Malus Domestica Pilot or Apple Pilot A late-season dessert apple tree, Malus Domestica Pilot was created in Germany at the Institute of Fruit Resistance of Dresden Pillnitz. Developed to have low susceptibility to common diseases that affect apple trees, this cultivar is a result of crossing Clivia and Undine varieties. Exceptionally robust and resilient, this variety of apple fruit tree produces a good crop of sweet red and green apples.
Pale pink, small flowers engulf the loosely branched crown of the tree from April through to May. Fading to white, blossoms are lightly scented and followed by fruit. Malus Domestica Pilot produces a good crop of apples, that is ready for picking in mid-October. The base colour of the fruit is yellowish-green, but a beautiful deep red flush covers the most of the skin. The cream flesh is firm and has a sweet, fruity taste. Even though they are delicious when eaten right after the harvest, the flavour of these apples only improves if it is stored for a few weeks.
Not unlike its close relatives, Apple Pilot prefers loamy soils, medium fertile and well-drained. It tolerates both full sun and partial shade, but for a good fruit production, it is recommended to choose a sunny location. Even though this cultivar has proved to be very frost hardy and does not require any additional protection for its blossoms, it will undoubtedly appreciate being grown in a sheltered spot in the garden. A self-sterile variety, Apple Pilot requires cross-fertilization to produce a good crop. Ideally, pollination partners would be Gloster, Elstar or Golden Delicious, but any apple tree variety will serve the purpose. For gardeners that cannot provide a pollination partner due to limited space, alternative options include ‘family tree’ grafting and insect pollination.
Fully hardy in the United Kingdom, Apple Pilot is a reliable performer with outstanding resilience to pests and diseases. Specially bred, this German apple variety is much more resistant to powdery mildew, fireblight and apple scab.
Considered small to medium sized when compared to other apple tree varieties, Malus Domestica Pilot can achieve a maximum height of 3 to 4 metres. When it comes to maintenance, keeping this cultivar in top shape requires no extra effort. Annual pruning will ensure the tree stays healthy and happy. The pruning method will depend on the training form of the cultivar.