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The Crispin Apple Tree

The Crispin Apple tree is in apple cultivar that is over 80 years old. This apple tree got its start in Japan under the name the Mutsu Apple and is now one of the most successful apples in the world.

Closeup of green Crispin apples growing on a Crispin Apple tree.
Green Crispin apples.

The success of the Crispin Apple tree comes down to its wonderful flavor, and its attractive appearance as an ornamental tree. The Crispin apple can spice up your garden style as easily as it can on your next dinner.

This article will explore everything you need to know about growing, and cooking with, the Crispin apple. 

History of the Crispin Apple Tree 

The Crispin Apple tends to often go by its original Japanese name, the Mutsu Apple tree. 

This apple was first grown in 1949 as a cross between the Golden Delicious and Indo apple cultivars. The Crispin Apple tree was grown in Aomori Prefecture, Japan, but was named after that region’s historic name: the Mutsu Province. 

Ever since being first discovered, the Crispin apple has been a worldwide hit. The apples have a unique and vibrant flavor that makes them stand out both as a raw snack and as an ingredient in every classic apple recipe.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to grow one of the world’s most successful apple cultivars. 

Crispin Apple Tree Characteristics

Crispin Apple trees are well known for their very manageable style.

The Crispin Apple tree itself is fairly subdued in size which makes it an ideal choice for smaller yards and gardens. These apple trees also have a beautiful white with light pinkish tones throughout. A stunning green foliage adds a wonderful backdrop to this bloom and is a great choice for an ornamental plant that can also bear fruit. 

Crispin Apple tree branches with yellowish green apples on them.
A Crispin Apple tree.

The apples of these trees maintain an attractive yellow and green color. They also have an interesting shape and that no two Crispin apples are ever the same. They also tend to grow with different sizes on each side of the apple which makes them visually very appealing.

Planting Zones 

Crispin Apple trees do their best in planting zones 4 through 8. This means that most North American climates can comfortably grow crisp and apples. If you live in a place that has particularly cold Winters or is seasonably hot all year long, you might not be able to successfully grow a Crispin Apple tree.

There are other apple cultivars that are specifically designed for hotter and colder climates. 

We’ve got a full guide on how to plant apple trees that you can read to get started.

Size and Spacing

The Crispin Apple tree is fairly small even when fully grown. You can expect these apple trees to grow between 12 and 15 feet tall with an equally large spread.

This also tells us how far apart we need to plant our Crispin Apple trees. Give each of these trees at least fifteen feet of spacing between themselves and their neighbors. This ensures that your trees do not crowd each other and there is adequate space in your garden for all of your plants. 

Pollination

Every apple tree requires some type of pollinator. The Crispin Apple tree is a specific type of plant known as a self-pollinator. This means you can either manually pollinate the tree yourself or they can be naturally pollinated by insects and even a light breeze.

Bee Pollinating an Apple Tree
Bee pollinates apple tree flowers on a sunny spring day

While you do not need to have a pollinating partner for the Crispin Apple tree, even self-fertile trees tend to do better in the presence of a pollinating partner.

Now let’s take a look at how you can take care of a Crispin Apple tree. 

Crispin Apple Tree Care

Crispin Apple trees are fairly easy to take care of except for one major disease weakness. We’ll go over everything you need to know in order to take care of your Crispin Apple. 

Sunlight

There are no surprises with the Crispin Apple tree’s need for sunlight.

Apple trees are known as full sunlight plants. This means they need six to eight hours of sunlight every day in order to stay healthy. Be sure to plant your Crispin Apple tree in an area of your garden that is away from the shade.

Keep in mind that taller trees and buildings can cast a lot of shade. Make sure to plant your apple tree well away from other trees and structures in order to give it the sunlight it needs.

Watering

Depending on where you live, natural rainfall might meet the watering needs for your Crispin Apple trees once they are established.

When you first plant your Crispin Apple trees, they require a lot of watering. Extra water helps plants to get established after transplanting and helps to ensure the long-term health of your Crispin Apple tree.

Once established, apple trees enjoy a moderate amount of water. Be careful not to water too much as that can lead to tree health problems such as root rot.

Pruning 

Pruning an apple tree not only helps you keep its size and shape in check, but it’s also one of the best ways to keep your tree healthy.

You should prune your Crispin Apple tree in late fall or early winter. This is done in order to protect the tree as it enters the harshest time of the year. When you prune your apple tree, you want to take back some of the growth so that the tree can focus on producing fruit in the new season.

Even though Crispin Apple trees tend to produce fruit biannually, they still should be pruned every year in order to keep new growth in check. 

There’s a guide to pruning apple trees that you can check out on our blog.

Diseases & Care 

As with most apple trees, you’ll have to watch out for a wide range of diseases and pests — setting up a spraying schedule can help stay ahead of problems before they develop. The Crispin Apple tree has one big weakness you need to keep an eye out for. 

There is a disease that affects apple trees known as Blister Spot. This appears as, you guessed it, blisters and spots that grow on the fruit of the apple tree.

The Crispin Apple is very susceptible to this disease. Care should be taken that these trees do not become exposed to Blister Spot. If they become infected, you should treat them immediately to prevent this disease from spreading. 

Pests 

Even the most hearty apple trees have their pests to contend with and the Crispin Apple tree is no exception.

Crispin Apples have to deal with aphids, beetles, and a wide range of other insect pests. The best way to handle these pests is to keep an eye on your apple tree and catch these problems while they’re still relatively minor. If an infestation gets out of hand, your tree could be lost. 

Common Uses For The Crispin Apple

Certain apples have culinary uses that they’re better for than others. Some apples are meant to be eaten raw while others are at their best when they’re baked into a delicious apple pie. The Crispin apple is one of the rare apple cultivars that is good for everything.

What Does The Crispin Apple Taste Like?

There’s a hint to the Crispin apple’s flavor in its name. This apple has a crisp bite to it, as well as a flavor that’s only slightly tart.

Crispin apples are known for being noticeably juicy and having notes of honey in their flavor.

Cooking

Crispin apples are one of the best choices for cooking. A common problem with cooking apples is that they lose their shape during the cooking process.

This can be great if you’re making an apple jam, but if you want something that holds up to the cooking process, the Crispin apple is the one for you.

Eating Raw

You might have guessed this already, but you can definitely eat a Crispin apple raw. These apples are at their best right off the branch, but can be transported and stored for three months before going bad. They’re wonderful flavor and delicious notes make them a great choice for a raw snack.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

Crispin apples also stand up to being preserved very well. Whether you want to dry these and make apple crisps or try your hand at canning some apple preserves, the Crispin apple is an ideal choice for these applications.

Cooking With Crispin Apples

You can do just about anything with Crispin apples. If you’re looking to make a delicious Old Fashioned Apple Crisp with these are the right fruits for you. These are also absolute all-stars for Apple Muffins. No matter what kind of culinary application you’re looking to explore, the Crispin apple is a great choice to work with. 

Apple Oatmeal Cookies (click for the recipe).

Health Benefits of the Crispin Apple Tree 

You know the saying: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. However, what’s the truth behind the health benefits of apples?

Apples are packed full of nutrients and are a great way to replace sugary snacks in your diet. Apples are naturally healthy and give you that same sweet flavor that we crave in the place of processed sugars. Apples have been associated with better outcomes for individuals with heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.

One of the easiest ways to improve your overall health is by adding something delicious to your diet. The Crispin apple will give you more than just flavor, but also a boost to your health. 

Where To Buy The Crispin Apple Tree

Want to get a Crispin Apple tree for your yard?

An orchard sign reading "Mustu (crispin)" with Crispin Apple trees behind it.
Orchard sign for Crispin Apple trees (also called Mutsu Apples).

Nature Hills Nursery stocks Crispin Apple trees under their original Japanese name the Mutsu Apple. You can order these and have them shipped right to your door so that you can plant them exactly where you want them in your garden.

Our guides on taking care of apple trees will give you all the information you need to make sure that your Crispin Apple is ready to bear fruit in the next season.

Where To Buy The Crispin Apple 

You can find Crispin apples in most major grocery stores throughout North America while they’re in season. Crispin apples can be found all over the world. If you want to “try before you buy” when it comes to the Crispin Apple tree, buy some Crispin apples to see if you like the taste of them.

Wrapping up The Crispin Apple Tree 

There’s a reason why the Crispin Apple tree has been an iconic staple of orchards for generations. This apple has a wonderful flavor that is useful in countless culinary recipes as well as a beautiful style that elevates bold home gardens and orchards. Crispin Apple is a great choice for your garden.

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