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The Stayman Apple Tree

If you’re a fan of growing heirloom fruit trees, you have probably heard of the Stayman Apple tree. However, if you’ve just discovered this wonderful tree, you’re in for a treat if you decide to grow it. Stayman Apple trees can become very large, so they’re incredible landscape trees, but they’re equally prized for their delicious fruit.

Apples growing on the branch of a Stayman Apple tree.
Stayman apples.

Stayman Apple trees date back to the 19th century and are prized by home cooks and chefs as delicious cooking apples. For more than a century, people have been devoted to these tasty apples. Let’s dive in and learn all about the wondrous Stayman Apple tree.

History of the Stayman Apple Tree

The Stayman Apple tree was developed by Joseph Stayman in Leavenworth County, Kansas in 1866. As early as 1895, Stayman Apple trees were being sold in nurseries and they remain popular apples where they’re grown.

Later, Stayman apples were marketed and promoted by Stark Brothers Nursery for their culinary value. Even though the Stayman Apple tree originated in Kansas, it is frequently associated with Virginia, where growers still grow it in orchards where visitors can go and pick their own apples.

You will sometimes see Stayman Apple trees referred to as the Stayman Winesap Apple tree because this apple tree is a milder offspring of the popular Winesap Apple. One thing that makes it a favorite is that the Stayman apple is slightly more elongated and larger than the Winesap apple.

Another variety, the Snapp Stayman Apple tree, was found growing in the orchards of a man named Alfred Snapp in Winchester, Virginia. Note that this is a different cultivar from the traditional Stayman Apple tree.

The Stayman Apple Tree Characteristics

Because Stayman Apple trees can grow to be very tall, they make excellent shade trees and add a whimsical look to any yard.

Stayman apples are medium to large in size and have a roundish-conic shape. The skin is greenish-yellow and they’re covered nearly entirely with dark red stripes, a deep red blush, and russet dots.

In the stem cavity, Stayman apples show heavy russeting. Inside they have juicy flesh that is off-white in color and finely textured. The flesh is tender but firm and you can expect a slightly tart and spicy apple that has a wine-like flavor.

Bucket of picked Stayman apples partially in view -- one of the apples has a bite taken out of it to show the flesh.  An out-of-focus orchard setting is in the background.
A bucket of Stayman apples.

One thing that makes Stayman Apple trees interesting is that they are considered to be triploid cultivars, which means that instead of having two chromosomes, they have three.

Planting Zones

Stayman Apple trees grow well in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8.

Stayman Apple trees can consistently bear fruit if there are no extreme conditions like late frosts or freezing.

For more information on growing apple trees, reference our guide: “How to Plant Apple Trees.”

Size and Spacing

The Stayman Apple tree will grow to be between 12 and 15 feet tall, and can even grow to 25 feet in ideal conditions. Their spread is also 12-15 feet, so when you plant these trees, space them accordingly.

Stayman Apple trees are slow growers. You can expect less than 12 inches per year.

Pollination

Because it is a triploid cultivar, Stayman Apple trees need other apple trees to help with pollination. To pollinate your Stayman Apple, grow it near other apple varieties, including any of the following.

Closeup of a Golden Delicious Apple on a branch.
Golden Delicious Apple tree — a good cross-pollinator for the Stayman Apple tree.

Tree Care

Proper care and planting of your Stayman Apple tree will ensure that you get the best possible harvest.

Equally important, experts recommend that you not plant apple trees near structures or taller trees that will shade them for a few hours every day. These trees need plenty of sunlight, airflow, and good drainage.

For more information, read our guide on “How to Plant Apple Trees.”

Soil

For best results, grow your Stayman Apple trees in soil that is average to loamy. This variety of apple trees responds well to soil that is enriched, and the Stayman Apple will thrive in rich, sandy, loamy soil. Having the optimal soil will ensure better production.

Most apple trees perform best when they are planted in soil that is slightly acidic. The pH range of your soil should be between 5.0 and 6.8.

Sunlight

All apple trees need full sunlight, minimally six hours every day of full sun.

Particularly, apple trees enjoy access to early morning sunlight, which is known as the drying sun. When your Stayman Apple trees get this beneficial early morning sunlight, your trees will be healthier overall.

Watering

Most apple trees need about 12-15 gallons of water per week from May through September. If you don’t get sufficient rainfall, you will need supplemental watering.

To see if your Stayman Apple tree needs watering, check the soil around your tree to a depth of about two to three inches. If the soil down to that depth is dry, your tree needs water.

Mulching

Apple trees can benefit from mulching, particularly if you live in an area that sometimes doesn’t have enough rainfall. A good mulch will help to hold moisture in and keep the tree’s root system cool during warmer months.

To mulch your Stayman Apple trees, spread a layer of mulch to a depth of between three to four inches and spread it out about three feet from the edge of the tree’s canopy.

Pruning

Apple trees should be pruned to ensure that there is sufficient air movement throughout all the branches. The Stayman Apple tree grows upright in a round or oval shape, but you can prune it to create a more horizontal spreading shape.

Semi-dwarf varieties of the Stayman Apple tree will need to be pruned if you want to maintain lower heights.

To learn more about pruning apple trees, read “Pruning Apple Trees: The Home Grower’s Complete Guide” on our website.

Diseases & Care

For information about disease-resistant apples you can grow at home,  reference “Disease Resistant Apple Trees” on our website.

Common Uses For Stayman Apples

Stayman apples are mostly used as dessert apples, but they’re also wonderful to add to blended cider.

What Do Stayman Apples Taste Like?

Stayman apples have juice flesh that is off-white in color . The flesh is tender but firm and you can expect a slightly tart apple that has a wine-like flavor.

Cooking

Stayman apples are widely considered to be one of the best apples for ciders, baking, and applesauce. They hold up well in cooking and are perfect for recipes that are baked.

In many cases, Stayman apples are large apples, so you will sometimes be able to create a recipe with just a few apples.

One delicious way to enjoy cooked Stayman apples is by making apple cider. Our Apple Cider Rye Cocktail is perfect for cool autumn evenings. To make this delicious rye cider, you first have to make an apple cider concentrate, which will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month. Rye whisky and oranges make this unique cocktail a hit with guests.

Eating Raw

When eaten raw, Stayman apples are delicious. You can also use Stayman apples to make hearty applesauce.

Another way to enjoy raw Stayman apples is by making a salad. Some favorites are Apple Cabbage Coleslaw or Apple Chicken Salad. Creamy and Sweet Cinnamon Apple Salad is another great recipe, and Stayman apples give a delightfully sweet/tart crunch to any green salad.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

Stayman apples keep well in cold storage.

Canning

Apple butter is a great way to preserve any type of apple. Packed in beautiful canning jars, apple butter is great to have on hand for holiday gift-giving.

For something completely unique, you can also can Spicy Apple Ginger Chutney, which is delicious when paired with meat dishes. This interesting recipe uses onions, ginger, orange juice, ground mustard, and a surprising dash of chile flakes.

Spicy Apple Ginger Chutney (click for the recipe).

Freezing

Did you know that you can freeze whole apples? If you’re pressed for time, this is a great option for getting your apples put up quickly for later use. Frozen apples are perfect for applesauce or baking.

To freeze apples whole, wash them well and put them on a cookie sheet in your freezer, making sure to leave space between the apples. Once they’re frozen solid, transfer the apples to freezer bags. Then you can pull them out one by one for use in recipes.

Alternatively, you can also freeze apple slices so that you can pull out smaller amounts of apple. The Spruce Eats has created a comprehensive guide to various apple freezing methods.

Apple Pie Filling

If you bake during the holidays, you probably love to have prepared apple pie filling available for quick pies, apple crisp, and cobblers. The process of canning apple pie filling can seem daunting, but the good news is that you can freeze up batches of apple pie filling and enjoy the same delicious “fresh apple pies” anytime.

Here’s a tip: Some spices lose their flavor when frozen, so you can add the spices just before baking.

Drying

Stayman apples are nice and firm, so they are a favorite for drying because they will hold their shape well.

Dehydrating apples is super easy and when you have dried apples on hand, you have a healthy alternative to junk food like granola bars, potato chips, and other unhealthy sugar-laden snacks.

Oven-Dried Apples

If you have a food dehydrator, you can easily dehydrate your Stayman apples. You can also use your oven to dry apples.

To make oven-baked apple chips, simply dry sliced apples in your oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour on each side. For a flavorful twist, sprinkle your apple slices with cinnamon before drying them.

Recipes for Stayman Apples

Home chefs enjoy using apples in unusual recipes like White Cheddar Stuffed Apple Pork Chops. You can also try Old Fashioned Apple Crisp that calls for delicious and hearty rolled oats, brown sugar, and apple pie spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

Other favorite recipes on our website include Caramel Stuffed Apples, Apple Dump Cake, and Apple Oatmeal Cookies.

Here are a few more ideas:

Health Benefits of the Stayman Apple

Apples of all types are nutritional powerhouses. One medium-sized Stayman apple only has about 100 calories and has zero fat, sodium, or cholesterol.

Apples are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. One apple contains about four grams of fiber, giving you 17% of the recommended daily intake.

In addition to fiber, you can also enjoy these nutrients if you eat just one apple every day.

  • Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 6% of the RDI
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B6

For more information on the many benefits of eating apples, read “10 Amazing Health Benefits of Apples.”

Where To Buy The Stayman Apple Tree

You can buy Stayman Apple trees online at Amazon and you may be able to find them at other local nurseries or online.

To grow other varieties of apples, check out the huge selection at Nature Hills Nursery.

Where To Buy Stayman Apples

You can find Stayman apples for sale at select markets, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets. Moreover, when Stayman apples are in season, you may be able to buy them in online fruit marketplaces.

A red table with a wooden box of apples labeled as Stayman apples in between a box of apples labeled "Grimes Golden Apple" and a box of apples labeled "Red Delicious Apple."
Stayman apples for sale, along with Grimes Golden and Red Delicious.

Wrapping Up the Stayman Apple Tree

When you’re looking for an ornamental tree that also produces delicious fruit, you will do well to give the Stayman Apple tree a shot. The reward will be a huge harvest of delicious fruit and a shade tree that you can sit under to grow family memories.

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