is a heavy bloomer that appears to react well to chemical thinning; some hand thinning may be necessary.