Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Grow Red Delicious Apple Trees

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

Red Delicious apples are America's favorite red apple, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. The fruit is crisp, tender and juicy, with a mild flavor. The trees grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8. Having them in your backyard ensures you endless supplies of fresh fruit for months at a time. Red Delicious apple trees are hardy and will thrive if planted correctly.

Buy a red delicious apple tree sapling that is 1 year old and between 4 and 6 feet tall. Check it over to make sure the roots look healthy. Smaller trees are easier to plant, so this is the ideal size.

Plan to plant the apple trees between late fall and early spring. Fill a container with water 24 hours before planting. Soak the sapling's roots for 1 day if they seem dry.

Choose a planting location that gets at least six to eight hours of sunlight every day. Red delicious grow well in acidic, moist or well-drained soil. The apple trees can grow between 10 and 25 feet high, so check to make sure there is nothing overhead it will someday hit.

Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the sapling's root ball, and 2 feet deep. Add 1 to 2 inches of loose soil to the bottom of the planting hole.

Scrape the sides of the hole with the sharp edge of your shovel. Loosening the soil will allow the roots to grow and expand better.

Center the sapling in the hole and spread out the roots by hand. Be careful not to rip them. Make sure they are not crowded or tangled. If they are, make the hole even wider until they have sufficient space to lie flat.

Backfill the hole with the removed dirt. Press it down to eliminate air pockets as you fill it back in. There is no need to enhance the soil with fertilizer. The food can over-nourish a young red delicious tree.

Stick at least one tree stake into the ground next to the base of the Red Delicious apple tree. It should be parallel to the trunk. Secure it to the tree with wire or rope. This will give the tree support and help it grow straight up. It's best to use two or three stakes, spaced evenly around the tree.

Water the soil until it is moist several inches down. This will break up any air pockets that remain and get the stimulate the roots.


Things You Will Need

  • Tree sapling
  • Water
  • Container
  • Shovel
  • Tree stakes
  • Rope or wire


  • Plant red delicious trees 10 to 25 feet apart because they have a wide spread.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.