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Discovery is best known because it produces some of the earliest apples in the UK. The cropping time is mid to late August and lasts for about a month into September.

The supermarkets love this variety not only because of its attractive red colour but also because it allows them to sell UK apples early in the season. However, Discovery only keeps for about a week and the supermarkets invariably sell them when they are not at their best. It's a pity because eaten fresh from the tree the apples are a delight. If you must keep them (a week at most) then store them in the fridge.


PARENTAGE


One of the parents is Worcester Pearmain, the other parent is not confirmed. The apple tree was first introduced in 1949 and has been awarded an AGM by the Royal Horticultural Society.

APPEARANCE, TASTE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF DISCOVERY APPLE TREE


The key identifying characteristics of Discovery include its very bright red colour with only streaks of green. The apples are smaller than many others and are produced very early in the season, from August until mid-September.

In common with other early producing apple trees the fruits store for only a short period of time, a week at very most. For the maximum storage life keep apples in the fridge. They are best eaten straight after picking and if there is an excess they make excellent apple juice. The apple skin is bright red with small amounts of green and the flesh is a very light cream colour.

The apples have a sweet and acidic flavour which suits most people. The texture is hard and crisp with lots of juice. Discovery belongs to pollination group 3 and the flowers are rarely affected by late frosts. They are suitable for growing in all but the coldest areas of the UK. Discovery is self sterile and needs a pollination partner if it is to produce fruit (click here for suitable pollination partners).

Online Discovery apple trees

PEST AND DISEASE OF DISCOVERY APPLE TREE


Discovery has excellent all round pest and disease resistance and is a good choice if mildew or scab are a problem in your area. If anything is going to cause problems with this variety, it is most likely to be aphids.

The first signs to look out for are the pests 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.

BUYING A DISCOVERY APPLE TREE


Discovery apple trees are often for sale in garden centres especially so because it is the earliest fruiting of the popular apple trees in the UK. It is not normally found for sale in supermarkets and discount stores. It is widely available from many of the online suppliers of apple trees. Probably best grown on an M26 rootstock for an easily manageable garden tree it is also fine on the slightly more vigorous MM106 rootstock.

ALTERNATIVES TO DISCOVERY APPLE TREE


When considering alternatives to this variety the key features to look for are an early maturing apple with a relatively sweet taste and one that has good disease resistance. The following have some or all of those characteristics:
  1. WORCESTER PEARMAIN - fruit ripens in the second week of September, not quite as early as Discovery but earlier than most. The look of the apples is very rosy red and they have the required sweet taste with a crisp and juicy texture. It does fail slightly as far as pest and disease is concerned, with scab and canker being a slight problem. As well as an eater it can also be used as a cooker.
     
  2. KATY - fruit ripens in the first to second week of September only a week or two after Discovery. The apples tend to be slightly smaller but they have an attractive red skin with a sweetish taste (with a background acidity) and lots of crunch and juice. Disease resistance matches that of Discovery. They don't store well but do last for two weeks or so. A true multi-purpose apple, good for eating, cooking and juicing.
     
  3. SCRUMPTIOUS - another early variety with a red skin. Sweet tasting with a good depth of flavour. If you are looking for a self-fertile variety then this is a good choice. Only average pest and disease resistance, watch out for bitter pit problems. The fruits crop over a two two week period.

SUMMARY CHARACTERISTICS OF DISCOVERY



USE
: Eating also good for cider

SKIN COLOUR / TEXTURE: Mainly red with a small amount of yellow background

FLESH COLOUR: White

TASTE AND TEXTURE: Sweet and crunchy

FRUIT SIZE: Average

SUITABILITY FOR CORDON / ESPALIER GROWTH: No

TREE SIZE: Average size depending on rootstock and conditions

REGULARITY OF CROPPING: Regular

READY FOR PICKING: Last week of August

POLLINATION: Group 3, self-sterile and needs a suitable pollination partner

AWARDS: AGM reconfirmed in 2013

SPECIAL FEATURES: Very early to crop but needs to be eaten fresh, keeps for only a week. Good resistance to scab.

FLOWERING AND HARVEST TIMES:


The average flowering time (optimum time for pollination) and date when fruits are ripe for harvest in the UK for the Discovery apple tree are set out below. If you have set your home town we can give you a more accurate estimate, if you have not set your home town (do it now by clicking here) the dates below will be the average for the UK.

Your town has not been set, the average main flowering time for Discovery in the UK is the second week of May. Fruit will be ready for harvesting in the last week of August. 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.

COMMON POLLINATION PARTNERS FOR DISCOVERY


Discovery is in pollination group 3, self-sterile and needs a pollination partner. Suitable pollination varieties include the following:
  • Alkmene - pollination group 2, self-sterile, eater
     
  • Arthur Turner - pollination group 3, self-sterile, cooker
     
  • Beauty of Bath - pollination group 2, self-sterile, eater
     
  • Bountiful - pollination group 3, self-sterile, cooker
     
  • Braeburn - pollination group 4, self-fertile, eater
     
  • Charles Ross - pollination group 3, partially self-fertile, cooker and eater
     
  • Court of Wick - pollination group 3, self-sterile, eater and cooker
     
  • Devonshire Quarrenden - pollination group 2, partially self-fertile, cooker
     
  • Dumelows Seedling - pollination group 4, self-sterile, cooker
     
  • Egremont Russet - pollination group 2, partially self-fertile, eater and cooker
     
  • Ellison's Orange - pollination group 4, partially self-fertile, eater
     
  • Falstaff - pollination group 3, self-fertile, eater
     
  • Fiesta - pollination group 3, partially self-fertile, eater
     
  • Gala - pollination group 4, partially self-fertile, eater
     
  • Golden Delicious - pollination group 4, partially self-fertile, eater and cooker
     
  • Granny Smith - pollination group 3, self-fertile, eater and cooker
     
  • Greensleeves - pollination group 2, self-fertile, eater, cooker, juice
     
  • Grenadier - pollination group 3, partially self-fertile, cooker
     
  • Honeycrisp - pollination group 4, self-sterile, eater
     
  • Howgate Wonder - pollination group 3, partially self-fertile, cooker and eater
     
  • Idared - pollination group 2, self-sterile, eater
     
  • James Grieve - pollination group 3, partially self-fertile, cooker and eater
     
  • Katy - pollination group 3, self-sterile, both
     
  • Kidds Orange Red - pollination group 3, self-sterile, eater
     
  • King of The Pippins - pollination group 4, partially self-fertile, eater and cooker
     
  • Lanes Prince Albert - pollination group 4, self-sterile, cooking
     
  • Laxtons Fortune - pollination group 3, partially self-fertile, eater
     
  • Laxtons Superb - pollination group 4, partially self-fertile, eater
     
  • Lord Derby - pollination group 4, self-sterile, cooker
     
  • Lord Lambourne - pollination group 2, self-fertile, eater and cooker
     
  • Newton Wonder - pollination group 4, partially self-fertile, cooker
     
  • Peasgoods Nonsuch - pollination group 3, partially self-fertile, cooker
     
  • Rajka - pollination group 4, self-sterile, eater
     
  • Red Falstaff - pollination group 3, self-fertile, eater
     
  • Red Windsor - pollination group 2, self-fertile, eater
     
  • Reverend W Wilks - pollination group 2, self-fertile, cooker
     
  • Sops in Wine - pollination group 3, self-sterile, juicer
     
  • Spartan - pollination group 3, self-fertile, eater
     
  • Sunset - pollination group 3, self-fertile, eater
     
  • Tydemans Late Orange - pollination group 4, self-sterile, eater
     
  • Waltz - pollination group 3, self-sterile, eater
     
  • Winston - pollination group 4, self-fertile, eater
     

The full list of apple tree varieties which we have reviewed is listed below. Select any one of them and then click the "More Information" button to be taken to the in depth review: