Pixie Crunch apples are the delightful little gems of the apple world. Weighing in at a snack size of about 2 1/2 inches, the fruit is just the right size for little hands, making them a perfect kid-friendly, go-to treat.
These tiny beauties are super crunchy, very sweet, juicy, and full of flavor. Sweeter than Honeycrisp with a slight hint of tartness, you will be gobbling them up a few at a time. There is nothing better than a sweet, crisp apple plucked and eaten right from the tree.
Looking to buy a Pixie Crunch apple tree? Check availability. Here too.
The Pixie Crunch Apple Story
The Pixie Crunch is a hybrid apple that was developed by the Purdue, Rutgers, Illinois Co Op, Apple Breeding Program. This little gem was introduced to the United States market in 1993.
Pixie Crunch is trademarked by Purdue University, so grafting is a violation of that trademark. However, enjoying these flavorful apples are your reward for growing this crunchy apple treat.
The Pixie Crunch apple (Malus domestica “‘Co-op 33’) is a cross between non-named, numbered varieties but proudly represents the Golden Delicious and Rome apples in its lineage.
How To Grow Your Pixie Crunch Apple Tree
Pixie Crunch apple trees grow best in zones five to eight. They need full sun with well-drained soil.
Their growth habit is precocious, but a standard variety can get up to 12 to 15 feet tall. When grown on dwarf stock, their growth is more manageable at about 10 feet.
Harvest generally begins mid-season, but the exact timing depends on your growing zone.
As you will learn later, they are prone to Cedar Apple Rust, which can be prevented by six hours of daily direct, full sun, particularly morning sun, and good air circulation.
Your Pixie Crunch apple tree will reward you with a sweet flavor and delightful little apple bites within two to three years. Time to jump on the apple season bandwagon with a little backyard horticulture for fun and deliciousness!
Check out my guide to planting apple trees for more guidance!
Landscaping With Your Pixie Apple Tree
The Pixie Crunch apple tree lends itself to multiple landscaping options in your home orchard or garden. With varying tree heights and wide adaptability, you should really consider planting several of these fruit trees!
Used as an edible ornamental plant, they work beautifully as an accent tree. They can be used either as a centerpiece in your garden landscape or a stand-alone in your yard. They make a thick, green scape barrier plant along your property line as a living fence.
Espaliered along a fence or garden border, these fruit trees provide a pretty backdrop. Alternatively, consider using the Pixie Crunch as a specimen plant marking the entry to your fruit tree orchard.
The Pixie Crunch is sold as a standard and dwarf specimen. Since they are not prone to messy fruit drops, the dwarf variety is perfect to plant in a container. A 20-gallon or more container will be a good home for your Pixie Crunch apple tree.
To get the most out of your apple trees, some pruning is required. Pruning helps to keep your trees’ growth in check, increases air circulation, sun exposure, and wards off disease, which in turn, produces a larger harvest.
Prune at different times of year for optimum plant control. During mid-summer, you should prune mature trees for height control. You can keep your Pixie Crunch apple tree at around six to seven feet tall for easy handpicking. At that height, many people can harvest without hauling out a ladder.
Prune in late winter to shape your tree and wrestle its growth rate into submission. This is the best time to shape apple trees by pruning cross branches, opening up the interior of the tree, and corralling the shape of this vigorous grower.
Pixie Crunch apple trees have a tendency toward a spreading habitat punctuated with leggy branching. Ruthless pruning will encourage healthy new growth! For more information on pruning apple trees, read my comprehensive pruning guide.
Apple Tree Pollination
Your Pixie Crunch apple tree requires another tree for pollination. As a part of pollination group 4, it’s not a self-pollinator. It is, however, pollination friendly.
Good options for cross-pollination include Liberty, Gala, Golden Delicious, and Red Delicious varieties.
Please note, that the Pixie Crunch apple tree has biennial tendencies if over-cropped!
Mulching Your Apple Trees
Apple trees love well-drained soil, but need to keep their roots cool. Mulching is the perfect solution.
Select a trusted organic mulch brand. Organic mulch mimics the natural environment and provides your fruit tree with a healthy base. Avoid mulches that are treated with chemicals that may end up damaging your trees.
Lay your mulch about two to four inches thick around the base of the tree with a three-foot ring out from the main trunk. Take good care to keep the mulch out of direct contact with the tree trunk. Leave several inches of space between the trunk and the mulch to avoid tree rot.
Learn more about how to create the best soil for apple trees.
Apple Tree Pests and Diseases
The Pixie Crunch is a modern, disease-resistant apple tree.
It offers excellent resistance to scab, and a good general disease resistance to fireblight and mildew.
Cedar Apple Rust, however, can be a troublesome issue. Organic solutions include using a fungicide like Bonide 811 Copper Fungicide. In addition to fighting off apple rust, this organic fungicide will protect against powdery mildew, too.
Learn more about diagnosing and preventing apple tree pests and diseases.
Health Benefits Of Eating Apples
Why do you see farmer’s markets popping up in every city and town? Because we know the benefits of eating fresh, local, and seasonal produce. Growing our own fruit trees gives us control over pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers that many mega fruit producers need to use to ensure a bumper crop.
Besides, there is nothing like the flavor of a fresh picked apple!
The best way to control what you eat is to grow it yourself. Growing apple trees takes a little bit of time and practice, but the rewards come back exponentially.
The health benefits of eating apples can include:
- Supporting Weight Control
- Reducing Acid Reflux
- Fighting Asthma
- Protecting Your Pancreas
- Supporting Cardiovascular Health
- Boosting Your Immune System
- Maintaining a Healthy Gut
- Reducing the Risk of Cancer
- Reducing the Risk of Osteoporosis
An apple a day, keeps the doctor away. Old adages are sometimes actually pretty accurate!
Eating an apple like the Pixie Crunch where the natural sugar satisfies your sweet tooth, you can cut out adding extra refined white sugar to your diet.
Consider adding an apple to your daily menu for a healthy diet, and continue learning about the health benefits of apples.
Cooking With A Pixie Crunch Apple
The sweet little taste test winner is perfect for fresh eating straight off the tree. You will be blown away by their flavor!
Additionally, it works well in many apple recipes. The Pixie Crunch flesh becomes tender when cooked, making it a sensational baking apple. Due to its high natural sugar content, you can also use less sugar in your tried and true apple recipes and still bake a delicious dessert. Check out my favorite apple recipes!
In many areas you can begin to harvest in late August. Because of its extended harvest time, you can have freshly picked apples for your best recipes over the course of a month or two.
Another advantage of this sweet red gem is its long shelf life! You can store it in the crisper for one to two months, thereby extending the season.
Where to Buy Pixie Crunch Apple Trees
You can buy Pixie Crunch apple trees online. Check availability at the following online nurseries:
Don’t forget to purchase a cross-pollinator like a Gala Apple Tree.
Get Your Apple Orchard Started Today
The Pixie Crunch apple tree is an excellent variety for first-time fruit tree growers.
Excited for more apple content? Visit my apple trees page to learn more about apple planting, growing, picking, cooking, and more!
Friday 14th of October 2022
FYI, Co-op 33 (Pixie Crunch) is no longer under patent and grafting is legal. The name may be trademarked so it might not be legal to sell the apple as Pixie Crunch (not sure) but for non-commercial purposes grafting has been okay since 2021 as far as I understand. https://patents.google.com/patent/USPP13871P2/en
Saturday 15th of October 2022
Thanks for the info Mike.
Monday 8th of March 2021
Want to buy a dwarf pixie crunch apple tree in Illinois or it can be shipped to Illinois I'm not particular every place I called are out of the dwarfs but if I have to spread it I don't want to tall one I'd rather get the spray on the tree and not all over me if you get my drift
Sunday 14th of March 2021
Bob - I noticed that Orange Pippin has it in stock on a G.890 (similar to M.7) or G.935 (similar to M.26) rootstock: https://www.orangepippintrees.com/trees/apple-trees/pixie-crunch