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One of the finest apples to have come from Scotland, it was first noted in 1893 and up to the 1960s was grown commercially. Growers stopped producing it because it bruised too easily compared to more modern varieties.

This is a multi-purpose apple and can be used for eating, cooking and making truly superlative apple juice. It crops relatively early in the season as a cooker, leave it a month or so longer and you have a very tasty apple with a slightly unusual texture. Good for growing in many cooler areas of the UK.


PARENTAGE


Neither parent of James Grieve is known for sure but one of them is suspected to be either Pott's Seedling or Cox's Orange Pippin.
 

APPEARANCE AND TASTE OF JAMES GRIEVE APPLES


The apples are slightly larger than average and when fully ripe they look very attractive. A yellow-orange base with lots of red streaks, a picture-postcard apple. Slightly oval in shape.

When picked a couple of weeks before fully ripe they make excellent cooking apples. Slightly sweeter than your average cooker, they keep their shape well in pies. Let the apples ripen fully and they sweeten up even more but still have a background acidity. The flesh is crisp but probably nearer a firm pear type texture than a modern apple. It is full of juicy apple flavour.

One of the reasons that James Grieve fell out out of favour with commercial growers was that they bruise easily. So take care when picking and storing them.

GROWING JAMES GRIEVE APPLES IN THE UK


In the UK, James Grieve is suited to growing in most areas except the much warmer coastal regions. It does well in the far north, Midlands and most of the south. Disease resistance is on the good side.

Follow the basic rules for planting an apple tree. The trees are average as far vigour and height are concerned. We would suggest buying a James Grieve on an M26 rootstock for a small to average sized garden. If your soil is particularly, poor consider an MM106 rootstock.

Flowering and fruiting times for James Grieve are specifically stated near the end of this article. The good news is that this variety is partially self-fertile and will produce a reasonable crop of apples even when grown on its own.

Blossom of James Grieve

James Grieve is in pollination group three and partially self-fertile. It will benefit even further, as far as pollination is concerned, from neighbouring apple trees in groups 2, 3 and 4. It is also a very good pollinator of many other apple trees. The pollen produced by this variety is less affected by cooler temperatures compared to other varieties.

JAMES GRIEVE APPLE PEST AND DISEASE


James Grieve shows slightly above average resistance to pest and disease. The one problem it is prone to is canker. It damages the bark of the tree and the only solution is to cut out the infected areas as soon as as you notice it. Early action reduces the risk of further infections. See the picture below:

Canker damage
Canker damage to a fruit tree

For more information about identifying, treating and avoiding canker see our dedicated page for this disease here.

PRUNING A JAMES GRIEVE APPLE TREE


James Grieve produces fruit buds in the most common way, as a spur bearer. See here for detailed advice on pruning apple trees.

SUMMARY OF JAMES GRIEVE APPLE TREES



USE
: Eating, cooking and juicing

SKIN COLOUR / TEXTURE: Yellow background with red streaks

FLESH COLOUR: Creamy white

TASTE AND TEXTURE: Slightly acidic, full flavoured, Crisp but similar to a firm pear

FRUIT SIZE: Average

STORAGE: Two months

SUITABILITY FOR CORDON / ESPALIER GROWTH: Yes

TREE SIZE: Average

REGULARITY OF CROPPING: Very reliable cropper

POLLINATION: Partially self-fertile. Pollination Group 3 (see here for suitable partners)

AWARDS: Awarded a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 2003, this was reconfirmed in the 2013 trials.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Good taste, does well in cooler parts of the UK
 

FLOWERING AND HARVEST TIMES:


The average flowering time (optimum time for pollination) and date when fruits are ripe in the UK for the James Grieve 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 James Grieve in the UK is the second week of May. Fruit will be ready for harvesting in the second week of September. Click here if you want to set the dates to your home town.

Blossom of James Grieve apple tree
Picture Copyright Notice
James Grieve blossom

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.

BUYING JAMES GRIEVE APPLE TREES


James Grieve trees are available to buy from garden centres, plant nurseries and via websites in the UK. Given the fact that this is a Victorian style variety we would choose Victoriana Nursery as our suppliers, they are specialist in these types of apple tree and have competitive prices and excellent service.

We have negotiated a 10% discount for you with Victoriana Nursery on all trees you buy from them. They are a family run business with a horticultural history dating back to the 1700's. They currently stock James Grieve if you want to buy one with the 10% discount. If you click the picture below

Victoriana Nursery Gardens 

your 10% discount will automatically be deducted from your shopping basket when you buy anything from them - no need to enter a code, it all happens automatically!

In common with most other apple trees buying online from a garden centre looks to be the most expensive option although picking up a tree yourself from your local garden centre will give better prices.

Wait until November onwards and bare-rooted trees will be in stock at much cheaper prices compared to pot grown ones.

Remember that all apple trees need a stake to support them for the first couple of years and some require staking for life. So if you haven't got a stake and a tie for your new tree then buy one when you order the tree for convenience.

COMMON POLLINATION PARTNERS FOR JAMES GRIEVE


James Grieve is in pollination group 3. It is self-fertile but in poor years it may benefit from 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
     
  • Discovery - pollination group 3, self-sterile, eating and cider
     
  • 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
     
  • Fiesta - pollination group 3, partially self-fertile, eater
     
  • Gala - pollination group 4, self-fertile, eater
     
  • Golden Delicious - pollination group 4, partially self-fertile, eater and cooker
     
  • Granny Smith - pollination group 3, self fertile, eater and cooker
     
  • 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
      
  • Kidds Orange Red - pollination group 3, self-sterile, eater
     
  • King of The Pippins - pollination group 4, partially self-fertile, eater and cooker
     
  • 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
     
  • Reverend W Wilks - pollination group 2, self-fertile, cooker
     
  • Scrumptious - pollination group 3, self-fertile, eater
     
  • 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
     
  • Winston - pollination group 4, self-fertile, eater
     
  • Worcester Pearmain - pollination group 3, partially 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: