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The SnowSweet Apple Tree

The SnowSweet Apple tree is an extremely new cultivar by industry standards (introduced in early 2006) that is growing in popularity around the United States. This apple tree is renowned for its remarkable fruit with a unique flavor that sets it apart from other varieties. It’s an aesthetically appealing tree with gorgeous fruits that stand up to cold temperatures better than most other apple cultivars. 

Closeup of an apple tree branch with round red apples that are similar to the fruit of a SnowSweet Apple tree

SnowSweet Apple trees grow in an open, drooping arrangement. Modestly vigorous growth produces blooms in mid-season that turn into outstanding oblong fruits . Grown best in the colder climates of the northern United States and Canada, the SnowSweet is a hardy plant that performs well and produces delicious fruit.

These trees grow in an open, drooping shape with moderate vigor. They can be grown as far north as USDA hardiness zone 4, thriving in these cooler northern climates in the U.S. and Canada. 

History of the SnowSweet Apple Tree 

The SnowSweet Apple tree was developed at the University of Minnesota by crossing Connell Red with Sharon cultivars. The cultivar was finalized in 2006, it is the latest in a long line of apple hybrids that breeders began in the late 19th century. Its closely related cultivars include Fireside, Honeygold, Haralson, Sweet 16, Regent, Zestar, and Honeycrisp.  The Connell Red, a bud sport of the Fireside, originated with Tom Connell of Connell Orchards outside Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

SnowSweet Apple Tree And Fruit Characteristics 

SnowSweet apples are oblong fruits with a mostly bronzed red blush. The fruit’s texture is firm and fine with a crisp crunch. Its flavor is a rich sweet, buttery flavor with a bit of tartness to balance it out. The flesh’s fruit is slower to oxidize than many varieties, so it can last a bit longer when raw.

The fruit is high quality and stands up to cold weather just as the tree does. Since the flesh is so slow to oxidize, SnowSweet apples are fantastic for fruit salads and other raw culinary applications.

The SnowSweet tree grows up to 5 meters (about 15 feet) tall and approximately the same spread. Trees bloom full of gorgeous aromatic white flowers in early to mid May. Fruit ripens a few weeks later than similar varieties such as Honeycrisp, by mid-September. Fruits adhere well to the tree and tend not to be overly small or large.

Closeup of white apple blossoms, similar to those of the SnowSweet Apple tree

Planting Zones

SnowSweet Apple trees are the perfect apple for colder climates. They thrive in USDA zones 4 through 7. They are cold-hardy to zone 4 and resistant to late freezes. 

To learn more about how to plant and grow the SnowSweet Apple tree, follow this link.

Size And Spacing 

The SnowSweet Apple tree reaches a height of about 15 feet at full maturity. Its canopy spreads 15 feet, so it should be planted at least this far away from any other trees or structures. This ensures that the tree can spread its roots and branches to get the most nutrients from the sun and soil. As a general rule of thumb, plant standard-sized apple trees between 12 and 15 feet apart. 

Pollination 

The SnowSweet Apple tree is not self-pollinating, which means it must be cross-pollinated with another apple variety. Most gardeners prefer another sweet apple variety, with Honeycrisp being a good choice. 

Other good choices include: crabapples, Cortland, Elstar, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Ginger Gold, and Golden Russet. 

Orchard of Empire Apple trees -- good pollinators to plant with the SnowSweet Apple tree
Empire Apple trees — a good pollinator to plant with the SnowSweet Apple tree.

Tree Care 

The most tricky part of caring for the SnowSweet Apple tree is establishing it in your garden. After the first few years, it needs much less regular care. You won’t need to fertilize in the first year. As the tree matures, only fertilize once annually if you notice signs that it is struggling to bear.

Sunlight 

The SnowSweet Apple tree should be planted in full sun, which means it needs at least six hours of sunlight every day. Bear this in mind when planting and make sure to give the tree enough space, keeping it far enough away from other trees and structures. This will ensure that the canopy has unfettered access to the sun.

Watering 

The SnowSweet Apple tree has very minimal watering needs. The tree prefers well-draining, loamy soil. In general, as long as you live in an area that averages an inch of rain every 10 days or so, you shouldn’t need to water any more. If you notice the roots getting dry, you can water lightly, but make sure not to drown the root system. 

Pruning 

SnowSweet Apple trees require annual pruning for best results. Pruning promotes improved light penetration throughout the tree’s canopy, necessary for prime fruit production. Plus, pruning carefully helps maintain proper airflow through the canopy to preserve fruit’s color and flavor, as well as prevent rotting and disease.

Learn more about pruning the SnowSweet Apple Tree here.

Diseases And Care 

SnowSweet Apple trees are more resistant to both scab and fire blight than many other varieties. It is still necessary to watch out for both, but many growers appreciate the SnowSweet Apple’s above-average resistance. This is especially helpful since apple trees can be more susceptible to disease than other fruit tree varieties. 

Check the tree regularly for signs of disease so that you can act promptly to correct them. Many gardeners prefer to treat the tree with fungicide preventively at the start of the grow season, which can keep the tree from becoming infected. 

Pests

Apple trees can be a big target for pests, and the SnowSweet Apple tree is no exception. Common pests include aphids, mites, and Japanese beetles. To get ahead of any potential infestation, spray with a commercial pesticide at the start of the grow season. Alternatively, you can use fruit bags to protect the fruit on the tree. 

Check for pests regularly and act if you notice any signs of an infestation. You may also want to set a tree trap, depending on the type of pest you are fighting.

What Are The Signs of a Pest Infestation? 

It is important to check your tree regularly for signs of disease or infestation. Learning to recognize the types of pests can also help you formulate an attack plan. 

Common signs of an infestation include pitted fruit, brown or black patches on leaves, withered or yellow foliage, or clumps of woolly-looking material on the branches.

Sometimes you might see the pests themselves, especially larger ones like slugs. If you spot them, you can simply remove them manually. However, in most cases, spotting pests is about learning the signs of a sick tree and knowing how to treat it.

Common Uses For The SnowSweet Apple

There are many ways to enjoy the SnowSweet apple, both fresh and preserved. Because of its sweet natural crispness and flesh that stays fresh even when cut, it is usually used for raw dishes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add it to cooked dishes like pies, bread, applesauce, and more.

Shiny red apples on a wooden table that closely resemble the fruit of a SnowSweet Apple tree

What Does The SnowSweet Apple Taste Like? 

The SnowSweet apple has a uniquely sweet and crisp taste with just a hint of tartness. Some people describe the taste as being slightly buttery, which adds to its one-of-a-kind flavor profile. This delicious apple is good enough to enjoy right off the tree. 

Cooking 

The SnowSweet apple makes a wonderful apple for cooking and baking as well. Because it has a crisp skin, it holds up well while cooking, rather than turning to mush like many softer varieties. Bear in mind that apples release more sugars and become sweeter when cooked, which is why tart apples like Granny Smith are usually preferred for baked goods like pies or cakes. 

Despite this, the SnowSweet apple can be a delicious choice for both savory and sweet cooking. 

Eating Raw 

The SnowSweet apple is most often eaten raw. It is such a delicious treat in and of itself that it really needs no alterations! Because it stays fresh and appetizing in appearance for several hours even after slicing, it is an ideal choice for fruit salads and other fresh dishes. 

Canning/Freezing/Drying 

The SnowSweet Apple’s firm, crisp flesh stands up well to canning, freezing, or drying. Canning or preserving is a great way to enjoy the apple for years to come. You can also try your hand at making jam, jelly, or many other kinds of preserves. Homemade applesauce is also a popular way to enjoy this apple variety.

Drying is a great choice for these apples. If you have a home dehydrator, it is simple to do. Apple chips are a healthy choice all on their own, but you can also add them to salad, trail mix, bread, and more. 

You might not think you can freeze apples, but it is possible! Freeze either whole or in slices to enjoy for many months to come. 

Recipes

There are tons of great recipes in which you can use the SnowSweet apple. Try your hand at a classic Apple Crisp, Apple Waffles, or Savory Apple Onion Tart

Apple Bread Pudding -- a good recipe choice for SnowSweet apples
Apple Bread Pudding With Bourbon Caramel (click for the recipe).

Health Benefits of that Fruit  

Like many other apples, the SnowSweet apple is a healthy fruit full of fiber and moisture. Because of this, it is a great way to improve digestive health. SnowSweet apples also contain many important vitamins, including vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, manganese, and copper.

You can learn more about the health benefits of the SnowSweet apple here.

Where To Buy The SnowSweet Apple Tree

You can buy the SnowSweet apple tree from commercial growers like Nature Hills

Where To Buy The Fruit 

Because the SnowSweet apple is still fairly young, it can only be grown by licensed growers. Because of this, you might have a hard time finding it in your area. If you live in Minnesota or a nearby state, you may have an easier time getting your hands on this delicious apple. 

Wrapping up The SnowSweet Apple Tree

The SnowSweet apple is a delicious cultivar that is unlike any other. Despite its extreme youth by industry standards, the SnowSweet has already rooted itself deep within the apple market. If you ever get the chance to try this delicious apple variety, don’t pass it up. 

The best way to do that might just be to plant this apple variety in your own garden. If you live in a cold climate and are looking for a hardy, frost- and disease-resistant apple, this SnowSweet Apple tree could be a perfect choice for you.

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