USE: Eating also cooks well and is good for juices
SKIN COLOUR / TEXTURE: Mainly red, orange / green background - Red Falstaff has a redder skin compared to Falstaff
FLESH COLOUR: Crisp creamy white
TASTE AND TEXTURE: Good balance of sweetness and acidity, crisp and crunchy with lots of juice
FRUIT SIZE: Average
STORAGE: Two months
SUITABILITY FOR CORDON / ESPALIER GROWTH: Yes
TREE SIZE: Average size depending on rootstock and conditions
REGULARITY OF CROPPING: Very regular
POLLINATION: Group 3, self-fertile but does even better with a suitable pollination partner
AWARDS: RHS AGM in 1993, reconfirmed in 2013
SPECIAL FEATURES: Taste and texture are excellent. Easy to grow.
FLOWERING AND HARVEST TIMES:
The average main flowering time for Falstaff in the UK is the second week of May. Fruit will be ready for harvesting in the first week of October. Click here if you want to set the dates to your home town.
Flowering and fruit picking dates vary according to the weather in any particular growing season so the above dates may well change slightly from one year to the next. The flowering date above is when the apple tree produces the maximum number of blossoms, it will also produce blossom, although less, a week or two either side of the date given.
FALSTAFF PESTS AND DISEASES
Falstaff has good overall pest and disease resistance even when grown in cool and wetter than average conditions. It is only average however as far as scab and aphid problems are concerned.
This is a fungal disease which primarily affects the leaves, fruit and the general health of the tree. In spring the leaves have small yellow patches on them which soon turn brown. In July / August the leaves fall prematurely and prevent the fruits from developing correctly.
The fruits are also commonly affected and will have greyish, slightly raised or sunken areas on the
surface. This affected area will not grow with rest of the apple causing it to split eventually,
providing an ideal site for other infections to enter.
Apples with scab are safe to eat, simply cut out the affected surface area. The surface damage will however, affect the storage life which will be minimal. So eat apples affected by scab before eating ones in good condition.
The primary treatment for the home gardener is to pick up and destroy all fallen leaves and fruit because these contain the spores which will cause re-infection next year. The chemical spray commonly available to gardeners for treating scab contains myclobutanil (Systhane). Brand names include Bayer Systhane Fungus Fighter. Click here for more detailed information on identifying and treating apple scab.
The first signs to look out for are the aphids themselves on the undersides of the leaves. Often they are not initially visible with the naked eye so a magnifying glass may be required.
[Aphids on a blackcurrant leaf]
Adult aphids on a leaf
Secondary signs of aphids are leaves curling inwards and distorted. The attack won't be fatal to the tree but if the infestation is significant it will affect the number of apples which reach full size. Read our article dedicated to recognising, avoiding and treating aphids here.
For a full description of common apple pests and diseases click here.
PRUNING FALSTAFF / RED FALSTAFF
Falstaff is a spur bearing apple tree which is the commonest type and easiest as far as pruning is concerned. It's very average as far as vigour and shape is concerned so can be pruned annually exactly as described in our detailed page on pruning apple trees.
In summary, fter the initial shape-forming pruning in the first three years of its life, the following principles should be applied with each annual prune:
Avoid pruning fruiting spurs - see the picture below for an example of a fruiting spur
[fruiting spur on apple tree]
Apple tree fruiting spur
Prune the tree roughly into a wine goblet shape. Outward growing branches with an uncluttered central area.
Don't hard prune an overgrown Falstaff apple tree. Spread any corrective pruning over two to three years.
Remove crossing and touching branches. As the wind blows they will rub together and open wounds which allow diseases to enter.
Prune out diseased wood wherever it is. It is most unlikely to recover to a healthy condition and may spread further through the tree.
Clean up afterwards. Any leaves, stems or branches left on the ground will quickly become a breeding ground for pests and diseases.