Skip to Content

The Wolf River Apple Tree

The Wolf River Apple tree grows in the state of Wisconsin and is well-known throughout that state for its culinary potential. The apple has a mild flavor as well as a gigantic size and the tree is just as imposing as the fruit. It’s truly a statement piece of an orchard as well as any home garden.

Large red and green apple that closely resembles the fruit from the Wolf River Apple tree.

The Wolf River apple is an incredibly interesting fruit. If you’re ready to be the leader of the pack when it comes to the local gardening scene, keep reading about what the Wolf River Apple can offer you and your family. 

History of the Wolf River Apple Tree

The Wolf River Apple tree has one of the coolest names out of all of the apple trees. If you’re looking for an exciting apple that readily grows in most American climates, this one’s for you. Not only is a Wolf River Apple an exciting fruit tree, it also has an interesting history.

The Wolf River Apple dates back to 1875. This exciting apple hails from the great state of Wisconsin. These apples grew in the valley created by the Wolf River, which earned them their name.

Sunny day view of the blue water and green forest along the banks of the Wolf River in Wisconsin.
The Wolf River in Wisconsin.

Now let’s talk about some Wolf River Apple characteristics.

Wolf River Apple Characteristics

The first thing everyone notices about the Wolf River apple is how large this fruit can be. Wolf River apples typically grow up to 5 inches in diameter and can weigh over one pound each. These are some pretty hefty apples! They also have a beautiful red and green coloration that can’t be beat.

Apple tree branches with two large red and green apples that closely resemble the fruit from a Wolf River Apple tree.

The Wolf River apple tree comes in both regular and dwarf varieties. The regular variety can reach over 20 ft in height while the dwarf trees typically stick around 12 feet. These trees have beautiful and fragrant white flowers and make great choices for your home garden.

Planting Zones 

Our guide for planting apples can give you everything you need to know when it comes to becoming a master orchardist and provide some quick tips to get you up to speed.

The Wolf River Apple tree can handle virtually every climate in North America. This apple tree grows in zones 3 through 9. This means that only extremely southern, tropical, and desert environments are not suitable for growing it.

Size and Spacing

We had teased about sizing and spacing earlier when we talked about how big this tree can get. If you’re dealing with a full size Wolf River Apple tree, you can expect a spread of up to 20 ft. Dwarf Wolf River Apple trees have more modest spreads of up to 15 ft. This means that the amount of spacing you’ll need to give this tree depends on which variety you’re planting.

Make sure to give these trees between 12 and over 20 ft of space between themselves and their neighboring trees. This will ensure that they don’t overcrowd each other once they’re fully grown.


You’re going to need some pollinators to go with your Wolf River Apples trees. We recommend McIntosh, Granny Smith, Fuji, or Pink Lady, just to name a few.

Closeup of a pinkish white apple blossom closely resembling the blossoms of a Wolf River Apple tree.
Apple blossoms.

Wolf River Apple Tree Care

Now that you’re ready to start your Wolf River Apple empire, we can get you up to speed with taking care of these trees.


The Wolf River Apple tree loves to lounge in sunlight. This is a full sun tree. This means that you want to plant this and a part of your garden or yard where it will get exposed to sunlight all day long.

If part of your Wolf River apple tree is covered by shade, you can wind up having to deal with bald patches or an imbalance harvest.


Wolf River Apple trees need to get a healthy amount of water when you first plant them. They rely on adequate hydration in order to get properly set up in your yard, orchard, or garden.

After these trees have become established, they do best in slightly drier environments and require low moisture amounts.


Our in-depth guide to pruning apple trees will give you all the information you need to keep Wolf River Apple trees in great shape all year long. Here’s a quick rundown of the basics of pruning the Wolf River Apple.

These trees should be pruned in late winter or early spring just before new buds start to appear. This is the best time to handle pruning not just for an ideal shape, but also for an ideal harvest. Pruning throughout the year also helps you manage any damaged section of your tree as well as help promote even growth.

Diseases & Care 

There are countless varieties of mold, mildew, and bacterial infection that can harm your Wolf River apple tree. Our full guide on apple tree disease and care will give you all of the information that you need to keep your trees happy and healthy.

Suffice it to say that if you notice any patches of fungus or areas of your tree that are starting to look a little sickly, you need to identify the root cause of the problem and treat it quickly.


As with fungi and bacterial infections, pests are an apple tree problem that is best taken care of before it starts. Whether you’re regularly spraying your Wolf River apple tree to prevent pests from taking hold or you’re taking more organic approaches, you can keep your Wolf River apple tree pests free.

Common Uses For The Wolf River Apple

The Wolf River apple is one of Wisconsin’s most famous fruits and is widely popular throughout the state. The Wolf River apple tree is probably the single greatest apple in all of the world for one particular culinary use. Keep reading to find out what it is.

What Does The Wolf River Apple Taste Like?

The Wolf River apple has a mild taste. It’s known for the subtlety and complexity of its flavors. This is a mildly sweet and juicy apple with just a little bit of spice and tartness. While this might sound a little bit underwhelming when compared to more loud and outstanding apples, this does make it one of the best apples for cooking.


Owing to the inherent mildness of its flavor, the Wolf River apple is a great choice for a wide range of cooking options. It also holds its shape very well. If you’re planning to cook this fruit and you want to retain any kind of apple cut shape, this is a great choice for your recipe.

Let’s take a look at a few specific examples of how you can prepare this apple.

Eating raw

If you’re traveling through Wisconsin during October, it’s common to see Wolf River apples for sale. While these apples might be pretty huge, they are great to eat out of hand. Their mild flavor makes them a great choice for eating raw. Their large size also makes them a fairly filling snack.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

Here’s where the Wolf River Apple surpasses pretty much any other apple. If you are willing to use a Crock-Pot or other slow cooking method, what you’ve got in your hands right now is probably the single best apple for cooking apple butter. Apple butter can be canned and preserved for the coming seasons. The Wolf River apple is also a great choice for drying. 

Closeup of apple chips baking in an oven.
Oven Baked Apple Chips (click for the recipe).

Wolf River Apple Recipes That Will Have You Howling!

We bet your mouth is watering now that we teased you.

This apple is possibly the single greatest choice for making apple butter! You can try using Wolf River apples in this Apple Butter recipe. If you want to wow friends and family, start growing Wolf River Apples and canning your own apple butter.

Health Benefits of the Wolf River Apple

While one apple a day can keep a doctor away, the gigantic Wolf River Apple might be able to keep the doctor away for much longer than a single day.

Apples are packed full of nutrients and have tons of other health benefits. They’re rich in fiber which helps boost digestive health.

Apples also make a great alternative to more processed snacks that are full of chemicals and lack any nutritional value. Whether you’re cooking with a Wolf River apple or snacking on it raw, it makes a great way to boost the overall nutrition density of your meals.

Where To Buy The Wolf River Apple Tree

Nature Hills Nursery Nursery is your first go-to if you’re looking to buy a Wolf River Apple tree. They sell Wolf River Apples that are ready to be planted in your home garden or budding orchard. There are also other online retailers that sell these trees.

Red and Green Apples on apple trees that resemble the Wolf River Apple tree.

If you’re looking to acquire your Wolf River Apple tree in the more old-school approach, you can also cruise through Wisconsin and find local greenhouses and retailers that sell Wolf River Apple trees all year long.

Where To Buy a Wolf River Apple 

The Wolf River apple is still something of a regional specialty. If you’re looking to buy some Wolf River apples and try them out before you plant the tree, you should consider taking a road trip through scenic Wisconsin. You’ll get to see some of America’s most beautiful prairie land as well as sample Wolf River apples at their best.

If traveling through Wisconsin isn’t up your alley, you can always ask for the produce department at your local shop if they’re willing to special-order some Wolf River apples for you. If you get really lucky, you might be able to get some Wolf River apples at your local specialty produce store.

Wrapping up The Wolf River Apple Tree 

The Wolf River Apple tree is one of Wisconsin’s hidden gems. This apple is still building its reputation. While it’s known throughout the state of Wisconsin as being the best apple in the world when it comes to making apple butter, the rest of North America is still waking up to the Wolf River Apple charms.

You can plant a Wolf River Apple tree in your yard today and get ahead of this culinary and ornamental curve.

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


Monday 26th of September 2022

I couldn’t find where it tells you how cold it can get before you have to pick your Wolf River apple.


Tuesday 27th of September 2022

You just don't want them to freeze before picking.