History: Kingston Black is named after the English town Kingston St Mary where it was grown in orchards around a parish. Its dark maroon flesh earned the second part of its name, 'black.' This apple produces a great single-variety cider which made it quite popular by the 1800s and by 1950 it was the most commonly grown cider apple in the West of England. Although its popularity has waned due to its poor cropping and disease susceptibility, it is still renowned among cider enthusiasts.
Why We Grow It: This English cider apple produces a well-balanced juice, capable of creating a vintage cider of excellent quality. Although the variety has its downsides, there is a reason it has remained popular with cider enthusiasts.
Canadian Hardiness Zone: 5
Soil Preference: Sandy loam, loam, clay loam. Prefers average to moist conditions, avoid planting anywhere that floods for more than two weeks in the spring. Generally quite adaptable to different soil conditions.
Growth Habits and Disease Resistance: Moderately vigorous with a spreading growth habit, slow to start producing fruit and has poor crops. Slightly susceptible to scab and susceptible to canker but resistant to brown rot.
Sun/Shade: Full sun (approx. 8-10 hours of sun daily)
Pollination: Requires a pollinator of a different apple variety that blooms around the same time
Flowering Time: Middle
Ripens: Late October
Storage: Keeps a couple of weeks when stored in cool, humid conditions
Recommended Use: Cider
- Class: Bittersharp
- Sugar: High, SG 1.061
- Acidity: Medium, 5.8 g/L
- Tannins: Medium, 1.9 g/L
- Juice Yield: Low
- Taste: Well-balanced, mildly bitter with a great apple flavour and hints of butterscotch and citrus
- Recommendations: Produces a great single-variety cider
Size including roots:
- 1 year grade 100-200 cm whip
- 2 year grade 100 cm+ with 3 or more branches, 30 cm or more
- B grade less than 100 cm
*Information based on Claude Jolicouer's The New Cidermaker's Handbook and Washington State University's "Cultivar Performance Gallery"