Despite its name, the hedge apple is actually the Osage Orange tree. This deciduous tree is native to the U.S. and grows in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5A through 9B. The tree can reach heights and spreads of 40 to 50 feet. The tree’s wood is very hard and its branches are thorny. The fruit is thick, pulpy, green, wrinkly and full of seeds. It is inedible. The tree is primarily grown for its tasty seeds.
Choose a planting site in full sun. This tree can grow in most soil conditions. It will thrive in both alkaline and acidic soils, as well as sandy and clay soils.
Dig a planting hole twice as wide and equally as deep as the tree’s root ball or planting container.
Place the tree into the planting hole. Backfill the hole with soil.
Water the tree. Plan to water every 3 to 4 weeks, as this tree is very drought tolerant.
Apply an all-purpose tree fertilizer each spring for the first four growing seasons. Follow the dosage recommendations on the label.
Prune in the spring and fall. Cut and remove dead, damaged or diseased branches.
Harvest the fruit as it becomes ripe. Harvest directly from the tree before it drops to the ground.