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The Need for Speed: How to Choose and Care For Fast Growing Apple Trees

When you plant a fruit tree, the hardest part is waiting years for it to mature and begin producing fruit! After all, the fruit is the best part, and you’re ready for your hard work to pay off.

So if you’re looking to plant an apple tree and just don’t want to wait, you may be wondering how to grow apple trees faster.

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Below, we’ve compiled all the tips and tricks for choosing and caring for a fast growing apple tree.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!

Person holding apples picked from a tree.

Tips for Growing Apples Faster

First things first. If you want a fast growing apple tree, how do you ensure it really does grow quickly?

1. Buy a Tree That’s Already a Few Years Old

When you’re buying an apple tree, you may find that nurseries sell trees anywhere from the sapling stage to trees that are a few years old. Although the more mature tree may cost you more to purchase, it’s already had several years to grow, which means it will give you apples that much more quickly. 

Wondering where to buy an apple tree? Buy a one-to-two-year-old tree at Stark Bro’s, or buy a tree that starts producing fruit in its first season at FastGrowingTrees.

2. Water Your Tree Regularly

Regular water is essential to growing an apple tree quickly. Like all living things, your tree needs water to survive. And if it doesn’t have enough, it will slow its growth to conserve water and energy.

So how much water does your apple tree need?

Young trees need more water than mature trees because their roots are shorter. Giving your apple tree two inches of water per week in the first couple of years will help it grow as quickly and healthily as possible.

As your tree matures, you can reduce the amount of water to one inch per week. This water may even come naturally from rain and runoff, so you might not need to water it yourself.

As with other plants, be careful not to over-water, which can cause issues like root rot. One thing that can help prevent this is to ensure your soil is well-draining.

For more details on watering and maintenance for your apple tree, check out our blog about How to Grow and Care For Apple Trees.

Using a garden hose to water an apple tree.

3. Give Your Apple Tree Proper Nutrients

Like water, proper nutrients ensure your apple tree has everything it needs to grow as fast as possible.

Fertilizers provide nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium essential to apple tree growth. Nitrogen gives trees their green color and helps with photosynthesis, which is how trees create food for themselves. Phosphorus promotes root, flower, and fruit growth. And potassium helps make the tree resilient against drought, heat, frost, disease, and more.

With that said, giving your apple tree fertilizer when it needs these nutrients most for growth is key. It’s best to apply fertilizer in early spring and summer when your tree grows new leaves, flowers, and fruits.

For more tips and fertilizer recommendations, visit our Best Fertilizer for Apple Trees page.

4. Make Sure Your Apple Tree is Well-Suited to Your Climate

The ideal climate for an apple tree will depend on its type. Some apple tree varieties do better in warm, southern climates, whereas others prefer the cold.

Choosing an apple tree that’s well-suited to the climate in which you live will help your tree grow as fast as possible. For example, if you choose a tree that’s not cold-hardy and you live somewhere cold, then in the wintertime, your tree can be damaged or even killed by frost, and it certainly won’t grow. On the flip side, some apple trees need cold during the winter to thrive.

So make sure to do your research and choose an apple tree that works in your area. To learn more about different apple tree types, check out our list of Apple Tree Varieties.

5. Choose a Fast-Growing Variety

Last but not least, different apple tree types take different amounts of time to grow. Often, growing apple trees faster comes down to picking the right variety.

Keep reading to learn about the fastest-growing apple tree varieties.

Types of Fast Growing Apple Trees

Red Delicious Apple

Red apples on a tree after a rainstorm.

One of the most well-known apple tree varieties, red delicious is a fast growing apple tree, too! This tree can grow more than two feet per year, so it can produce apples in just a few years depending on its size. 

Red delicious apples come in standard, semi-dwarf, and dwarf sizes. Standard-sized red delicious apple trees grow up to 25 feet tall and produce fruit within six to ten years. At the other end of the spectrum, dwarf trees are closer to 10 feet tall and can produce fruit in just three to four years.

We highly recommend the Red Delicious Apple tree sold online by one of our favorite retailers, Stark Bros!

You can also check the price of a Red Delicious Apple Tree at FastGrowingTrees.

Golden Delicious Apple

Closeup of a golden delicious apple, a fast growing apple tree.

Golden delicious apples, also known as yellow delicious apples, have a similar growth rate to red delicious. Their trees can grow over two feet each year and come in standard, semi-dwarf, and dwarf sizes.

Like red delicious apple trees, standard-sized golden delicious trees produce fruit in six to ten years. Semi-dwarf trees produce fruit in four to six years, and dwarf trees produce fruit in three to four years.

Stark Bros has been in the gardening business for more than 200 years, so we feel confident you’ll be happy with a high-quality Golden Delicious Apple Tree you can order online from them.

Or visit FastGrowingTrees to check the price of their Golden Delicious Apple Tree.

Lodi Apple

Closeup of a greenish-yellow apple on a tree.

The Lodi apple tree grows at a medium speed, anywhere from one to two feet annually. But if you choose a dwarf variety, it can bear fruit in three or four years. Standard varieties take six to 10 years, just like the other apple trees on this list.

This apple tree produces fruit early in the season, with ripe fruit usually ready for harvest in July or August. So if you’re eager for fresh apples, add the Lodi tree to your garden, and you won’t be disappointed!

Gravenstein Apple

Yellow and red striped apples on a tree.

Gravenstein apples are yet another type of apple you can get early, which is why some people consider them fast-growing! These apple trees produce fruit in three to five years and typically produce ripe fruit as early as July.

However, if you’re planting Gravenstein Apple trees, beware that they sometimes only produce fruit every other year instead of every year like most apple varieties. To improve your odds of getting fruit annually, plant another apple tree it can cross-pollinate with within 50 feet.

Early Harvest Apple

Yellowish-green apples on a tree.

The early harvest apple tree is yet another fast growing apple tree. Like red and golden delicious apple trees, it grows more than two feet yearly, with standard-sized trees bearing fruit in six to 10 years. Semi-dwarf and dwarf varieties produce fruit even sooner, in four to six years for semi-dwarf trees and three to four years for dwarf trees.

What makes the early harvest apple tree unique is that its fruit comes early in the season. In some places, depending on climate, fully ripe apples can be ready for harvest at the end of June! So if patience isn’t your thing, adding this tree to your garden is the perfect way to get your apples as soon as possible.

Dwarf Apple Trees

Red apples on a small apple tree.

Dwarf apple trees aren’t just one variety of apple trees. Instead, nurseries graft different types of apple trees onto special dwarfing rootstocks so that apple trees can be grown smaller.

Dwarf apple trees usually grow between six and 10 feet tall, compared to their standard counterparts, which often grow up to 25 feet tall. This makes them an excellent choice for smaller spaces and for home growers who don’t want to wait quite as long for their apple tree to reach maturity.

This group of trees can be considered fast growing apple trees because they can produce fruit in as little as three to four years.

For more information, check out our in-depth post about Dwarf Apple Trees.

You’ll find Dwarf Apple Tree Collections available at Stark Bros.

Frequently Asked Questions

Person holding a branch of a young apple tree.

How long do apple trees take to grow?

The amount of time it takes apple trees to grow depends on the variety and size of the tree. Standard-sized apple trees can take up to 10 years to mature and produce fruit, while some dwarf varieties may start growing fruit in as little as three years.

To learn more, check out our guide about How Long it Takes to Grow an Apple Tree.

What’s the fastest fruit tree to grow?

If you’re looking for other fast growing fruit trees, there are plenty of options, including fig trees, peach trees, and mulberry trees. 

Some fig trees, for example, bear fruit in just one or two years. Peach trees can produce fruit in three years if you live in the right climate (they do best in warm areas). And mulberry trees are somewhere in between, often producing fruit in two to three years.

What’s the best time to plant an apple tree?

Planting your apple tree at the right time is important for healthy growth. After all, if you really want a fast growing apple tree, the tree must be well-established, have the climate it needs, and be resilient to heat when summer comes around.

Typically, the best time to plant an apple tree is in the early spring, after frost has passed, but before it’s time for trees to bloom. However, if you live in a warmer climate, planting your tree in early fall will be better for the success of your tree, so it has more time to establish itself before the summer.

Wrapping Up Fast Growing Apple Trees

Red apples on a dwarf apple tree.

There you have it: everything you need to know about fast growing apple trees! With the right apple tree selection and care, you can grow an apple tree faster, so you don’t have to wait as long for that delicious first bite of fruit!

Interested in more apple-growing tips? Visit our Apple Trees page for all you need to know about different apple varieties, care, recipes, recommendations, and more! 


Saturday 6th of May 2023

Hi Matt I enjoy your articles about fruit trees in particular apple as I have a small orchard with 72 trees and 21 different versions so I have different problem as CEDAR RUST I’m pledged with it we have millions of red cedar trees so I have been planting Liberty- Freedom- Red Sparkle and doing grafting is there any real cedar rust spray? Cheers Art


Tuesday 9th of May 2023

Usually it's not a big enough issue that you need to take any drastic measures. U of MN has a great resource: