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All About Spartan Apples

The Spartan apple tree is the Canadian version of the well-known McIntosh apple tree. The fruit is a deep-red color that is smaller in size than the McIntosh apple. These small trees are easy to grow and will make a great addition to your fruit tree collection in your garden.

Ripe Spartan Apples
Gardener with a freshly picked box of ripe Spartan apples.

This fruit tree is very attractive with its many blooms and deep, red apples. The apples can mature to a dark purple-red color when left on the tree.

History of the Apple Tree Spartan

Spartan Apple Tree
Spartan apple tree branch with apple after rain. Attractive, crunchy, sweet, easy to grow, and with the characteristic delicate wine-like “vinous” flavor of the McIntosh family of apples.

The Spartan apple tree is a very popular McIntosh apple. It was first grown in Summerland, Canada at the Canadian Apple Research Station, sometime in the 1920s.

It is most likely a cross of the Albermarle Pippin and McIntosh apple tree. Another fruit that might have been used with the McIntosh is the Yellow Newtown Pippin.

No matter what fruit was used, the Spartan apple tree has become popular due to the large amount of fruit it produces every season, as well as its attractive-looking apples that are small in size.

What Does a Spartan Apple Taste Like?

A Spartan apple has a subtle sweet flavor, but is not too powerful. The Spartan apple is great for those who want a light-tasting apple to enjoy.

For those who enjoy sweeter apples, leave these in a cold storage area to get them to sweeten up.

How to Use Spartan Apples

Homemade Crepes
Homemade crepes served with fresh caramelized apples and caramel sauce in cast iron skillet on rural wooden table

Spartan apples are great for just eating or to make apple juice with. They also have a long shelf life when kept at cooler temperatures once picked, so that you can take the time to decide what to do with them.

Since these apples do not contain much flavor, they are good to eat after a meal to cleanse the palette in a healthy way. They also make a nice, healthy snack to eat between meals.

Spartan apples are also great to use for juicing. Enjoy making apple juice or apple cider with family and friends when the fruit on your Spartan tree is ready to be harvested and used to your liking.

Health Benefits of Spartan Apples

As the saying goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples, including Spartan ones, contain plenty of healthy items to keep your body feeling good on a daily basis.

Spartan apples have large amounts of vitamins A, B, and C. They do not have many calories, but do contain a large amount of water in them.

Pectin is a dietary fiber that is found in Spartan apples. They also have high amounts of folic acid in them. Both of these qualities are great for a healthy heart.

Just like most apples, eating a Spartan apple on a regular basis is a great way to keep your entire body healthy and filled with nutrients and vitamins. These health benefits can also prevent you from getting sick.

Where to Buy the Spartan Apple Tree

Spartan apple trees are a special kind of apple tree, so they are not available at just any retail garden center or plant store. There are plenty of places to buy Spartan apple trees online.

If you are not sure where to look, do some research online and ask others who have bought these trees online about their experiences and recommendations. A specialist at your local retail garden center can also help you locate a great online supplier.

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How to Grow the Apple Tree Spartan

Since this tree is cultivated in Canada, it prefers cooler weather and is ideal for USDA zone 4. It can also grow in warmer areas with the right variables in place.

Below is a general guide on how to grow a Spartan apple tree, no matter where you live. You can always contact your tree’s supplier to get more details on how to grow it in your area if you like.

The Spartan apple tree is an easy fruit tree to grow, once you find and get one shipped to your residence. The tree will need soil that drains well to grow healthy with fruit. The soil should not be too fertile, so you will want to add fertilizer during the growing season and pollination.

You will want to grow other apple trees nearby so that it is pollinated. Other trees are a must so that the buds can be fertilized to grow the apples successfully.

You will want to prune back smaller buds during the growing season, which is around June. This is when the tree starts growing its fruit.

Fruits That Are Similar to the Spartan

Red Mcintosh Apples
Organic Red McIntosh Apples

The Spartan apple is very similar to the McIntosh apple. They are part of the same family, but grow on different apple trees. Another fruit that is similar is the Yellow Newtown Pippin, but this is probably due to it being the other apple tree the Spartan was bred from.

Spartan apples can also get dark enough to look similar to a plum, developing a rich purplish-red color on the skin.

Apple Tree Pests and Diseases

Just like with other plants, the Spartan apple tree has some pests and diseases you want to watch out for. Apple trees grown in damp climates can get canker and apple scab.

Spray your tree in the early spring if apple scab fungus is an issue where you live. You want to spray when when green tips start to grow from the tips of the branches.

If the fungus shows up later in the season, spray with urea and zinc zulfate to get rid of it. Remove the leaves that fall and dump them. You will also have to wait until the next season to enjoy the fruit of your labor.

Canker is another fungal disease that Spartan apple trees can get. Prune carefully to keep this disease from attacking your tree. You also want to not cut or damage the bark to prevent canker from showing up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Spartan apple self fertile?

While the Spartan tree can partially-fertilize itself, for best results, have another apple tree nearby for best results. White blossom crab-apple trees are a great choice for pollinating your Spartan apple tree during the season.

What is the best way to prune a Spartan tree?

Remove half the fruit so that your tree can grow well and produce large apples. Young fruits can also be thinned so that there is an inch between each fruit.

Does my apple tree need to be pruned each year?

It is best to prune your Spartan every winter so that the wood stays strong and grows healthy apples. Skipping a year can make the wood brittle and unable to withstand the weight of apples the following year.

Can I use coffee grounds on my Spartan tree?

Coffee grounds are best used with fruits that need more acid, such as berries. Make sure your soil is not already high in nitrogen before adding coffee grounds. Coffee grounds can inhibit the growth of flowers and fruit if your soil has high amounts of nitrogen in it.

Can I use Epsom salt on my apple tree?

Epsom salt contains magnesium, which is great to add to Spartan apple trees. Adding Epsom salt can help your tree grow sweeter and larger apples in greater amounts.

How do you store Spartan apples?

These apples will stay fresh in 30 to 35 degrees with 90 to 95 percent humidity. If there aren’t many apples, store them in the refrigerator in a paper bag with plenty of holes.

Are Spartan apples good for applesauce?

Spartan apples can make a great addition, along with other apples when making applesauce. Mix and match with various apples until you find the ideal flavor for you and your family.

How big does a dwarf or semi dwarf apple tree get?

In general, a dwarf fruit tree can grow 8 to 10 feet tall and wide, making it a great tree for those who have smaller yards.

Are Spartan apples good for apple pie?

The Spartan apple makes a great cooking and baking apple that you can use in a variety of recipes, including pies.

The Great Spartan Tree

Apples have been eaten and used by man since the beginning of time. This is apparent with the this fruit symbolizing the forbidden fruit Eve and Adam ate in the Bible. Since then, many different types of apple trees have been bred and grown.

The Spartan apple tree may be easy to grow, but can be hard to find since they are usually not available at local garden centers. Once your Spartan tree arrives from an online dealer, pruning it and making sure the weather and soil is right will ensure you will enjoy your tree for many years.

One place you can order from is One Green World, an American supplier of Spartan trees. Make sure to order your tree from here before they sell out this season!

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