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The Grimes Golden Apple Tree

Are you looking for an apple tree that has an incredibly unique flavor and a unique history? The Grimes Golden Apple tree is both one of history’s most important apple cultivars as well as one of its most flavorful. This apple tree is a great choice for people looking to grow something with a little bit more history.

Closeup of picked golden apples that very closely resemble Grimes Golden Apple Tree apples.

The Grimes Golden Apple can be grown all over the United States. It is a great choice for home gardeners with experience growing apple trees. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the Grimes Golden Apple tree.

History of the Grimes Golden Apple 

This apple cultivar has a history that goes back to the early 1800s. The Grimes Golden Apple tree was first grown in 1832 by a farmer named Thomas Grimes. This apple was grown in Wellsburg, Virginia. Today, the city of Wellsburg is located in West Virginia. A lot has changed in American history since this apple was first grown.

The Grimes Golden Apple also has a secret, and very famous, legacy. There’s a good chance that the Grimes Golden Apple is actually the parent of one of today’s most popular cultivars. The Grimes Golden Apple tree might very well be the parent of the Golden Delicious Apple. While that lineage is not entirely proven, it is known that the Grimes Golden Apple is a parent for several of today’s popular cultivars.

The historic success of the Grimes Golden Apple tree comes down to its characteristics. 

Grimes Golden Apple Characteristics

Like most apple trees, the Grimes Golden Apple grows to about 15 feet in height. This also means that this tree requires a fair bit of spacing between its neighbors in order for it to comfortably grow.

Speaking of growing, these apple trees start to fruit around September and begin producing fruit somewhere between their second and fifth years. The Grimes Golden Apple does not reliably produce fruit every year. This is one of the major reasons why this apple was replaced with the Golden Delicious for commercial apple production.

However, hobbyists and home gardeners have been fans of the Grimes Golden Apple tree for generations. Here’s what you’re going to need to know if you want to start growing this apple tree in your yard. 

Planting Zones 

This is where you should start when you want to learn how to grow the Grimes Golden Apple tree. 

The Grimes Golden Apple tree is best in planting zones 5 through 8. Within these zones, it does best in central in eastern climates. This particular apple tree doesn’t do too well in harsh winters. That means the more frosty regions of zones 5 through 8 might have a little bit of difficulty with this plant during cold winter months.

This is a more restrictive planting zone than this apple tree’s most famous descendant: the Golden Delicious. 

Size and Spacing

We mentioned earlier that this apple tree requires a decent amount of spacing. With an adult height of 15 feet, this apple tree is going to need plenty of stretching room. If you’re growing this apple tree in your yard, you want to make sure that you have at least fifteen feet of space in order to make sure that this apple tree can grow without too much competition. 

Just like most other apple trees, the Grimes Golden Apple grows to be about as tall as it is wide. This means your adult apple tree will be not only 15 feet high, but also 15 ft wide. This is the reason why these apple trees require a little bit more space than other types of fruiting trees.

Pollination

The Grimes Golden Apple is a special kind of fruit tree known as a self-pollinator.

Self-pollinating trees do not require a complimentary tree in order to bear fruit.  You’ll just need one Grimes Golden Apple tree in your yard in order to start producing delicious apples consistently. However, just like other self pollinators this apple tree does better with complimentary flowering plants around it. This apple tree is in flowering group number three.

Now that you’re ready to plant and start growing your Grimes Golden Apple, how should you get started?

Grimes Golden Apple Tree Care

Now that you know the basics of where and how to grow the Grimes Golden Apple tree, let’s get into taking care of this historic apple cultivar.

Apple trees with golden apples that closely resemble the Grimes Golden Apple tree.

Sunlight

Let’s start with sunlight.

If you’re familiar with growing apple trees, then you’ll know that most of them require full sunlight. The Grimes Golden Apple tree is no different. When you plant your Grimes Golden Apple, you’re going to want to make sure it’s got plenty of sunlight.

Watering

This apple tree has some unique requirements when it comes to watering.

The Grimes Golden Apple tree should be kept in well-drained soil. Excess water and overly damp soil can quickly lead to root rot and other problems with this apple tree. As far as the soil goes, the Grimes Golden Apple does best in loamy soil.

Pruning 

Here’s how to prune the Grimes Golden Apple tree.

The best time to prune the Grimes Golden Apple tree is either late winter or early spring. Apple trees go into a dormant period after they shed their leaves and before new buds start to bloom. You want to prune your apple tree before the new buds start appearing, but also after the harshest days and winter have ended.

You want to prune this apple tree much like any other fruit tree. You’ll prune for growth, to remove any damaged or infected branches, and to ensure that your Grimes Golden Apple tree can focus on producing fruit in the coming seasons.

After pruning, one of the most important things to keep an eye out for are common fruit tree diseases.

Diseases & Care 

Just like any other fruit tree, the Grimes Golden Apple tree can face a wide range of illnesses as well as pests. Here’s a resource about common diseases to be aware of when taking care of your Grimes Golden Apple.

Our first tree health tip is to make sure your Grimes Golden Apple stays healthy. The best way to defend your tree from diseases and pests is to make sure that it does not get infested to begin with.

After that, the best thing you can do is to act early. If you start noticing pests, mold, or bacterial infections you need to act quickly to ensure that this does not spread throughout the tree and to neighboring trees.

Pests 

Pests are serious problems for any type of fruit tree. Those delicious Grimes Golden Apples not only attract humans, but also a wide range of natural critters. While many of these are completely harmless and can be handled without the need to use any pesticides or tools, serious problems often require more serious responses.

Our guide on When To Spray Apple Trees can help you get a better idea of how you can take care to prevent pests from infesting your apple tree. 

Common Uses For The Grimes Golden Apple

So you got your first crop of Grimes Golden Apples, but what do you do with them? Here are some of our favorite recipes, tips, and tricks for preparing delicious Grimes Golden Apples.

Apple tree with golden apple that closely resemble the fruit of the Grimes Golden Apple Tree.

What Does The Grimes Golden Apple Taste Like? 

This Apple has one of the most unique flavors out of all the other apple cultivars. It’s known for its intensity and the depth of its flavor.

This taste is also very unique and a little hard to pin down. It’s often described as being sweet with a little bit of spice. Imagine a Golden Delicious with more depth, boldness, and a kick of spice and you’ll get the idea! 

Cooking

The unique flavor makes the Grimes Golden Apple a standout for culinary applications. You can cook this apple in place of essentially any other apple in a recipe.

It’s worth keeping in mind that these apples are not very tart so if you’re looking for that sour sweet bite, you might want to try a different variety of apple.

Eating raw

You can eat the Grimes Golden Apple right off the branch. The unique flavor that we mentioned earlier is best experienced raw. If you never had a Grimes Golden Apple before, it’s worth just biting into a fresh apple to get a real sense of this unique flavor.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

That unique flavor comes into play again when we talk about preserving apples. Canning, freezing, and drying have a way of intensifying flavors and concentrating them. That sweet and spicy pop of the Grimes Golden Apple lends itself to becoming incredible jams as well as apple butter.

The Best Grimes Golden Apple Recipes

If you’re looking for delicious recipes that use the Grimes Golden Apple, then look no further.

We’ve got you covered with great apple recipes that you can cook for any occasion. The Grimes Golden Apple has a unique flavou]r that lends itself to spicing up classic recipes. You can try out this Spicy Apple Ginger Chutney, a “Real Butter” Apple Butter, or even wow that health nut in your family with these Deliciously Healthy Oven Baked Apple Chips.

Speaking of keeping things healthy. The Grimes Golden Apple has great value when it comes to your personal health. 

Health Benefits of the Grimes Golden Apple

As the old saying goes: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what exactly is the apple doing for us that keeps us so healthy?

Apples are packed with natural health benefits. These fruits have been linked to improved outcomes for diabetes, heart health, and immune system functioning. These fruits are also packed with nutrients. There’s a reason why the apple has been an iconic snack for generations. Apples are also a great way to start replacing those artificial sugary processed foods with something a little bit more natural.

Start eating enough Grimes Golden Apples, and you’ll never go back to the artificial taste of apple candy.

Where To Buy The Grimes Golden Apple Tree?

The Grimes Golden Apple tree isn’t as popular today as it used to be. The Golden Delicious Apple is easier to grow and produces fruit a little bit more reliably. This has caused the Grimes Golden Apple to become a little bit more of a specialty apple tree.

However, if you can get your hands on a Grimes Golden Apple at an online retailer or your local greenhouse or farm, you’ll be rewarded with one of American History’s most delicious apple cultivars.

Where To Buy Grimes Golden Apples

We mentioned earlier that the Golden Delicious Apple is both a direct descendant of the Grimes Golden Apple as well as its commercial successor. This means the best way to find Grimes Golden Apples is to head to your local farmers market or hobby orchard.

Wooden boxes of apples with signs on them for Grimes Golden Apple, Stayman Apple, and Red Delicious Apple.
Grimes Golden Apples on display.

You might not be able to find these apples in every store in the country. However, there are specialty retailers that can ship these apples as well as local markets with specialty farmers.

Wrapping up The Grimes Golden Apple Tree

The Grimes Golden Apple tree is one of American History’s most iconic apple cultivars. This tree is responsible for giving us one of the most popular apple varieties today.

The Grimes Golden Apple has a unique flavor that has kept it around for over one hundred years. Despite being surpassed by the Golden Delicious Apple, the Grimes Golden Apple tree is still a great choice for hobbyists and home gardeners looking to explore the wide range of apple cultivars and their unique flavors.