How to Grow a Honeycrisp Apple Tree


Developed in 1962 as a cross between the Macoun and Honeygold apples, the Honeycrisp apple features mottled red and yellow skin and creamy flesh. The apples store well and are capable of retaining their flavor for up to six months of cold storage. Gardeners can purchase a Honeycrisp apple tree from their local nursery; these apples are trademarked and cannot be propagated by seed. Plant your apple tree in the spring and begin pruning immediately for best growth.

Step 1

Plant a Honeycrisp apple sapling in the spring. Choose a full sun location where the tree has room to mature; don't locate it too close to the house or a fence. Dig a hole twice as wide as the plant's root ball and just as deep as the root ball. Pull your sapling from its container. Unwind tangled roots before planting. Then place the sapling in the hole, cover over the hole with dirt and water the young tree until the ground becomes saturated.

Step 2

Cut the tree back to a total height of 24 to 28 inches immediately after planting using the anvil pruners.

Step 3

Mulch the base of the tree with two to three inches of mulch. Lay the mulch in a 2-foot circle around the tree's trunk.

Step 4

Soak the apple tree weekly until the tree receives one inch of water. If you're not sure how to do this, turn your hose on a low setting and place it in a bucket. Then time how long it takes for the hose to produce one inch of water in the bucket. Soak your apple tree with the hose on that setting for that amount of time.

Step 5

Fertilize the tree one month after planting if it has grown six inches. Scatter 1 cup of 21-0-0 fertilizer around the base of the tree in a 2-foot circle, then water the ground to work the fertilizer in. Repeat this fertilizer application twice more the first year, in May and again in June.

Step 6

Prune the tree the winter after planting to develop its structure. Choose three to four strong-looking limbs that grow outward and upward at a 60 to 90 degree angle with the trunk. These will become your scaffold or leading fruiting limbs. Remove all other limbs except for the scaffolds. Cut off suckers (branches growing from the base) growing from the Honeycrisp tree trunk.

Step 7

Fertilize the tree during the second year with 21-0-0 fertilizer again. Use 1 cup of fertilizer scattered around the trunk in March, April, May and June. During the third and fourth years increase this to 2 cups each time and then 3 cups.

Step 8

Continue to prune the tree annually to develop a strong structure. Remove competing limbs so the scaffolds can grow and always cut off suckers. Trim the scaffold limbs back by six inches to promote branching. Remove thin growth that emerges from the scaffolds and grows vertically since this produces shade.

Things You'll Need

  • Honeycrisp apple sapling
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Anvil pruners
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer (21-0-0)


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Honeycrisp Apple
  • Ohio State University: Growing Apples in the Home Garden
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Home Fruit Production: Apples
Keywords: prune apple tree, grow apple tree, water apple tree, honeycrisp apple

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.