How to Plant Macintosh Apple Trees


McIntosh apple trees are grown in many parts of the country. They do best in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 7. If you started at Virginia and drew a line east to west, you can plant McIntosh in all areas north of that line. This apple variety is very popular because the trees are hardy and productive. The fruit is known for making yummy applesauce. McIntosh apples have a thin, red peel and white flesh, streaked with pink. They ripen in September.

Step 1

Buy a healthy McIntosh apple tree from a nursery. Choose one that is 1 year old and between 4 and 6 feet tall. Check the roots to make sure that they are healthy. Snip off any damaged roots with sharp pruning shears.

Step 2

Soak the roots in water if they've dried out since purchasing the tree. Keep them in water for 24 hours.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is twice the diameter of the apple tree and 2 feet deep. Use the nursery container as a judge when determining exact size. Use the sharp edge of the shovel to loosen the dirt on the bottom and sides of the hole, to give the roots an easier time spreading.

Step 4

Set the McIntosh apple tree in the hole and make sure that it sits at least 2 inches above the surrounding ground. You don't want the graft under the soil because it may form another set of roots.

Step 5

Add soil to the bottom of the hole if you need to boost up the tree in height. Pack it down and place the tree back on top of it.

Step 6

Spread the roots out to encourage growth. Fill the hole with 2/3 of the removed soil. Press it down to eliminate air pockets. Water the tree then fill in the rest of the soil. Tamp it down once the hole is full.

Step 7

Lay down a layer of mulch to protect the tree from weeds and help retain moisture. Put the mulch down in a 3-foot circle, starting about 6 inches from the McIntosh apple tree trunk and working your way out from there.

Step 8

Put gravel in the 6-inch mulch-free zone to keep rodents away from the McIntosh apple tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never fertilize McIntosh apple trees when you plant them because you can burn the roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Tree
  • Pruning shears
  • Water
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Gravel


  • About Apple Trees: About Apple Trees
  • Willis Orchards: McIntosh Apple Tree
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Apple Trees in the Home Garden
Keywords: apple trees, plant macintosh, macintosh apples

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.