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The Paula Red Apple Tree

If the Paula Red Apple tree doesn’t come to your mind when you think of a red, juicy apple, it should. The Paula Red apple is a large apple known to break down easily, making it excellent to bake with and use for applesauce.

Closeup of hand holding a small Paula Red Apple with out of focus red apple trees in the background.
A small Paula Red Apple.

If you want the benefit of having these apples any time, you can purchase a Paula Red Apple tree and take a few simple steps to keep the tree thriving. But if you don’t have the space, or don’t want the hassle, you may even purchase Paula Red apples in stores.   

History of the Paula Red Apple Tree

The history of the Paula Red Apple tree is rather simple. A grower by the name of Louis Arends discovered it in the Fruit Ridge, which is northwest of Grand Rapid, in 1960. Specifically, Arend’s orchard was in Spart Township in Kent County, Michigan. He found the tree close to the McIntosh section of his orchard. In honor of his wife, Pauline, the grower deemed it the “Paula Red Apple.” It wasn’t until eight years later that this apple appeared on the market. 

Although the fruit is similar to the McIntosh, it’s not completely identical. The lineage of the Paula Red Apple is actually undocumented, so no one is sure if there’s a relationship to McIntosh or if the apple is actually from another family. 

Closeup of Paula Red Apple tree apples on a branch.
Paula Red apples.

Characteristics of the Paula Red Apple Tree

The classic appearance of an apple tree is exactly what the Paula Red Apple tree brings. It’s a small tree, meaning that it’s under 30 feet. The leaves are dark green and elliptical in shape. 

The Paula Red Apple stands out against the green background. These medium-sized apples are bright red with hints of green peeking through, along with small, tan lenticels covering their entire skin. Y

ou’ll notice that once you bite into the fruit that the peel is chewy and thick. When you cut open the fruit, you’ll see the white flesh that has an average grain. 

Planting Zones

Paula Red apples are harvested anywhere from mid-August to September. Fortunately, they’re highly adaptable and can be grown in a variety of planting zones. Zone 4, for instance, has temperatures from -4 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which works for the Paula Red Apple tree. This zone consists of Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Vermont, and North Dakota. 

You may also grow Paula Red Apple trees in zones five through eight. The winter temperatures in this zone don’t usually reach below -10 and -20 degrees. The summer temperatures tend to be warmer in the afternoon and cool off in the evening. Examples of states in this zone include Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. 

Zone six is a bit further south and includes states like Nevada, New Mexico, Missouri, and North Carolina. Temperatures don’t tend to go any lower than -5 or 0 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Minimum temperatures in zone seven are between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit and include states like Tennesee, South Carolina, and Mississippi. 

Zone eight states are closer to the equator, meaning their lowest temperatures of the year are still warmer than much of the country while their summers are warmer. Florida is a prime example of a state in this category. 

These are examples of states in these zones and don’t include every state. Not to mention, every state has multiple zones. Therefore, it’s vital that you do your research and figure out what zone you live in. If you want more a more detailed guide, visit this blog to learn how to grow the fruit tree. 

Size and Spacing

Paula Red Apple trees may reach a maximum of 15 feet high, although you can prune them to keep them smaller. On average, these trees grow to a width of 15 feet. They tend to grow between eight and 12 feet each year. You’ll need to plant them far enough from one other trees.

We recommend you grow Paula Red Apples at least 15 to 20 feet apart from one another to ensure they have enough room to grow without. Therefore, you’ll need to find out the spread of the other trees it’ll grow near and make sure they won’t overcrowd it. 

Pollination

Paula Red Apple trees aren’t self-pollinating. That means that can’t produce fruit on their own and will require a pollination mate. 

Each tree has both male and female parts. Those parts, however, aren’t compatible with one another. Therefore, it’ll need the pollen from another tree to meet with the eggs of another tree for fruit to appear.

Suitable pollination partners for this fruit include the crab apple, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith

Tree Care 

The Paula Red Apple tree is a hearty tree and requires little care. You should know the right conditions for it so that you can give it the care it needs for it to thrive and bear fruit as it should. 

Closeup of a Paula Red Apple tree.
Paula Red Apple tree.

Sunlight

The Paula Red Apple tree loves the sunlight. It needs six to eight hours of it each day to grow and thrive.

Ideally, you should place your Paula Red Apples directly in the sunlight with no obstruction. These trees appreciate full sunlight to develop and produce high-quality fruit. 

Watering

In the first two years of your apple tree’s life, you’ll want to water your plant adequately, so it develops a strong root system and upper structure. As a general rule, you should water this plant once weekly deeply.

The Paula Red Apple tree prefers one thorough watering rather than a few minutes of watering more frequently. You don’t want to drown the roots — just give it enough so that the soil drains and the roots take in the water without completely saturating the base.

You’ll still need to water the tree after the first two years as necessary during dry conditions. 

Pruning 

During the first year after you plant a Paula Red Apple tree, you should trim back the main branches that form the lateral structure. This allows the tree to grow a strong center to support branches and fruit in the future. You’ll also want to remove all extraneous branches on the tree’s sides. This helps lower buds to form branches as well. 

After its third year, you should start removing any dead, diseased, or decay branches. You want to also remove branches that are blocking out the canopy from getting sun and any vertical branches besides the main trunk. 

Pruning is a complicated process that requires attention to detail and following a great deal of instructions to perform it properly. We recommend using our apple tree pruning guide before attempting the process yourself. 

Diseases & Care 

One of the diseases this plant is notorious for developing is a fungal infection caused by excessive moisture known as cedar apple rust. Scab is another potential disease that could affect this tree. It’s also a fungus, but it affects the leaves and apples alike. Fortunately, it only affects the peel and not the apple’s interior. 

For a more in-depth guide to diseases and care, check out this blog

Pests 

Don’t be surprised if animals, such as raccoons, want to eat your apples — especially after they’ve fallen from the tree. This tree also attracts bugs, such as aphids and maggots. Maggots don’t really care about the apples but love to chew on the root hairs. Aphids could leave a residue on your tree or transfer a virus to your tree. 

Common Uses for the Paula Red Apple  

The Paula Red apple is perfect for eating raw. We strongly recommend washing it first, though, seeing as how you never quite know what’s been on your apple. 

Closeup of picked Paula Red Apples.
Picked Paula Red Apples.

The fruit of the Paula Red Apple tree is similar to a MacIntosh. It’s sweet, without being overly sweet, and a bit tart. In other words, it’s an ideal blend of sweet and tart. Many people state they can taste a hint of strawberry when eating this apple.

We advise picking Paula Red apples at the beginning of the season. As the season continues, the quality of the apple’s flesh diminishes. It becomes mealy and soft. 

These apples are extremely versatile for culinary use. Their flesh breaks down easily, so they’re superb for applesauce. You could even turn them into an Applesauce Cookie. Not sure how to make that? Check out this recipe

We also recommend desserts like apple cobbler or crumble. This Old Fashioned Apple Crisp is a delight. You could also add apples to this Cherry Crumble recipe for a unique baked good with a tart taste and a burst of sweetness. 

Cook down the apples with cinnamon in juice or water. Thicken the mixture, and you’ll have a cooked apple mixture similar to an apple pie filling. Use it to top waffles, pancakes, ice cream, or yogurt. Turn it into a parfait. 

We can’t forget apple pie or Apple Muffins. Eat the muffins for breakfast or an after-meal treat. 

Apples are also good to use in dinner meals. They pair well with chicken and pork. 

Closeup of a meal idea for Paula Red apples -- White Cheddar Stuffed Apple Pork Chops.
White Cheddar Stuffed Apple Pork Chops (click for the recipe).

While we barely scratched the surface of what you can do with Paula Red apples, you don’t want to wear yourself out on them. You may want to store your apples for future use. One way to do this is via canning.

When canning apples, you should dice or slice them. They also can well as apple rings. You can choose to can apples whole, but this takes up a lot of space in the jar and limits how much you can put into one jar.

Typically, canned apples will last you between one and two years when stored proeperly. You can use juice, syrup, or plain water for canning apples. 

Apples can also be frozen. They last up to six months this way. We recommend cutting them into slices, chunks, or rings for freezing. You’ll want to core and skin them first.

Before you put them in freezer bags, make sure you lay them flat on a tray and freeze them completely before transferring them to a freezer-safe bag. 

Another option is dehydrating the apples. Without all the moisture, apples can last up to six months. Rings, slices, or chunks work best for dehydrating. Dried apples can be used on salads, in trail mix, as a yogurt or ice cream topper, or on cereal, among other options.

Dehydrate them on a low oven setting for 12 hours or use a food dehydrator. Be sure to read the instructions on your dehydrator’s model. You can also use your air fryer to dehydrate them.  

Health Benefits of the Paula Red Apple

Apples are loaded with fiber and nutrients. Fiber is good for your heart because it helps reduce your triglyceride level, which is an unhealthy type of cholesterol that flows through your blood. Additionally, your digestive tract with thank you for consuming these apples regularly because fiber helps regulate your system. 

You also receive magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6 when you eat apples. The nutrients in apples benefit your bone strength, circulatory system, immune system, skin, and teeth, among other benefits. Check out all of the health benefits of these apples on this blog. It just might convince you to get an apple tree. 

Where to Buy the Paula Red Apple Tree 

A simple internet search for the Paula Red Apple tree will help you find nurseries that grow and transport them. They often will ship them to any state in the country. You could also visit your local nursery and view what they have in stock, 

Where to Buy Paula Red Apples

Your local grocery store or superstore may have Paula Red apples. You might also find them at your local orchard. If all else fails, there are orchards online that grow this fruit and ship it right to your door. 

Wrapping Up the Paula Red Apple Tree

If you love red apples like the MacIntosh, the Paula Red Apple tree is a must-try. Once you have your first one, you’ll see why this is such a popular variety. And it might just persuade you to buy your own trees to enjoy these apples all year long, with proper storing techniques, of course.