The Best Apple Trees to Plant at Home

Apple trees (Malus) are fruiting trees in the rose family (Rosaceae). Most apple tree varieties prefer well-drained, slightly acidic planting sites that receive full sun. Apple trees tend to be susceptible to powdery mildew, leaf spot, fire blight, apple scab and cedar apple rust. Home growers should consider the bloom time, fruit ripening time, fruit color, tree size and disease resistance when selecting an apple tree for a home orchard.

Empire

Empire apple trees are semi-dwarf varieties that reach 12 to 15 feet in height and have similar spreads. Hardy in USDA zones 4 to 7, this apple tree blooms white to pink flowers in April. The dark red and green, medium-sized apples typically ripen in mid-September. The Empire apple variety is resistant to rust and fire blight.

Stark Golden Delicious

The Stark Golden Delicious tree is a standard apple variety that reaches up to 25 feet high and 25 feet wide. White blossoms bloom in April and the sweet, yellow apples ripen in September. This cultivar often suffers from powdery mildew, fire blight and apple scab. It is extremely vulnerable to cedar apple rust pathogens. Stark Golden Delicious apple trees grow well in USDA zones 5 to 8.

Braeburn

Braeburn apple trees are semi-dwarf fruiting trees that thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8. This cultivar reaches up to 15 feet in height with a 12-to-15 foot spread. Braeburn trees bloom white blossoms in May. The large, light red and green apples ripen about mid-October. Braeburn trees are extremely susceptible to fire blight.

Liberty

The Liberty apple tree is a dwarf varieties that thrives in USDA zones 5 to 8. These fruiting trees reach about 10 feet tall with similar spreads. White blossoms appear in May and the fruit generally ripens early in September. Liberty apples are red, sweet and juicy. This cultivar is resistant to fire blight, cedar apple rust, powdery mildew and apple scab.

Jonafree

Jonafree cultivars typically grow well in USDA zones 5 to 9. This semi-dwarf variety typically grows from 12 to 15 feet in height with a similar spread. Jonafree trees bloom in May with white blossoms. The red and yellow apples mature in September. The small-to-medium sized fruit has a slightly tart flavor. Jonafree apple tree varieties are vulnerable to powdery mildew, but are typically resistant to apple scab, cedar apple rust and fire blight.

Jonagold

Jonagold apple trees are the result of breeding a Golden Delicious tree with a Jonathan apple tree. Jonagold trees are semi-dwarf varieties that reach from 12 to 15 feet in height with similar spreads. Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8, this tree bears white blossoms in May and large, yellow and red apples in mid-September. Jonagold apple trees are highly susceptible to fire blight, cedar apple rust, apple scab and powdery mildew.

Grimes Golden

Grimes Golden apple trees were named after Thomas Grimes, the man who first spotted this variety back in the early 1800s. This standard apple tree variety grows up to 25 feet high with 20-foot spreads. Hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8, this sun-loving tree features white blossoms in April. The yellow apples ripen in September and October and feature a distinctive sweet-yet-tart flavor. While the Grimes Golden apple trees often suffers from collar rot, they tend to be resistant to powdery mildew, fire blight, apple scab and cedar apple rust.

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About this Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like eHow.com and GardenGuides.com, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.