Apple trees (Malus) are common fruit-bearing plants of the Rosaceae family. Apple trees come in many varieties, so tree size, harvesting time and fruit taste varies widely. Most apple trees require a pollinator, and some types of apple trees must be pollinated by other apple trees. The crab apple tree acts a good pollinator for most types of apple trees.
Granny Smith apple trees originated in Australia around 1850. Mature Granny Smith trees stand about 12-to-16 feet tall and have a 10-to-14-foot spread. These trees grow well in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8. These winter-hardy trees need to be planted in locations that receive full sun. Granny Smith apple trees bear large, green apples with a tart and crisp flavor. These apples ripen later than other types, usually from late October until December. Granny Smith apple trees are susceptible to fire blight.
Golden Delicious apple trees were introduced around 1900 in West Virginia. This type of apple tree thrives in USDA zones 5 to 8. These trees need well-drained soil in sunny locations. Mature trees stand 18-to-25 feet in height and have an 18-to-25-foot spread. Golden Delicious apple trees bloom in the spring, and the fruit ripens in September. Golden Delicious apples are golden yellow, crisp, firm and sweet. Golden Delicious trees are vulnerable to apple scab, ceder apple rust, powdery mildew and fire blight. Potential pests include plum curculio, codling moth and aphids.
The Empire apple tree is a semi-dwarf species that grows well in USDA zones 4 to 7. Mature trees reach 15 feet high and have a 12-to-15-foot spread. Empire apple trees bear pinkish white blooms in April, and the red, medium-size apples ripen in September. This type of apple tree needs to be planted in well-drained soil in full sun. Potential problems include cedar apple rust, apple scab, powdery mildew and leaf spot. Empire apple trees also attract spider mites, borers and aphids.
Gala apple trees, also called Royal Gala, were introduced in New Zealand in 1934. This type of apple tree grows well in USDA zones 5 to 8. These trees grow up to 10 feet tall and have an 8-to-10-foot spread. The white blossoms bloom in May, and the resulting apples are firm, juicy and slightly tart. These trees do well in sunny locations with well-drained, moderately fertile soil. Potential problems include cedar apple rust, apple scab and fire blight. Pest problems often include aphids, plum curculio and maggots.
Red Fuji apple trees were introduced in Japan in 1962. Mature Red Fuji apple trees stand 8-to-15 feet tall. These high-maintenance trees need sunny locations and well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Red Fuji apples bear pinkish-white blossoms in April, with the apples ripening from October to January. The fruit has yellow-green skin with darker stripes and red flush. Red Fuji apple trees are somewhat bushy and need yearly detailed pruning. This type of apple tree is susceptible to apple scab, fire blight, cedar apple rust and aphids.
Grimes Golden apple trees were first discovered in the early 1800s in West Virginia. This type of apple tree thrives in USDA zones 4 to 8, and mature trees reach up to 25 feet in height. White blossoms appear in April, followed by apples in September and October. The medium- to large-sized yellow apples offer a tart yet sweet flavor. Grimes Golden apple trees are susceptible to collar rot, aphids and spider mites.