Hardiness in an apple tree is a huge virtue, especially hardiness against diseases. The Freedom apple is cold hardy down to below-freezing temperatures, but even more importantly, it’s disease-resistant to just about every disease that can take an apple tree down.
If past apple tree growing attempts have resulted in diseased trees dying or failing to thrive, chances are you’ve got some apple tree diseases in your soil. Many diseases can last for years in the soil, but that’s no problem for this super-immune apple tree.
Learn more about how the Freedom apple tree could be the perfect fit for your garden or orchard.
History of the Freedom Apple
The Freedom apple was first produced in Geneva, New York in 1958. Macoun and Antonovka apple trees produced the Freedom as a result of cross-pollinating. The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station developed the variety for its exceptional disease resistance.
Characteristics of the Freedom Apple
The Freedom is a large apple with bright red skin. It’s tender and juicy on the inside and great for eating raw, juicing, cooking, and making apple cider.
Eating the Freedom Apple
A Freedom apples tastes sweet. It won’t leave a bitter aftertaste on your tongue like some other varieties. Cheddar and blue cheese pair well with these apples on charcuterie boards as they bring out the sweetness in the fruit while that sweetness brings out the tangy flavors in the cheese. They also go well with fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in pies, apple butter, and cider.
Freedoms are also great dipped in peanut butter as a snack for kids. To make it an extra fun snack, supply little dishes of sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, and crushed pretzels so the kids can dip their peanut butter apples into additional toppings and create a layered, tastier snack.
Health Benefits of Apples
Apples are rich in fiber and antioxidants. Its high concentration of vitamin C is also beneficial as an immune system booster. And since it’s mostly water, it’s an apple is a great low-calorie snack.
For a more detailed breakdown of the health benefits of eating apples, read our apple health benefits guide.
Growing the Freedom Apple at Home
You can absolutely grow the Freedom apple at home, but it does require the presence of another apple tree of a different variety for pollination. An apple tree such as the Liberty apple or the Ben Davis apple should be planted close by to promote cross-pollination. Without another appropriate apple tree in the vicinity, the Freedom will produce a subpar harvest of small fruit with poor flavor.
You can start these trees from seeds, but the growing process will be faster for you if you start by purchasing some young apple tree plants.
Size, Spacing, and Pollination
Full-grown Freedom apple trees will grow to a full width of 12-15 feet, so keep this in mind when planting your young trees. Ideally, you’ll have enough room to plant them about 15 feet apart so that as they reach maturity, they aren’t competing for space and sunlight. You’ll also need to plant the cross-pollinating tree or trees within the same part of your yard if possible to encourage maximum pollination. They flourish in US planting zones 4-9.
All apple trees thrive in half to full sun (at least 3-6 hours of sunlight a day) and well-drained soil. Nitrogen-heavy fertilizer will help the tree produce fruit, so you should add that in around the base of the tree when they start producing fruit. Freedom apple trees will produce their first harvest at 2-5 years of age.
For more information on growing freedom apple trees, see our Apple Tree Care Guide.
Pests and Diseases
Aphids, red mites, apple maggots, and bark beetles are all pesky creatures who like to eat up our apple trees and enjoy our apples before we can. For tips on preventing and removing these pests, check out this Apple Tree Pest Removal article.
Freedom apple trees are resistant to apple scab, powdery mildew, cedar apple rust, and fire blight, making these trees an excellent choice if you’ve had difficulty with other varieties due to pathogens in the soil in the past.
For more information about these diseases and how to prevent or eradicate them, check out our Apple Tree Diseases Guide.
The same rules for general apple tree pruning apply to these apple trees. For more details on apple tree pruning, take a look at our Home Grower’s Guide to Pruning Apple Trees.
When to Harvest Freedom Apples
Freedom apples ripen in late September. It’s a cold-hardy variety that can withstand cooler temperatures earlier in the year than many other varieties. Freedom apple trees will produce fruit every fall as long as they are able to receive cross-pollination with another appropriate apple tree variety.
Where To Buy Freedom Apple Trees
You can actually purchase 2-year-old Freedom apple trees from Amazon. Purchasing a tree this age is a great idea because it will start producing fruit soon after you plant it.
If you want to start your Freedom apple tree from seeds, you may have to do a little digging online to find them. Amazon doesn’t carry them, but you may be able to find them on a plant nursery site. Your local farmer’s market or garden store would be another great place to check for Freedom apple seeds. You can also save seeds from Freedom apples and plant those.
Where To Buy the Apples
As for the fruits themselves, most grocery stores don’t carry them. You can check with your local grocery stores for them, but if you’re having trouble tracking them down, your local farmer’s market would be another great place to check. Even if you can’t find any available there, you’ll probably find someone who can point you in the right direction.
Wrapping Up the Freedom Apple
So what do you think? Is the Freedom apple the apple variety for you? It’s an excellent choice if you live in a cold climate or in an area that has had apple tree disease issues in the past since it’s up to the challenge of conquering both.
To learn more about apples, click here for our apple blog posts.