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Columnar Apple Trees Growing and Care

Do you want to grow loads of delicious apples but need more space? You must check out columnar apple trees if you have a tiny plot of land, urban patio, or balcony garden. These slender fruit trees help maximize your gardening space, so keep reading to learn more.

Columnar apple trees close up

What Makes Columnar Apple Trees Special?

Do you have a small plot of land or a patio garden where you grow your favorite fruits and vegetables? You might wonder how to cultivate apple trees in such a limited space.

Columnar apple trees are your urban gardening solution!

These trees are incredible hybrids that are suitable for tiny gardens. Instead of spreading wide branches, these odd-looking trees grow tall and thin, producing fruit clusters close to the trunk.

How to Grow a Columnar Apple Tree

young columnar apple trees

Columnar apple trees are low maintenance compared to standard-size apple trees. This is because these slender trees require minimal pruning.

These compact apple trees are the perfect solution for limited garden spaces. You can apply the general principles of apple tree care to get the best results from a columnar variety.

Planting Columnar Apple Trees

Columnar apple trees are hybrid plants grown from the grafted rootstock of a mature tree. This means you must start columnar trees as saplings instead of seeds.

Select a planting location with six or more hours of direct sunlight daily. Prepare your tree planting hole with loamy soil and micro boost root supplement.

Keep apple tree seedling roots moist until planting. Once you are ready, place the entire root ball in damp soil up to the crown of the shoot.

Tamp down the soil around the base of the sapling and then add a layer of mulch. Prune the top half-inch of the tiny trunk to break dormancy and promote growth after the risk of transplant shock passes.


Apple tree watering depends on the amount of rainfall you get locally. On average, these trees need two inches of water each week.

Are you growing dwarf columnar apple trees in containers? If so, be wary of over-watering and ensure the soil is damp and spongy but not soggy.


Any potted dwarf fruit tree requires a little extra nutrition. This is especially true for columnar apple trees, which risk nutrient deficiencies when improperly cared for.

Apply fertilizer in springtime and midsummer to boost foliage and fruit production. Explore this in-depth article to discover the best fertilizer for apple trees.


You should consider topping columnar trees to a maximum height of around nine feet. Taller columnar trees can bend under the weight of an entire harvest and require staking and additional support to prevent damage to the main trunk.

When pruning apple trees, you usually need to clip outstretched branches to keep growth compact and tidy. Columnar apple trees don’t require this type of pruning and instead benefit from simple topping and light shaping.

Where to Buy Columnar Apple Tree Saplings

baby apple tree

A columnar apple tree is undoubtedly available to suit your tastes and preferences. So, how do you find the proper variety for you?

Researching different nurseries is crucial to finding the perfect tree for your backyard garden. You can check local garden stores or shop online nurseries for more variety.

Red Columnar Apple Trees

Are you a fan of crisp, sweet red apples bursting with classic flavor? Check out these amazingly delicious red columnar apple cultivars:

Stark Crimson Spire Apple

The Stark Crimson Spire Apple is a tangy and crisp red apple excellent for baking and fresh eating. This variety comes in dwarf and semi-dwarf sizes.

Tasty Red Urban Apple

The Tasty Red Urban Apple is a dwarf option that produces bright red apples with firm, juicy, and candy-sweet flesh.

Scarlet Sentinel Columnar Apple

Extra large Scarlet Sentinel Columnar Apples are sweet and crisp, making them a favorite among columnar apple varieties.

Green Columnar Apple Trees

Nothing beats a tart green apple for baking treats like apple pies. You can grow gallons of crisp cooking apples on your very own backyard green apple tree.

Stark Emerald Spire Apple

These are the perfect cooking apples! Stark Emerald Spire Apples are tangy and tart with a crisp texture that holds up well to baking and sauteing.

Golden Columnar Apple Trees

If you like the sweetest, juiciest apples, you may want to grow a golden apple variety. There are plenty of golden columnar apples great for patio gardening.

Urban Apples Golden Treat Columnar Apple

These quick-maturing Urban Apples Golden Treat Columnar Apples start producing crisp, sweet-tart apples as soon as one year after planting.

Golden Sentinel Columnar Apple

The Golden Sentinel Columnar Apple tree produces iconic golden apples with a honey-sweet flavor and firm flesh.

Blush Columnar Apple Trees

Blush apple varieties combine all the best attributes that make apples so delicious. You should grow blush apple trees if you want a mouthwatering sweet-tart flavor with a crisp texture.

Stark Scarlet Spire Apple

Red-over-green Stark Scarlet Spire Apples are bursting with warm apple flavor. These dwarf fruit trees make excellent patio container plants.

Urban Apples Blushing Delight Columnar Apple

The Urban Apples Blushing Delight Columnar Apple tree is excellent for balconies and even windowsills. The crisp apples are perfect for juicing, cooking, and eating fresh off the tree.

Columnar Apple Tree Pests and Pathogens

apple tree leaf infection

Due to the unique growing habit, columnar apple trees are especially susceptible to common apple tree diseases. Preventative measures can save you time and money when protecting your trees over costly cures.

Ensure you plant trees in well-draining soil with enough space for adequate airflow to prevent diseases like root rot and powdery mildew. Regularly apply a balanced apple tree fertilizer to give your trees the nutrients needed to stay healthy.

Insect infestations can also decimate these slender trees more quickly than other varieties due to the relatively sparse foliage. Learn how to treat apple tree pests to defend your tree’s precious leaves from hungry vermin.

Harvesting Columnar Tree Apples

It can take a few years for apple trees to mature and produce fruit. A well-cared-for columnar apple tree will be ready for harvest two to five years after planting a small sapling.

Once your trees mature, you can harvest fruits from late summer through early autumn.

Mature columnar fruit trees save on space and make harvesting simple. Fruit develops in clusters nestled close to the trunk with no unwieldy outstretched branches.

This growth habit is more accessible and safer when you harvest ripe apples.

You won’t need to buy specialty apple pickers to collect ripe columnar apples. Instead, a step ladder and apple-picking basket will be enough.

Do you need to know when it’s time to start harvesting? Read this article about the right time to pick apples for the best flavor and texture.


columnar apple trees

How tall do columnar apple trees grow?

Apple trees range in size from six-foot dwarf trees to thirty-foot standard trees. Columnar trees are generally dwarf to semi-dwarf varieties that average eight to ten feet tall with two-to-four-foot spreads.

How long do columnar apple trees take to fruit?

Columnar hybrid apple trees tend to mature two to five years after planting. Individual results may vary based on variety, location, soil quality, and sun exposure.

Do columnar apple trees need pruning?

Columnar fruit trees require less intensive pruning than other full-size trees. These trees benefit from topping, light shaping, and removing any brittle branches or dead leaves.

Are columnar apple trees self-pollinating?

Most columnar apple trees are cross-pollinated. They require other apple trees and honeybees or hand pollination to reproduce.

Do columnar apples taste good?

Columnar apples come in many different varieties. Some types are sugary-sweet and firm, while others are tart and crisp. No matter what kind of apple you prefer, you will find a columnar cultivar that’s perfect for you.

Growing Your Own Columnar Apple Trees

After reading this guide to columnar apple trees, you likely cannot wait to grow your own. Before starting, you should research the best tips for growing apples. Explore our Apple Trees page to learn more about growing these delicious fruits!

Jeff Enger

Sunday 4th of June 2023

I’ve had an urban column in our golden delicious apple tree, I believe it’s from Czechoslovakia. I probably had aI’ve had a urban column in our golden delicious apple tree, I believe it’s from Czechoslovakia. I’ve probably had it for seven years. it is never produced hardly any fruit. I think for a couple years it may have produced three or four apples. It hasn’t produced any for probably the last three or four years. It seems to be a healthy tree. No real diseases or anything. How can I get it to produce fruit?


Monday 12th of June 2023

Stress can force a tree to produce fruit. Other than taking good care of it and waiting for it to mature and start producing fruit, you can score the bark or beat the tree (unusual and extreme) but these can force it to fruit.