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Introduced: 1790, Maine
Little known outside of the Maine, Black Oxfords are neck-and-neck with Honeycrisp to be the most popular apple consumed in Maine — and for good reason. They are a dream crop. Their trees can withstand disease, and their apples can store longer than average while still maintaining their sweet, tart taste. The Black Oxford produces a medium-sized round apple. Its color may have you believing you were growing plums by accident. The biggest giveaway that you’re growing a Black Oxford is the apple’s skin, which is a deep purple, almost blackish with some flecks of green. Inside, it has a bright white flesh and is moderately juicy.
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Plant where trees will get sun for most of the day in a well drained soil. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots, don’t add fertilizers or compost when filling the hole, save those for a top-dressing once the tree leafs out. Always protect your new trees with a “mouse guard” either a wrap from a garden center or a tube made from hardware cloth. Apple trees set better crops when at least two different varieties are planted for cross pollination.