10 Easiest Apple Tree Varieties To Grow (Simple Growth Tips)

Ripe garden apple fruits in basket on wooden outdoor table

Apple trees can be some of the best types of trees to grow. But with more than 2,000 types of apple trees in the United States, choosing a variety can be really difficult.

Some of the easiest types of apple trees to grow include granny smith, red delicious, gala, golden delicious, cripps pink, braeburn, honeycrisp, fuji, McIntosh, and crabapple. Many apple tree varieties grow well in a number of varying climates and types of conditions, including cold temperatures.

Read on to learn about the easiest types of apple trees to grow along with some tips to help you grow your apple tree to its fullest potential. Let’s get to it!

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Getting Started Before You Plant Your Apple Tree

One very important factor that you must keep in mind when planting any apple tree is that apple trees, no matter the variety, are only able to produce apples if they are in somewhat close proximity to another type of apple tree for pollination.

The general rule is that your apple tree must be within about 100 feet of another apple tree, and it cannot be the same variety as the apple tree in question.

Crabapples, which are fairly common in many neighborhoods in the United States, count, so if there is a crabapple tree near your new apple tree, you are in luck!

We have a beautiful crab apple tree at our family home – here’s a picture of it below. It’s been here for as long as I can remember!

Img 2773

The crabapple tree is off to the right side! Now, back to what we were talking about here.

If you scope out the surroundings and do not find any other apple trees around, you will need to plant a second apple tree along with the one you had planned.

If you have the room, you can simply choose a second variety of apple tree and plant it next to your new one, or you can put it in another part of your yard or garden, as long as it is not too far away. Again, your goal is to have the trees within 100 feet of each other.

If you are short on space, you can consider downsizing one or both trees to dwarf apple trees, which are quite popular and produce fruit even faster than standard-sized apple trees. 

Whichever method you choose, keep this in mind before you start planting so you can make sure you have everything ready for your tree’s first season of bearing fruit. You can even choose two varieties from this list to make things easy on yourself. 

Some Differences Between Types Of Apple Trees

Spring background. A beautiful blooming tree in garden with a flying bee. Symbols of springtime. Concept for nature and animals.

It may seem that, when choosing an apple tree variety, you really only have to consider the type of apple it produces. After all, many people have a favorite type of apple.

Some people like the super sweet varieties and some people prefer the more sour and tart apples. Some people like their apples to have that almost mealy quality, while some people prefer their apples to be crisp.

Also, some types of apples are better in different types of baked goods than others. Many people, for example, prefer the crisp tartness of Granny Smith apples for baking apple pies, while some prefer the softer varieties of apples like Red Delicious for treats like apple butter.

If you ever have the chance, check out Snap-Dragon apples, they’re SO good!

Choosing a type of tree based on the type of apple you want to grow is certainly a great place to start, and it’s something you should keep in mind as you make your selection.

For example, different varieties of apple trees can endure varying levels of frost. Also, different varieties of apple trees can be different in how their limbs and branches are shaped or in how dense the leaves and branches are at the crown of the apple tree. 

Now onto the good stuff. We’ve rounded up 10 varieties of apple trees that are among the easiest to grow. Read on as we discuss each type, including what makes it different from other types of apple trees!

The Easiest Apple Trees To Grow In Your Yard Or Home Orchard

If you are considering planting an apple tree near your home for personal use, you probably are not as concerned with the commercial viability of the tree or trees you choose.

You ARE probably concerned with planting a tree that is easy to care for and produces delicious apples every fall. So without further-ado, here are some of the easiest apple varieties to grow at home.

If you’re interested, I recommend bookmarking our page on how to grow apples In your yard once you pick a variety!

Granny Smith Apple Trees

Green juicy organic granny smith apples. Raw fruit background. Front view. Close up.

Granny Smith is one of the most popular varieties of apple, and it is one that you will almost always find stocked in any grocery store across the United States. 

The crisp, tart apples with green peel are great alone or in pies, and the trees that produce them are among some of the most popular varieties of apple tree. Granny Smith apples are many people’s favorites because of that sour taste and crisp texture. 

The crispness of Granny Smith apples also helps them hold up well when being baked in that they don’t fall apart or become too soggy. If you plan to do a lot of baking with the harvest of your new mini orchard, this might be a perfect addition. 

Granny Smith apples are usually ready to pick and eat in the late fall, around Halloween. This is another reason to consider this variety of apple, as it is one of the later varieties in regard to the time of year it is ready for be picked. 

Red Delicious Apple Trees

Two red shiny delicious apples hanging from a tree branch in an apple orchard

The red delicious apple might be the quintessential apple. The characteristic red peel that gives this apple its name is also what makes it look like the iconic apple that is seen so much in our culture. 

What kind of apple is in practically every cartoon? They usually look a lot like a red delicious! And every illustration of an apple used to represent school days looks like that iconic bright red apple, the red delicious. 

Red delicious apples are not as crisp or as tart as Granny Smith apples, and they are quite a bit sweeter. 

There can be different strains of the same variety of apple tree, and there are at least 250 strains of red delicious apple trees.

According to the National Parks Service, there are more red delicious apples grown in the United States than any other type of apple. 

This popularity may be indicative not only of how much people like this particular type of apple, but also of how easy it is to grow red delicious apples in varying parts of the country. 

Gala Apple Trees

Royal gala red apples on a apple tree at new zealand orchard

Like Braeburn apples, Gala apples also come from New Zealand. According to Connecticut Apples, these apples are ready for harvest earlier than some other varieties, and can be picked in late September.

If you are in a hurry to harvest some apples, this variety might be a good choice because it is one of the types of apples that is ready the soonest each fall. 

Gala apples are sweet but they are also crips, so they capture some of the qualities of multiple other types of varieties, which likely contributes to their popularity. They are easy to find in grocery stores and would likely be a popular fruit for you to grow at your own home. 

Golden Delicious Apple Trees

Raw organic golden delicious apples ready to eat

Golden delicious apples may sound as though they are a different colored variety from red delicious apples, but, according to the National Parks Service, they are actually not connected to red delicious apples by anything except their name and the fact that both are types of apples. 

These apples, as their name indicates, have a golden yellow peel once they are ripe. They are sweet apples that are not very crisp. These are great apples for baking and making cider. 

Cripps Pink Apple Trees

Raw red organic pink lady apples ready to eat

Cripps Pink apples are also sometimes called Pink Lady apples.

These apples actually originated in Australia and get their name, like so many other apples, from the color of their peel, which is such a pale red that it looks pink!

Cripps pink apples are fairly tart with a touch of sweetness to their flavor, and they are great for a number of purposes, so this might be a good fit for your personal orchard. 

Braeburn Apple Trees

Sweet ripe braeburn apples ready to harvest in sunny orchard

If you find it difficult to decide between a tart apple and a sweet one, the Braeburn apple might be perfect for you. These apples are known for their combination flavor of sweet and tart. 

Braeburn apples originated in New Zealand, but now they are grown in many parts of the United States, including in backyards like yours. According to the National Parks Service, Braeburn apples first arrived in North America in 1952, and they were a hit. 

If you want a type of apple that is good to eat on its own or that also works in baked goods, apple butter, or even cider, consider the Braeburn apple for its multiple purposes. 

Honeycrisp Apple Trees

Raw red organic honeycrisp apples ready to eat

The honeycrisp apple is the state fruit of Minnesota. According to the state of Minnesota, honeycrisp apples are the produce of a project at the University of Minnesota that sought to create a new type of apple that could withstand both very cold temperatures, like those found frequently in Minnesota, and still produce great apples.

The result is the honeycrisp apple, which can now be purchased in grocery stores all over the United States.

Honeycrisp apples, true to their name, are both sweet and crisp. They ripen in the earlier part of the fall. They are generally one of the most expensive apples because they are HUGE. While the price per pound is average, the average weight of a honeycrisp apple is usually double that of normal varieties.

Fuji Apple Trees

Fuji apples in japanese orchard.

The Fuji apple, as its name implies, is actually native to Japan. Fuji apples are made in part from red delicious apples.

Fuji apples are somewhat similar to red delicious apples, and they have a sweet flavor. This might be a great choice if you want to use your fruit to make apple juice! 

McIntosh Apple Trees

Healthy organic mcintosh apples ready to eat

If you’ve ever smelled one of the most iconic fall scents from a famous candle company, you might be familiar with McIntosh apples.

McIntosh apples originated in Ontario, Canada, in the early 19th century, and they have a long harvest season because they do not all ripen at the same time, even on the same tree. 

Crabapple Trees

Crab apple tree growing at home

While this may not be the tree you choose to grow for edible fruit, it can still be a great apple tree to include in your yard or garden.

For one thing, crabapple trees are super easy to grow and they can provide that pollination that is necessary for another type of apple tree to bear edible fruit each year. 

Crabapples have a somewhat bad reputation for being non-edible, but they are actually totally edible. They are just much smaller than other apple varieties, so they usually end up discarded on the ground or eaten by wildlife like deer or squirrels. Only the actual fruit is edible.

Some Tips About Choosing Apple Trees For Extreme Climates

Some apple trees do not necessarily fall into the category of easy to grow if you live in a more extreme climate, like one that is very cold or one that is very dry.

Here are some quick tips for types of apple trees you might consider if you live in one of these types of more extreme environments.

Apple Trees Better Suited To Very Cold Climates

There are a few varieties of apple trees that will be a little easier to grow if you live in a very cold climate.

These varieties include apple trees like Beacon apples, State Fair apples, and the appropriately named Snow apples. 

Honeycrisp apples also do fairly well in cold climates, so that is one from our list that you might consider if you live somewhere cold. The University of Maine recommends that you do not try to grow some types in cold climates, though, such as Granny Smith apples. 

Apple Trees Better Suited To Very Dry Climates

If you live somewhere very dry, like in the southwest or a desert environment, you might want to consider some other types of apple trees that grow a little better in these types of conditions.

Dry climates can also work well for some of the more popular types, as well. For example, Some varieties that cross over from our list to the list provided by the Utah State University Extension for good dry climate apples include Gala apples, Honeycrisp apples, Fuji apples, and Golden Delicious apples. 

Some of other types for dry climates include Cameo apple trees, Ideared apples, and Mutsu apples

Apple trees are also one of the best fruit trees for rocky soil, which you’ll find in drier climates.

Tips For Growing Healthy Apple Trees

Now that you have chosen a variety or two of apple trees to plant, you might want to consider some of these tips to help you grow a strong, healthy tree that produces a lot of fruit year after year. 

Make Sure Your Apple Tree’s Soil Is Well Drained

Apple trees do need to be well watered, but it is also very important that they are not left for any length of time in standing water. There are a number of ways to check this if you want to make sure that you are not accidentally suffocating your apple tree. 

One tool that might be useful is a moisture gauge for the soil under your apple tree, like this Soil Moisture Sensor Meter that you simply place in the ground to help you see how much moisture is in the soil.

If you have soil with a lot of clay in it, that can be a big problem for water drainage.

One solution is to mix some sandy soil with the soil under your tree, which you can do before you plant the apple tree (and this is probably the easiest method) or even after you have planted the tree, if you discover that water drainage is a problem.

Also, make sure that you only grow certain plants under your apple tree if you plan on doing that as well.

Apple tree sapling in fruit orchard at spring. Organic farm

Make Sure Your Apple Tree Gets Enough Sunlight

Apple trees need full sun to reach their full potential. This means that they ideally would receive at least 8 hours of sunlight every day.

To read more about the details of how to provide the best sunlight for your apple tree, check out our post on why your apple tree needs full sun (and where to plant it)

To give your tree an added boost, consider adding a fruit tree fertilizer. You should not do this when you first plant the tree but wait until it has been established for a while.

At that point, though, you can add fertilizer on a regular basis (usually once or twice a year) that can help boost not only your tree’s growth but also its fruit production.

One such product you might like to try is Dr. Earth Natural Wonder Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer. This fertilizer is, as the name states, organic!

That’s A Wrap!

Now that you have learned more about ten of the easiest kinds of apple trees to grow and the types of apples they produce, you can make an informed decision about which type of apple tree or trees you want to plant in your yard.

Just remember to plant your trees in full sunlight, make sure their soil is well drained, and consider adding some fertilizer over the years. Then get ready to enjoy your fall apple harvest every year!

If you have an old apple tree that needs to make room for a new apple tree in your yard, read our guide on the reasons to cut down your apple tree!

References

Haynes, R. J., & Goh, K. M. (1980). Variation in the nutrient content of leaves and fruit with season and crown position for two apple varieties. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 31(4), 739-748.

Nenko, N. I., Kisileva, G. K., Ulyanovskaya, E. V., & Karavaeva, A. V. (2018). Winter resistance of the apple-tree varieties in the south of Russia. Austrian Journal of Technical and Natural Sciences, (3-4), 3-10.

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