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Macoun Apples – The Sweet Dessert Apple

“Are Macoun apples out yet?” All the apple roadside stands in New England hear these words day in and day out once apple season begins. Pronounced “MacCowan” (don’t call them “Ma Coon”) these little gems are the best eating apple on the market. Sweet and tart, firm and juicy, they are sadly only available for a very short season.

Macoun apples at an orchard in Massachusetts
Macoun apples at an orchard in Massachusetts

Expand your apple orchards by planting your own Macoun apple trees so you don’t have to rely on the availability of your local roadside stands.

Macoun Apple Flavor

red ripe Macoun apples
Red ripe Macoun Apples.

Best as a fresh eating apple, Macoun apples are a joy. Apple lovers anticipate their arrival each fall, counting the days until the fruit is perfectly ripe and ready to harvest.

Delightful as an eating apple, these little gems have dark red skin with a purply blush, firm snow white flesh, a perfectly balanced bite between sweet and tart with light floral undertones.

History Of The Macoun Apple Tree

The Macoun apple was developed in 1909 at Cornell University at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station by Richard Wellington. Macoun apples were first released in 1923 as a growing variety. They were named after famed Canadian horticulturalist W.T. Macoun.

The Macoun is a cross between the McIntosh and Jersey Black cultivars. The Jersey Black, also a dessert apple, lends it’s very dark, almost black skin, to the Macoun giving it a purplish tint. Richard Wellington was successful in developing this beautiful fresh eating fruit offering so many uses for home orchards.

The McIntosh, a tart apple, is an all purpose apple that is very popular. Click here to learn more about McIntosh Apples.

Growing Your Macoun Apple Tree

The Macoun apple tree is a vigorous grower that is suitable for Zones 4 through 8. It loves full sun and loaming, well drained soil. A McIntosh style apple, the Macoun is grown throughout the New England, New York, and the northeast states. Happiest in the cooer zones like it’s McIntosh lineage, it needs cool autumn nights to enhance the color and flavor properties.

This apple tree requires 600 chill hours and is hardy to minus 30 degrees F. One of the desirable properties developed at the agricultural experiment station was that the apple have a wide zone and favorable chill hour requirement.

You can purchase a Macoun Apple Tree from Nature Hills Nursery.

The Macoun produces copious amounts of fruit and is an excellent fruit grower. However, the crop can be unreliable with good harvests followed by less than productive ones. The best reason to grow Macouns is because even in a sparse growing season you will still have plenty of yummy apples to eat.

Mature trees reach between 12 and 16 feet tall and wide. The should have at least 16 feet so space between them to ensure good, uninhibited growth.

Due to their smaller size, container planting is a viable options. Use a general potting soil that does not contain a moisture retention property to avoid root rot and has a pH around 6. Planting these fruit trees in container to grace your patio or lawn is a beautiful and functional way to grow Macouns. Use a large contain like this 30 inch Garden Pot from Amazon.

Your Macoun apple trees will take between 2 and 4 years to bear fruit given they are well cared for and planted in a sunny spot with nutritious and well drained soil.

Grafting Your Macoun Apple Tree

Have you ever ventured into the world of grafting your own apple tree? You can create your own orchard by getting cuttings of prized apple trees from your friends and fellow growers of interesting fruit trees.

With a little patience and practice you can graft specialty apple tree scions to host crabapple stock for a bountiful harvest of amazing apples. If you can’t find a willing friend with a Macoun apple tree, you can purchase three Macoun scion cuttings from SmartMe Life Plant.


Apple Blossoms
Apple blossoms on a macoun apple tree.

The Macoun apple tree is not self fertile. You need to have another pollinator close by to produce fruit. A variety in pollination group 3, the Macoun is happy to pollinate with a wide range of apple trees. Two popular apple trees that will work well are the Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious. The pollinating fruit trees should be planted within 50 feet to ensure good cross pollination.


The month you prune your apple tree will depend on what your desired outcome is and your fruit tree variety. Your pruning days will be based on where you live, New England and New York will be different than Canadian timing. A good pruning will make your tree a loving plant sentry for your garden.


Pruning a fruit tree that is getting to tall is best done in early spring. This will move the growth direction from up to out off the stock.


If you have a young, newly planted tree, pruning in late winter will encourage vigorous growth in the spring.


Pruning during the summer season is the perfect time to remove cross branches, broken limbs, and diseased wood.


Your fruit trees will not benefit from a fall season pruning, this is the one time for the trees to store food for the winter dormancy.

Macouns are prone to over cropping so to improve fruit size and quality thinning is necessary. Early June is the best time to thin the fruits. A good hard thinning is critical for this tree to produce a large healthy crop.

Pests And Diseases

Macoun apple trees have very good disease resistance. They have solid resistance to cedar apple rust and fireblight.

They are, however, susceptible to scab particularly if you are in a region that has wet springs. Apple scab can cause black spots on the apples and leaves. Using a simple organic spray can help control this unwanted pest on all your apple varieties.

Growing Apples In The United States

In New England, New York and throughout the Northeast, Macouns are available in October and November. Like the McIntosh apple, Macouns are popular apple at pick-your-own local farms.

Macouns are prone to biennial fruit bearing, having one great year with a bumper crop followed by a sparse harvest the next year. One of the best reasons to plant your own Macoun apple trees is that even in low production years, you will have your own stock of these sweet little, fresh eating beauties.

Enjoying Macoun Apples

Apple Walnut Spinach Salad
Homemade Autumn Apple Walnut Spinach Salad with Cheese and Cranberries

Not a keeper, Macouns need to be enjoyed while they are in season. They are best if kept no more than a week in the crisper. It won’t take long for the flesh to start to lose it’s crispness.

It’s easy enjoy your Macouns, they make a rich and refreshing appetizer, beautiful dessert, or light lunch. Besides eating them right off the tree, a simple preparation is all they require. Due to their natural sweetness, they are a welcome addition to may easy dishes and have many uses in your kitchen.

Adding Macouns to your autumn menu is as simple as serving them sliced with an assorted cheese plate and a chilled Chardonnay. Their sweet flavor will complement a sharp cheese and an acidic wine.

You can use Macoun apples in many baking recipes. They make a wonderfully sweet and firm applesauce that doesn’t require copious amounts of sugar. The perfect accompaniment to grilled pork or chicken.

A savory fall salad full of flavor is sliced apples, spinach, feta, walnuts, and dried cranberries will bring the autumnal flavor to your table. Simple and quick, you can eat this salad every day.

The Macoun makes a good baking apple and is perfect in apple pies because the flesh stays firm while cooking. No more mushy apple pies!

Rounding out your autumnal menu with a homemade, lattice topped apple pie is really the reason we grow apples!

Frequently Asked Questions

Macoun Apples
A display of red ripe Macoun apples – a sweet crisp eating apple from the Hudson Valley of New York State.

What does a Macoun apple taste like?

Macouns are a delightful sweet apple with a delicate floral essence. They carry a slight tartness from their McIntosh lineage. When fresh from the tree, they offer a mouthwatering crunch. One bite and you will be hooked on their delicious flavor.

What Apple is similar to Macoun?

Taking tartness from the McIntosh and sweetness from the Jersey Black, the Macoun is a blend of both apples.

Will apples continue to ripen after being picked?

Macouns are not a keeper. They will start to breakdown after a week or so. They are best eaten straight from the tree.

Ordering Your Macoun Apple Tree

Your Macoun apple tree order will typically be shipped in the early spring as a bare root plant. Orders have shipping dates based on your zip code. If possible, the best method to order your apple tree is to reserve your item in your shopping cart as soon as they become available. Signing up for a vendor’s mailing list is the best way to ensure you are notified of availability.

Keep In Touch

Check back to our website often for lots of great information about apples and other fruit tree varieties. We have dedicated our website to helping people like you successfully grow their home orchards, time their apple tree shipping dates, and select the best bare root plants.

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