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The Haralson Apple Tree

Apple trees play a significant role in American history, and one of the oldest and most beloved is the Haralson Apple tree. These prestigious fruit trees are exceedingly cold-hardy and have a short growing season. This is wonderful for folks who live in colder climates and want to own a piece of apple history.

Closeup of reddish yellow Haralson apple tree apples.

Another benefit to growing the Haralson Apple tree is that it doesn’t take up excessive space and it still produces large crops. If you’re looking for a smaller tree that grows apples that are delicious to eat fresh and store well, you can’t go wrong with this popular and reliable tree.

History of the Haralson Apple Tree

The Haralson Apple tree was introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1922. For more than 50 years, this apple tree was the most popular tree in Minnesota. The Haralson Apple tree held the number one spot until the Honeycrisp apple was introduced.

The Haralson Apple tree was named after Charles Haralson, who was the superintendent of the University of Minnesota’s Fruit Breeding Farm.

Fruit Tree / Fruit Characteristics

The fragrant flowers on the Haralson Apple tree are white clusters and will bloom profusely late in spring after all threat of late frost is gone. Moreover, hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and pollinators will thank you for growing this nectar-rich resource.

Closeup of a white Haralson Apple tree blossom.
Haralson Apple tree blossom.

The foliage on the Haralson Apple tree is forest green, and in fall, the leaves turn yellow.

The Haralson apple has a complex, tart flavor and a firm texture. Generally, Haralson apples may become fully red over a yellow base, and often have partially red splashes and stripes. The skin of the Haralson apple is medium in toughness.

Haralson apples ripen between late September and early October. This tree tends to bear fruit biennially, which means they produce fruit in alternating years. The good news is that these trees often bear fruit the first year, though in most cases, fruiting time is between three and five years.

When these trees are old, they become very picturesque.

Planting Zones

Because Haralson Apple trees are particularly cold-hardy, they grow beautifully in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-6, although some experts say that they also grow well in zones 2 and 7. They require about 1,000 chill hours.

Size and Spacing

At maturity, the Haralson Apple tree will reach a height between 18-20 feet. The tree’s mature spread is between 10-12 feet.

As a landscape tree, the Haralson Apple tree is ideal for people who want a delicious apple harvest but don’t have huge yards and acreage.

This tree also serves as a surprisingly good backdrop for vegetable gardens or picnic destinations in your backyard. You can even use the charming Haralson Apple tree to anchor perennial and cottage gardens.

An orchard setting of apple trees with reddish yellow apples very similar to Haralson Apple trees


Although Haralson Apple trees are technically self-pollinating, if you grow these trees, you will need a pollinator for the best fruit production. Some excellent choices are some of the most popular cultivars, including Honeycrisp, Gala, and Red Delicious.

Tree Care

For optimal growth, soil pH should be between 6.5-7.0, and these trees need well-drained fertile soil. The Haralson Apple tree thrives in clay loam and sandy loam.

Experts recommend that you don’t fertilize your Haralson Apple trees the first year, but you can fertilize your trees in subsequent years if you need to.

For more information on growing apple trees, reference our guide: “How to Plant Apple Trees.”


Like all apple trees, the Haralson Apple tree grows best when planted in areas that receive full sun.

For best results, make sure your tree has access to the early morning sun, which is the drying sun. When your apple trees get this beneficial early morning sunlight, they will be healthier overall.


Haralson Apple trees need about 12-15 gallons of water per week from May through September.


Haralson Apple trees are drought-tolerant. However, during times of drought, you will need to water these trees.

If you mulch your tree, it will help it to hold in moisture and keep the root system cool during hot months.

To mulch your Haralson Apple tree, spread the mulch in a layer that is three to four inches deep and spread it out about three feet from the canopy’s edges.


Prune your Haralson Apple tree in late winter to help with good air circulation. Pruning also helps to ensure that all of the inner branches get sufficient airflow and light penetration through the canopy.

To learn more about pruning apple trees, read our guide on “Pruning Apple Trees” on our website.

Diseases & Care

Haralson apples are prone to russeting and watercore. However, these trees are resistant to apple scab.

As for pests, keep your eye out for wooly aphids, aphids, fruit tree red spider mites, rosy apple aphids, codline moths, mussel scale, and caterpillars.

If you spray your apple trees, remember that it’s all about timing. You can spray insecticidal fertilizer that protects against aphids, fungus, and other pests.

For more information, read our guide to “Haralson Apple Tree Diseases and Care.” For more disease-resistant apples, you can also reference “Disease Resistant Apple Trees.”

Common Uses For the Haralson Apple Tree

When it comes to the best apples for apple pie, the Haralson apple is a favorite because the apple holds its shape well in pies.

Haralson apples are juicy and they’re the perfect apples for baking, making cider, and eating fresh. You can also use Haralson apples to make homemade apple juice.

What Do Haralson Apples Taste Like?

These apples are firm with beautiful white flesh that has a tart and complex flavor. They’re great for cheese trays and salads.


Apples are famously used in lots of different breads and muffin recipes, including Healthy Apple Muffins. Equally popular are recipes like Apple Cinnamon Bread, which is a beloved classic.

One delicious way to enjoy cooked apples is via apple cider. Our recipe for Apple Cider Rye Cocktail will hit the spot on a cold evening. To make this, you first have to prepare an apple cider concentrate, which will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month. The rye whisky and oranges make this cocktail a winner.

Eating Raw

Haralson apples are excellent apples for fresh eating. However, because these apples hold their shape so well, they aren’t the best apples for making applesauce.

There are several delicious ways to enjoy raw apples in salads. You can try Apple Cabbage Coleslaw or Apple Chicken Salad. Creamy and Sweet Cinnamon Apple Salad is another wonderful salad recipe, and it gives a surprisingly sweet crunch to a salad.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

In terms of storage, few apples store better than the Haralson apple. These apples will keep for four to five months in cold storage.


Apple butters are excellent ways to preserve apples. Beautiful jars of homemade apple butter are welcome gifts at holiday parties.

Another popular way to preserve apples of all types is through chutneys. Try Spicy Apple Ginger Chutney for a winning treat to share with friends and family. This interesting recipe calls for onions, ginger, orange juice, ground mustard, chile flakes, and more, serving up a wondrous surprise of a sauce.


While canning and drying apples may be the ideal ways to preserve them, you can certainly freeze your apples. Frozen apples are ideal for making applesauce or baking.

To freeze apples, you can actually freeze them whole if you’re pressed for time. Simply wash your apples well and put them on a cookie sheet in your freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to freezer bags.

Alternatively, you can freeze apple slices if you want them for recipes.

Apple Pie Filling

Looking to have a good supply of apple pie filling on hand but feel overwhelmed by the canning process? No problem! Y ou can freeze apple pie filling. Here’s a tip. Some spices lose their flavor when frozen, so consider adding the spices after you pull your frozen apple pie filling from the freezer just before baking.

The Spruce Eats has a wonderful guide to how to freeze apples in several different ways.


Since Haralson apples are nice and firm and have a wonderful flavor, they’re ideal for drying and will hold their shape well.

A delicious way to preserve apples is by dehydrating them. When you have dried apples on hand, you have a quick and healthy alternative to granola bars, potato chips, and other generally unhealthy and sugar-laden snacks.

There are two different types of dried apples: dried apples and apple chips. The difference between the two is mostly how the apples are sliced and how long it takes to dry them.

Oven-Dried Apples

The good news is that you don’t have to have a food dehydrator to make dried apples. Of course, if you do have a dehydrator, you will be able to dry all manner of foods, but you can also use your oven to dry apples.

One of our favorite ways to dry apples is by making oven-baked apple chips. They’re easy to make and offer guilt-free snacking. To make these apple chips, simply dry them in your oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour on each side. The only spice they need is cinnamon.

Recipes for Haralson Apples

One of our favorite recipes is White Cheddar Stuffed Apple Pork Chops. Since Haralson apples hold their shape so well, they stand up nicely in this recipe.

Another favorite recipe is the Old Fashioned Apple Crisp that calls for delicious and hearty rolled oats, brown sugar, and apple pie spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

Here is a list of even more wonderful apple recipes on our website to try with your Haralson apple harvest.

  • Homemade Apple Fritters
  • Apple Pancakes
  • Apple Waffles
  • Caramel Apple Crumble
  • Perfect Apple Dumplings
  • Apple Onion Tart
  • Apple Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel – Upside Down Style
Apple Granola In Glass Jar
Better Than Store-Bought Apple Granola (click for the recipe).

Health Benefits of the Haralson Apple

Like all apples, the Haralson apple packs a powerful nutritional punch. One medium-sized apple only has about 100 calories. Moreover, apples contain no fat, sodium, or cholesterol.

Perhaps the most important nutritional benefit of apples is that they’re an excellent source of fiber. Dietary fiber softens our stool and increases its weight and size, making it easier to pass through our digestive system. An apple contains about four grams of fiber, which is approximately 17% of the recommended daily intake.

In addition to the bountiful fiber in apples, you can also enjoy these nutrients if you eat an apple every day.

  • Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 6% of the RDI

Apples also provide the following essential vitamins and nutrients.

  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B6

Moreover, studies show that apples help with the following health issues.

For more information on the many benefits of eating apples, read “10 Amazing Health Benefits of Apples.”

Where To Buy This Fruit Tree?

You can buy Haralson apple trees at Nature Hills Nursery online.

Where To Buy the Fruit

Look for Haralson apples in season at your local produce market and select grocery stores. Keep in mind that they will sell out quickly, so if you’re lucky enough to find them, grab them up.

Wrapping up the Haralson Apple Tree

Growing apples is fun and easy. Best of all, it’s a cherished American pastime. Whether you’re just starting your orchard or you’re a seasoned grower, the Haralson Apple tree is the perfect addition to your orchard or backyard.

Excited for more apple content? Visit our apple trees page to learn more about apple planting, growing, picking, cooking, and more!

Ray Klein

Saturday 29th of April 2023

When will Opal apples ever become available? Seems like one grower in Washington state has a monopoly.


Saturday 29th of April 2023

Looks like the patent protects them until 2024. Good for the Washington grower! Developing new varieties is so much work.


Sunday 15th of January 2023

Stopped reading after the first sentence. One of the oldest and most beloved? Its quite new and doesn't rate very high on any list


Saturday 21st of January 2023

Well that's relative, isn't it?

The University of Minnesota developed it in 1913 and released it in 1922, so it's over a century old.

And it's still readily available at orchards and trees are available at nurseries alike. So I'd say there's some "love" out there for Haralson.

Make it a great day Kevin!