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All About Dorsett Golden Apples

Out of the 7,500 apple varieties to consider, the Dorsett Golden apples are one of the few that thrive in tropical growing conditions, including zones five through nine in the United States.

Beloved for their high fruit yield, beautiful yellow-green color, and lovely light crisp taste, golden apple crops serve as fantastic pollinators for similar apple varieties. Read on to learn more about Dorsett Golden Apples!

Looking to buy a Dorsett golden apple tree? Check availability. Here too.

Dorsett Golden Apples


Dorsett Golden Apples first appeared in the 1950s in Nassau, Bahamas, descending from the popular Golden Delicious variety. Mrs. Irene Dorsett of New York is credited to have raised the first Golden Dorsett apples in the Bahamas, and they were soon named after her and then brought over to the United States and beyond. It was assigned the botanical name malus and became popular for cross-pollination with the Anna apple that originated in Israel.

Experts disagree on the number of chill time (during which the plant is dormant) hours that a Dorsett Apple tree requires each year, with some saying less than 100 hours, and others claiming between 250 and 300. But because of its tropical origin, we can say for certain that the Dorsett Apple tree requires much less chill time than most apple trees, which usually need 500 to upwards of about 1000 hours of chill time in a year.

If its chill hours aren’t long enough to cause consistent dormancy in the tree in any given year, the Dorsett Apple trees’ blooming and fruit production will start later in the season, or the tree might even start behaving as an evergreen.

Sweet Flavor Profile

Out of all the apples grown in the United States, Dorsett Golden apples are some of the sweetest. These lightly aromatic apples are juicy and sweet with a refreshing crunch. When grown in extremely healthy and fertile soil, the flesh can be a great combination of firm yet creamy for a refreshing, healthy snack.

The overall flavor can depend on the growing conditions and harvest time. While ample sun exposure is definitely recommended for this fruit tree, many growers find that this type of apple produces enhanced flavor in locations with a bit of shade. This is the opposite from the typical recommendations for cooler and winter climates.

How to Use Dorsett Golden Apples

You can put a lot on the menu with Dorsett golden apples, which have a delectable, fruity flavor to complement fan-favorite homestyle recipes. A medium to large Dorsett Golden apple can be used to make a vibrant fruit salad or a yummy apple pie to share with family and friends.

The Anna apple pairs well with the Dorsett for cooking and baking. These two low chill varieties offer a great mix of tart and sweet flavors to produce mouthwatering muffins, pastries, and breads. You can also save them to use for a butter spread or jug of tasty apple cider at any time of the year.

Yummy Apple Pie

Keep in mind that Dorsett Golden apples do not keep as well as other apple varieties in the United States, so store them in the refrigerator and try to snack on them sooner rather than later.

Dorsett Golden Apples: Nutrition

The fruits from a Dorsett Golden apple tree are healthy and nutrient-rich so you can feel good about eating them. Not only does every apple contain very few calories, but this fruit also has a variety of nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C. With a decent amount of fiber in each apple, Dorsett Golden Apples are a smart addition to a healthy diet.

Having fruit that’s as healthy and delicious as a perfectly ripe apple is even better when you grow this fruit at home. The ideal growing conditions for these apples are achievable in both mild and tropical climates with the right planning and preparation, so it’s a versatile option if you’re interested in healthy homegrown fruits without any chemicals. Knowing that you grew the fruit root trees from start to finish in your garden makes the affordable price of home growing even better.

Where to Buy a Dorsett Golden Apple Tree

While traditionally Dorsett Golden apple trees were available primarily in nurseries near their growing zones, now they can be purchased across all areas of the United States.

Dorsett Golden apple trees can be purchased online at the following locations:

Growing Dorsett Golden Apples in the United States

Orchard with Dorsett Golden Apples

Mediterranean climates are perfect for the Dorsett apple tree. These fruit trees flourish in the warm weather of Southern California, Florida, and the Bahamas where it first started. It’s possible to grow the Dorsett apple tree in more mild regions of the United States, although colder conditions in the winter can alter its timeline to flower and fruit, making it a later season variety.

While this tree is naturally hardy and able to withstand the elements, disease, and pests quite well, many home growers see even better results by applying fertilizer to the root ball each year. Fruit will appear within the first year of planting, and these apples are ripe and ready for picking by the middle of June or the start of July. 

With a low chill time between 100-200 hours, home growers can grow them in home gardens as a relatively low-maintenance crop compared to other varieties. It is important to monitor these trees in mid-to-late June so the fruit is picked when it’s just ripe. These trees flourish when planted in slightly acidic and fertile soil during the winter months from December to February.

Tips for Proven Planting Success

If it’s one of your first ventures into home growing or you’re exploring new apple types, it’s important to prepare your garden space to set the Dorsett up to prosper, keeping in mind its growth rate and chill time.

The Perfect Spot

First things first, look for a spot where the soil drains properly, so the trees won’t be flooded by heavy rains and standing water. Also think about sunlight, and select a space where the sun shines directly for a minimum of six hours each day.

Planting Time

When it comes time to plant the tree, dig a hole deep enough to contain the root ball and twice as wide. Put the tree into position before filling the soil and patting it down to eliminate air pockets. Make sure you put mulch around the tree, but not touching the trunk base. This locks in moisture and helps the roots settle in.

Watering and Pruning

Appropriately maintaining the tree and any nearby plants helps to support the growth rate and achieve plentiful crops for delicious home recipes. A weekly watering routine is important, especially if your region is going through a heatwave or even drought. If you’re not positive whether more water is needed, just check if the soil is dry around the two or three-inch mark. If it is, it’s time for some more water.

Periodic pruning is recommended once the tree matures and bears fruit. Leave the pruning for dormant times and take off damaged branches or fast-growing stems.

Similar Fruits

Other early season and tropical apple varieties found in the United States include Ein Shemer, Anna, Fuji, and TropicSweet. Not all apple trees (Malus domestica) thrive in warmer environments, but the Dorsett Golden Apple Tree is a great choice with a similar flavor profile to the fruit from Golden Delicious trees.


How big do Dorsett apple trees get?

Depending on the growing conditions and the type of root trees selected, you can expect Dorsett apple trees to be anywhere from 5-20 ft at mature height. It’s beneficial to have well drained soil to support the tree’s rootstocks, and the more sun the trees get, the better.

Thanks to its minimal chill requirements, it’s possible to successfully grow the Dorsett Golden apple throughout zone 5 all the way to zone 9. While the planting location is important, so is the amount of sun. Growing areas can include a bit of shade to positively influence the final flavor.

With the array of apple trees and soil types to order online, you can choose shorter or taller trees based on your home garden space and overall goals for apple trees and other fruit/veggie plants.

How long does it take for a golden apple tree to grow?

Within one to two years of planting this bare root tree, you can see a generous apple crop for some extremely yummy and healthy recipes. The growing environment in zone 9 or similar areas supports durable and highly-resistant trees that give you early season fruits with a similar firmness and flavor to fall harvests.

What is a golden apple good for?

Growing a Dorsett Golden apple tree in the United States is a fun home growing project. This apple variety offers a tasty, healthy fruit that grows well in drained soil and mild to tropical regions. With an impressive chill requirement of 100 hours, it’s a great choice for first-time home growers who want a fantastic fruit in nearly full sun conditions.

Once the tree fruit is ripe and ready to go, with its light, pretty pink plush, you can pick them and either start crunching away or store them in the fridge for home cooking or baking. Try making a succulent apple spread or a good old fashioned pie for a fabulously fruity dessert.

Do you need two apple trees to get Golden apples?

Yes, a different type of apple tree is required to pollinate the Dorsett across zones 5 through 9. The crab apple and Anna apple tree varieties are listed in many customer reviews as good pollination partners for the Dorsett. Some home growers place orders of multiple varieties at the same time so they can grow them side by side to get the best yield.

Golden Apples on a Tree
Autumn Harvest Season Yellow apples on apple tree leaves

Learn More About Apples

If you’re ready to grow your own Dorsett Golden Apples, don’t forget to order yours online today. You can type in your zip code to find the best fruit tree near you.

Excited for more apple content? Visit my apple trees page to learn more about apple planting, growing, picking, cooking, and more!


Monday 19th of June 2023

in my tropical area, Batu,East Jawa region in Indonesia, we have apple variety like Dorsett. we named it "MANALAGI".

murray Harrison

Tuesday 30th of May 2023

i have a dorset gold apple tree that has apple anna as part of its branches.they neither one did well last rear. this year seams better. when does the apple anna ripen?


Wednesday 31st of May 2023

Depends on your location.


Saturday 25th of June 2022

I was just curious about the history of this apple, which doesn't make sense to me. If Mrs. Dorsett planted an apple orchard in Nassau Bahamas, how could it have produced apples since their coldest temperatures are rarely below 59 degrees and cannot possibly meet the minimum 200 hour below 45 temps to set fruit? Seems to me that if these apples grow in the Bahamas they should easily grow in Miami Florida, where I've seen the temperature drop below freezing multiple times in my life, where it gets in the forties almost every year. I'd like to see that orchard.


Monday 27th of June 2022

Hi Dan - One of our editors fact-checked this, and found "that the Dorsett Golden Apple originated in Nassau, and that its chill time of around 200 hours is exceptionally lower than that other apple trees, which allows it to grow in tropical region."

We updated the post slightly though and added that "If its chill hours aren't long enough to cause consistent dormancy in the tree in any given year, the Dorsett Apple trees' blooming and fruit production will start later in the season, or the tree might even start behaving as an evergreen."

Thank you for bringing this up!


Tuesday 12th of April 2022

My Dorsett Golden always sprouts after Anna is completely finished blooming. This year, for example, my Anna has marble-sized fruit, and the Dorsett Golden has yet to start sprouting.


Saturday 16th of April 2022

Do you get good pollination regardless of the mismatch in timing?

LaDonna Woodley

Friday 25th of March 2022

I already have a Dorsett Golden apple tree. I have ordered an Arkansas Black apple tree and want to know if they are good pollinators for each other or do I need to purchase something else like the crab tree you mentioned.


Saturday 9th of April 2022

This is my favorite pollination chart. Check here: