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Apple is an ancient tree dating back to 600 years BC. It is a wild species originating in China, the Caucasus, and the shores of the Caspian Sea. Apple is one of the most important pome fruit trees in the world, followed by olive and grape, with 7,500 different varieties being produced. In 2005 world production was estimated at around 55 million tons. Today the United States is the major producer with about 15% of world production, followed by Italy and then France and Germany. In the Arab world Apple cultivation has expanded significantly in recent years, with Syria being the third largest producer of apples after Egypt and Morocco.

Occurrence & Agricultural Importance in this Country:
Cultivation Areas:
Apple cultivation takes place in many Syrian governorates: (Damascus countryside, Suweida, Homs, Tartous, Lattakia, Idlib, Hama and Quneitra) Some are irrigated and this area is approximately one third is concentrated in Damascus countryside, Homs, Tartous and Lattakia. The remainder, rainfed only is concentrated in Suweida, Damascus countryside, Homs, Lattakia and Hama.
Main Varieties:
Soucary, Alskargi, Airlie red bird, Stark spore Lodi,Macintosh, John kraimz, Stark Airlie Belize, Royal Gala, Ozark Gold,  Golden 972, Top red, Red Spore, Star king,  red Delicious, Granny  Smith, Scarlett stimard, Aldrshawe, Abu Gabra, Silver Apples: average ripen in the end of August, Alkhlati
Marketing Information and Uses:
Apple Fruits are profitable and because the different varieties have different maturity dates, production continues from mid-June until November. Apple fruits are mainly eaten fresh and have high nutritional value.
Increased interest in Apple cultivation in Syria has meant that there is a surplus of production and consequently some are now exported  to several countries in the world such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and Russia.
Crop Management:
Cultivation conditions and methods:
Soil Type:
Medium soils with good drainage are ideal, with ground water levels deep enough to avoid contact with the roots.  Land must not be troubled by stone and calcium layers; it must also be free of salinity
Apples are adaptable to various climates, but they are best adapted to the cool temperate zones. In warmer climates, care must be taken because actually apples need a significant exposure to cold temperatures (between 0°C and 7°C, to break dormancy and begin to produce buds the following spring.
Water Requirements:
Regular watering is important and the first year is critical with new plantations. Various methods may be used, including drip irrigation, mulching, and xeriscaping. Mulches can significantly cool the root zone and conserve moisture.
Nutrition Requirements:
A soil test can determine existing nutrient levels in the soil.
Harvesting Period:
The harvest season ranges from midsummer to late autumn, depending on the variety. For fresh consumption, harvest when the fruit is eatable, or 2 weeks from full maturity if they are to be placed in storage.
Harvesting Methods:
Apples are harvested by hand and first placed in picking bags, plastic or polystyrene containers.  Some large orchards use large wooden pallet bins. The fruit is then graded and packed.  Grading and packing is often done by hand, but on big orchards modern sorting machines are replacing manual labour.

Crop Compendium

Crop Compendium

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