One of the most beloved autumn joys for many people is picking fresh apples. In colder climates, one great option is the Honeygold Apple tree. Because this fruit tree can withstand temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit, it has become a favorite with growers and home gardeners who live in the northern states.
Sometimes described as tasting like a Golden Delicious with a touch of honey, the Honeygold apple is a wonderfully juicy fruit to have for eating out of hand and using in recipes. Let’s dive in and learn all about this delicious apple tree.
History of the Honeygold Apple Tree
The Honeygold Apple tree was developed by the University of Minnesota specifically for growing in cold areas. Researchers at the Agricultural Experiment Station’s Horticultural Research Center crossed a Haralson apple with a Golden Delicious apple to attempt to obtain a fruit that was similar in style to the Golden Delicious.
However, the researchers were also going for an apple tree that had the Haralson apple’s cold hardiness, and their experiment was a success. The Honeygold apple tree was born and released to growers in 1970.
The Honeygold Apple tree is often thought to be the parent of the beloved Honeycrisp apple, but this is false. The University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program conducted genetic testing on the Honeycrisp apple to confirm that the Honeycrisp had different parent apples.
Fruit Tree / Fruit Characteristics
In spring, the Honeygold Apple tree produces gorgeous blossoms that are pinkish-white in color. This apple tree is well anchored, drought-tolerant, and grows vigorously.
Honeygold apples are medium to large in size and have a round conical shape. Trees bear fruit between two and three years after planting. Your yearly harvest with a Honeygold Apple tree will be between 40-50 pounds.
The Honeygold apple’s skin surface is golden-yellow and smooth, with russet dots. These apples sometimes go to green with a red-bronze blush. The flesh of this tasty apple is yellowish-white.
Honeygold Apple trees will grow and successfully produce fruit in areas as far north as USDA Hardiness Zone 3. These marvelous trees can tolerate temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Click here for more information on growing and planting an apple tree.
Size and Spacing
The M-7 Honeygold Apple tree is a semi-dwarf rootstock and grows to be between 12 and 16 feet tall. If allowed to grow, these trees can become up to 25-feet tall in 25 years.
If you go with the M-26 dwarf rootstock, your trees will be between 8 and 12 feet in height.
Your Honeygold Apple trees will be about as wide as they are tall. When planting multiple trees, space them accordingly.
Honeygold Apple trees need pollination from other trees because they are not self-pollinating. To achieve fruiting with these trees, you will need to plant another apple tree that blooms around the same time as your Honeygold apple.
Here are some of the best trees for pollinating this tree.
Honeygold apple trees are in flowering group 3.
Honeygold Apple trees are adaptable to most soil types but need well-drained soil. These trees don’t like extremely wet areas, so plant them in a spot that gets good drainage.
If you have an area that floods for more than two weeks during the spring, avoid planting your Honeygold Apple trees in that location.
To plant your tree, dig a hole that’s just as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Plant your tree in your location and backfill the soil. Be sure to tamp down gently to avoid air pockets.
Like all apple trees, the Honeygold Apple tree enjoys full sun for 8-10 hours per day. However, they can grow in areas where they get at least a half-day of sunlight.
When your Honeygold Apple trees are newly planted, they need water once to twice per week. Because high winds and hot temperatures cause faster evapotranspiration, you will need to make sure your trees are watered frequently. Also, if you have sandy soil, you will need to monitor the moisture around your trees and will possibly have to water more often.
Once established, your tree needs a full inch of rain at least every seven to 10 days. If you get less rain than this, water the tree by soaking the soil around the root line approximately two or three inches deep.
If the soil around your tree is dry down to two to three inches, you need to give it a deep watering.
When your Honeygold Apple is dormant in winter, discontinue watering unless you experience a winter drought.
To fertilize your Honeygold Apple tree, use commercial fertilizer in early spring or late winter. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with your fertilizer.
Mulch your tree to help keep the root system cool and reduce surface evaporation. To mulch, spread the mulch in a layer that is three to four inches deep around three feet from the canopy’s outer edges.
When you mulch your Honeygold Apple tree, make sure the mulch doesn’t touch the base of the trunk.
Your Honeygold Apple trees should be pruned when they’re dormant in late winter. To prune your trees, remove all of the dead branches and leaves. Prune the branches so that the entire tree is able to receive an equal amount of sunlight.
All apple trees need good air circulation, so prune your tree with this in mind.
To learn more about pruning this tree, read “Pruning Apple Trees” on our website.
Diseases & Care
Although the Honeygold Apple tree is fairly easy to manage, it is susceptible to fire blight, which is caused by the Erwinia amylovora bacterium. There isn’t an existing cure for fire blight, but some trees affected by this condition can be pruned successfully.
Honeygold apples are considered disease resistant and are hearty against apple scab, but these trees can still be affected by the disease if you live in an area that has wet springs. The fruit’s eating quality isn’t seriously affected by this, but apple scab can cause black spots on the foliage and the apples.
These trees can also be affected by Codling Moth, which creates a wormy apple. Aphids can also be damaging to the tree’s foliage.
Common Uses For the Honeygold Apple Tree
The Honeygold Apple tree produces a dessert apple that is also excellent for serving in salads or eating fresh.
This apple offers only a medium juice yield, and there are better apple varieties for juicing. However, this apple does make good cider and is a nice complementary flavor when added to other apple juices.
What Do Honeygold Apples Taste Like?
Honeygold apples are described as tasting strikingly similar to Golden Delicious apples. However, they are blander, much sweeter, and have a nice crisp texture.
If you’re a baker, Honeygold apples are excellent choices for apple pie and cobbler. These apples pair nicely with spices commonly used with apples, including cinnamon and nutmeg. They’re also delicious with honey and caramel.
Honeygold apples are perfect for eating fresh. You can also use them to make hearty applesauce.
Honeygold apples also add interest to salads of all types, including chicken salad. Make a traditional chicken salad recipe and add Honeygold apples and chopped walnuts for a hearty Harvest Chicken Salad.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
In terms of storage, Honeygold apples keep for approximately three months in cold storage.
If you want to preserve your Honeygold apples, you’re going to be happy to know that there are tons of ways to can, freeze, and dehydrate your apples. This excellent guide from the University of Illinois Extension gives guidance and best practices for preserving apples.
When you can apples, you can preserve them as apple slices or make an apple pie filling. There are also lots of recipes online for various chutneys and apple butter.
When canning anything, follow the University of Illinois Extension guide or a reputable canning book.
A popular method of freezing apples is to freeze them in sugar syrup. When packed in a sugar syrup, apples retain better flavor and texture.
You can’t blanch apples as you do vegetables for freezing. Instead, you need to add ascorbic acid to control the fruit’s enzymes. This will help to keep the apples from browning as well as preserving vitamin C.
Honeygold Apple trees offer a bountiful harvest, and if you have excess apples, you can certainly dry them. There are better apple varieties for dehydrating, but if you have Honeygold apples, there’s no reason you can’t dehydrate them.
You can make any of the following dried apple snacks:
- Classic chewy apple slices
- Crunchy apple chips
- Chewy or crunch apple rings
- Chewy apples
The great news is that you can dehydrate your apples in a dehydrator or your oven.
See our guide: “How to Dehydrate Apples.”
Apple Cider Vinegar
There’s no need to waste even one piece of your apple harvest. After preserving your apple harvest, don’t toss the peels and cores because you can use them to make tangy apple cider vinegar, which has its own impressive list of powerful health benefits.
Be sure to follow the instructions carefully to make sure your apple cider vinegar is safe and shelf-stable.
Recipes for Honeygold Apples
On our website, we have several wonderful recipes that you can make to enjoy your Honeygold apple harvest. We love Sweet Cinnamon Apple Salad, Apple Butter, and Old Fashioned Apple Crisp. Of course, you can also make your favorite apple pie or cobbler.
Here are some more excellent recipes from the Minnetonka Apple Orchards website.
- Homemade Apple Fritters
- Perfect Apple Dumplings
- Apple Waffles
- Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Spicy Apple Ginger Chutney
- Applesauce Cookies
When pureed into applesauce, you will have a nice texture with rich flavor.
Health Benefits of the Honeygold Apple
The health benefits of apples are well-documented by countless scientific and nutritional studies. If you can only add one fruit to your daily diet, you can’t go wrong with an apple. Medium-sized apples have about 100 calories each. Moreover, apples contain no sodium, fat, or cholesterol.
One of the most important nutrients provided by apples is fiber. Each apple contains about four grams of fiber, giving you about 17% of the recommended daily intake for the majority of people. In addition to that wonderful fiber, apples also offer the following nutrients.
- Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
- Vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B6
In regards to specific health benefits, apples have been known to help with the following issues.
- May help prevent cancer
- Weight loss
- Promotion of good gut bacteria
- Heart health
- Bone health
- Lowered diabetes risk
- Asthma and inflammation relief
- Brain health
For more information on how apples can help keep you healthier, read “10 Amazing Health Benefits of Apples.”
Where To Buy This Fruit Tree?
Check for Honeygold Apple trees at your local nursery or garden store. For more apple tree varieties, you can check out the selection offered by Nature Hills Nursery.
Where To Buy the Fruit
It’s not always easy to find Honeygold apples, so if you see some at a fruit stand, be sure to grab them up. The best way to make sure you have a plentiful supply of these delicious sweet apples is to grow them yourself in your yard or orchard.
Wrapping up the Honeygold Apple Tree
For people who live in a cold climate, the Honeygold Apple tree offers a great solution to growing sweet, crispy apples that will keep well. These trees are a great addition to any home orchard.