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Fruit Fact: Pettingill, a variety of apples

Pettingill is the champion of apple pies; out of the 800 apples growing in the Cloudforest, Pettingill by far has made the best apple pie I've ever tasted. Pettingill is also the only low chill apple we know of so far that competes with a good Northern grown old world heirloom apple. It has a nice sweet and tart complexity and stores well like an old world apple. But it is not an apple for the amateur as it requires some storage time off the tree to mellow, especially in Southern California, and it's easy to pick way too early, yet it's a very late apple. It's a star in Northern California and deserves to be grown in many northern climates.

Variety Background:

Most Common Name: Pettingill
Species: malus domestica seedling
Origin: Pettingill is a chance seedling discovered near Long Beach and was introduced in 1949.
Patents or Trademarks:


Description: Large round fruit with red blush and stripes over green skin, somewhat irregularly shaped. Skin becomes slightly greasy in storage.

Flavor and tasting notes: The yellow-green flesh is sweet and tart, with good tannin production even in warm climates. It colors up about a month before it is fully ripe, and will continue to ripen in storage off the tree.


Pettingill originated in Long Beach, hence it is supposed to be adapted to Southern California's low chill conditions. It is self fertile, but it's also a partial tip bearer, which means it takes time before it begins to fruit. We've received missed reviews on how this apple performs in Southern California, however, it is a prolific producer in Central and Northern California, even in the lower chill portions of the San Francisco Peninsula.

Bloom Time Rating:

Growth Habit:

Very vigorous in medium to high chill climates, drops to T2 in low chill settings. Willowy limbertwig style bearer, shoots go straight up, then start tip bearing and will form additional spurs as branches weep downwards from the tip bearing. So it's rather difficult to shape properly. Takes a long time to fruit because of the tip bearing behavior and spur production that occurs only on horizontal branches.

Vigor: T3

Harvest, storage and consumption:

Pettingill is a tricky apple to harvest because it blooms and ripens over a longer period of time. In low chill settings the harvest is spread out even further. To make matters worse, pettingill will color up long before the fruit is actually ripe, and harvesting the apple too early means it will be really tart.

Begin of Harvest: early Oct
End of Harvest: early Nov
Stores Until: mid Jan


By far one of the best cookers we have come across. Cooking brings out an amazing apple aroma that makes the best apple pie hands down. It's also a good dessert apple for those who like slightly tarter apples. Makes a great apple juice.

Eating: Yes
Cooking: Yes
Cider: Yes


Slightly susceptible to scab.

Scab Susceptibility: Medium
Fire Blight Susceptibility:
Powdery Mildew Susceptibility:
Cedar Apple Rust Susceptibility:
Black Rot Susceptibility:
Phytopthera Rots Susceptibility:
Fly Speck Susceptibility:
Coddling Moth Susceptibility:

Nurseries that carry this variety:

Readily available in several California nurseries, propagated by Dave Wilson.

This apple is not in GRIN.


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