Late Blooming Apple Trees
Many areas of the country experience late spring frosts or unpredictable cold weather. This can create problems with apple blooming and pollination. Pollinators such as honey bees may not be in evidence during chilly weather, and a sudden drop in temperature when the tree is in full bloom may will eliminate the future fruit crop. Late blooming apple varieties will flower after the worst spring frosts, and many have fruit known for keeping well in storage.
'Belmac' blooms after spring frosts and ripens in mid to late September. Bright red apples resemble the popular 'McIntosh' in flavor. Fruit will keep for two to three months if stored in a cool place. This tree is amazingly disease resistant and cold hardy. It will grow in USDA zones 4 through 9.
'Honeycrisp' is fantastic for fresh eating or cooking. Fruit ripens in late September and early October. Apples can be used for fresh eating immediately, but a more complex flavor develops if they are stored or allowed to fully ripen on the tree. 'Honeycrisp' occasionally suffers from apple scab. This disease will cause minor blemishes on the fruit, but will not effect apple flavor or the health of the tree. 'Honeycrisp' will glide through winter temperatures of -40 F, and is hardy in zones 4 through 9.
'Red Boskoop' routinely escapes spring frosts and goes on to bear heavily. Fruit production will be low the first few years, until the tree is established. Apples are very large and excellent for fresh eating or cooking. It truly excels as a pie apple, with a combination of flavors that are enhanced by storage. 'Boskoop' will keep for months in a cool, dark area such as a covered porch or garage. This variety is resistant to apple scab. Hardy in zones 4 through 9.
'Queen Cox' blooms slightly earlier than most late season apples, but in many areas well after the last spring frost. Green apples streaked with gold and red ripen in September. Apples have a delicious balance of sweet and tart. 'Queen Cox' is one of the very few self-fertile apples in existence. If space in the garden is at a premium, planting two varieties for pollination can be inconvenient. 'Queen Cox' will reliably produce apples every year without another pollinator.
"Wolf River' originated in the northern United States where frigid temperatures and late frosts are the norm. This tree produces apples that are far larger than most varieties. Harvesting these crimson red fruits requires two hands, and just one is enough for a pie or a very large batch of apple sauce. Apples ripen in late September, and the flavor is excellent. Diseases are not usually a problem with this variety, and winter cold tolerance is excellent. Hardy in zones 4 through 9.
- "The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden"; Stella B. Otto; 1995