Kinds of Apple Trees

Adding an apple tree or two to your landscaping will give you year-long value. You will be ecstatic with the vision of summer blossoms. In the fall you will have the joy of fresh apples for cooking, baking or just eating, picked right off the tree. If you don't have a great deal of room in your yard, choose dwarf varieties of apple trees. Many of the standard-size trees have been bred to smaller sizes.

Golden Delicious

Because the word "delicious" is shared by the Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples, many believed the two are nearly the same. However, their only relation is that they are both in the apple tree family. The Golden Delicious has a mild, juicy texture with a sweet flavor. The light-yellow skin is thin, making it easy to eat fresh. The Golden Delicious is good for eating and cooking. The mature Golden Delicious tree grows to a height of 12 to 20 feet. Most apple trees are self-incompatible, meaning that they need an additional different variety of apple tree to be pollinated. Good choices for cross-pollination for the Golden Delicious are Red Delicious, Empire or Gala. Not overly particular about soil, this apple tree can withstand many conditions except for a very clay soil or an area where water pools and stays at the roots. The Golden Delicious grows best in USDA zones 5 through 8.

Granny Smith

This is the apple for you if you enjoy a tart flavor. It is good for eating fresh or cooking. Most beneficial is that it has a long shelf life. The Granny Smith is harvested in late September and early October. Make sure it has full sun, especially in the morning so the dew on the fruit will dry quickly. This tree grows best in USDA hardiness zones 6, 7 and 8. The Granny Smith can be pollinated by most other apple tree varieties with good success. Growing 12 to 16 feet, it has a spread of up to 14 feet at maturity.

Gala

The Gala apple originates from New Zealand, where it was named after the visiting Queen Elizabeth II. The color of this apple varies from striped to cream to red. It is a crisp, sweet-eating apple. Harvested in mid-July, it is considered an early- to mid-season apple. A Golden Delicious apple tree is a good choice as a cross-pollinator for the Gala. This tree grows best in USDA plant zones 5 through 8. It will grow to a height of 12 to 16 feet with a spread of 12 to 14 feet at maturity. It is considered one of the easiest apple trees to grow and can be cross-pollinated by almost any other apple variety. As with most apple trees, the Gala prefers full sun.

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