Growing apple trees in your backyard can be incredibly rewarding. Apple trees can give back delicious rewards for decades with proper care.
While they are not difficult to grow and care for, apple trees do require a significant amount of knowledge and effort in order to grow healthy trees that produce abundant apples.
This guide to apple trees will help you with everything you need to know to select, plant, and care for your trees as they grow; we then cover harvest, processing, cooking, and much more.
Planting Apple Trees
Choosing The Right Apple Tree For Your Location and Needs
When it comes to choosing an apple tree, you first need to know what trees will thrive in your growing zone. You can easily determine which zone you’re located in using the map below. This map was created by the USDA to aid in choosing plants that thrive in each climate zone.
Next, you need to determine what type of apple you want to grow. Are you looking for eating apples, cooking apples, cider apples, or something else?
In our Apple Varieties section, you can learn all about the different types of apple trees, what zones they do best, what the apples taste like, and the best use for each unique kind.
When and How To Plant Apple Trees
How to Plant Apple Trees
Our intro to planting apple trees which covers all the basics and is a great starting point for new apple tree growers.
When to Plant Apple Trees: The Best Time for Planting
Determine the absolute best time to plant your apple trees so that they get every advantage possible.
How to Grow an Apple Tree from Seed
(Hint: Don’t Do It!)
Growing and Caring For Apple Trees
The Complete Apple Tree Care Guide: How to Grow and Care for Apple Trees
Once you’ve got your apple tree planted, now comes the years of caring for your tree so you can get the best harvest possible. This guide is great for beginners and will get you started in the right direction on everything you need to know to care for your new apple trees.
Pruning Apple Trees: The Home Grower’s Complete Guide
Proper pruning of apple trees is essential to their health and production. This guide will show you how, where, and when to prune your trees.
Complete Guide To Apple Tree Pollination
Pollination is critical to your apple production. You need to know what trees cross-pollinate the best, what plants and environmental factors can aid in pollination, and how you can help the process.
How to Graft an Apple Tree: A Complete Guide
Grafting apple trees is an advanced technique but can produce some amazing results. This guide teaches you the basics of grafting apple trees.
How To Grow 4 In 1 Apple Trees
Once you’ve learned the basics of grafting, it’s time to create apple trees that give amazing variety and produce your own 4-in-1 type apple trees.
Knowing when and how to best harvest your apples is essential to collecting a good crop. Thankfully, harvesting apples is fairly straightforward, it’s just a matter of knowing when exactly to harvest your apples.
Best apple pickers & picking baskets:
Apple Tree Varieties
Click on an apple tree variety below to read more about the tree, the fruit, and what the variety is typically used for.
Our Most Popular Apple Trees
Check out all apple varieties here or check out the post below to read about 94 popular varieties of apple trees.
Buying Apple Trees
Buying trees locally is always a great idea. You support local businesses and typically don’t have to worry about zones since your local seller likely won’t be selling any trees that are not compatible with your zone.
However, buying locally usually means very limited options. If you’re looking for a wide variety of trees, then finding a reputable online dealer is essential.
Health Benefits of Apple
From kicking heart disease in the bad cholesterol breadbasket to filling up your tummy and reducing weight gaining calorie intake, eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Storing, Processing, and Cooking With Apples
While apples are great for enjoying plain, they are widely used in all types of cooking and not just desserts! We’ve put together a collection of some of the best apple recipes from around the Internet all in one place for you.
We have over 40 apple recipes for every occasion. Some of our most popular:
Muffins & Cakes:
Best Apple Muffins
Heavenly Homemade Apple Coffee Cake
Tantalizing and Tart Apple Cider Cake
Simply Amazing “Mini” Apple Cheesecake Galettes
Crazy Easy Apple Dump Cake
Perfect Apple Dumplings
Apple Juice & Apple Cider
Apple cider and apple juice are some of the best ways to enjoy apples. Below you’ll find loads of information on juices and ciders, what apples are best for each, how to make each, and the best equipment to use.
Apple juice is typically pasteurized and filtered to create a clean and clear juice.
Typically, apple cider contains pulp, is unfiltered, and unpasteurized, meaning it has a shorter shelf life but is more natural.
Apple Orchards You Can Visit
Visiting an apple orchard is a great activity that many people love to enjoy every fall. We’ve put together lists of our favorite apple orchards in every state across the US (at least states that have apple orchards). Check them out and find a great orchard to visit this fall.
Apple Facts and Info
Want ever more apple info, check out these posts for some interesting apple tidbits!
Apple Tree FAQs
How many kinds of apple trees are there?
There are 7,500 different apple varieties grown around the world and there are 100 varieties that are grown in the U.S. by commercial growers.
Where did apples come from?
Apples originally came from Kazakhstan, by the Caspian Sea. The capital of Kazakhstan is Alma Ata and means “full of apples.” We can thank the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans for cultivating apples and carrying seeds to other parts of the world.
What is the best-tasting apple?
This is a hotly debated subject! There doesn’t seem to be an official “apple judging panel” with expert taste reviews to consult. But some apple names keep popping up near the top of informal “best snack apple” lists: SweeTango, Braeburn, Ginger Gold, Fuji, Pink Lady, and Honeycrisp.
Which apple has the shortest shelf life and which has the longest?
Lodi apples typically last only 1-2 weeks after harvesting. Winter apple varieties kept in cold storage conditions can last up to 6 months — some varieties can last up to a year!
I have a small yard. Can I still grow an apple tree?
You might think only gardeners with big yards can grow apple trees, but that’s not the case! Dwarf apple tree varieties grow just 5-10 feet tall. If you’ve got room for a dogwood tree, you’ve got room for an apple tree.
There are a few catches – your small yard does need to provide 6-8 hours a day of full sun and you’ll want a tree with two varieties grafted onto it so it will produce fruit.
Are apple blossoms fragrant?
Yes! They actually have a hint of sweet apple in the scent. You can either enjoy the fragrance out in the garden, or you can cut small branches to bring inside – cut the branches before the buds have opened to force them to bloom indoors.
How long will my apple tree live?
Healthy standard-sized apple trees can live for more than 50 years. Dwarf varieties only live 15-25 years. The oldest apple tree was reported to have been growing in Vancouver, Washington. When it was felled in 2020, it was 194 years old.
What is an antique apple?
An antique apple is a variety that is at least 50 years old. Sometimes called “heirloom apples,” their seeds have often been passed down for generations. Organizations like Seed Savers Exchange are a great resource for finding antique apple seeds.
Is a crabapple an apple?
Technically, yes – they’re the smallest versions of apples. While all crabapples are edible, some are too small or bitter-tasting for typical culinary uses, so they’re grown for decorative purposes.
The best crabapples for eating fresh are Dolgo and Centennial; the best cooking crabapples are Whitney and Chestnut. There are 900 varieties of crabapples, so there are lots to sample to find your favorite.
Will my apple tree attract wildlife?
Depending on where you live in the country and whether you’re in an urban or rural environment, your apple tree could attract wildlife such as deer, turkeys, racoons, mice, bears, and songbirds. It’s up to you if these are welcome visitors or pests!
Check out our other fruits:
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We’re adding new apple tree content all the time, so make sure to bookmark this page and learn everything you can about growing, caring for, and using apples!