How Long Does An Apple Tree Take To Grow

Publish Data: August 23, 2021

by Mumtahina Piya

Growing an apple tree takes time! An apple tree doesn’t grow mature within a few days. You can’t rush the growing process of an apple tree. You have to be patient to grow this fruit tree. However, now you must want to know about the growth times of an apple tree, right?

So, how long does an apple tree takes to grow?

The trees from local garden centers or nurseries may start growing fruits after three years of planting. The dwarf apple trees may take at least two years to bear fruits. The standard height rootstock trees may take three to five years to bear fruits. Besides this, the seed-growing apple trees may take five to twelve years to bear fruits. 

So, you can see that the growth times are different for different types of apple trees. It is necessary to know the difference between the growth timing of different varieties to maintain the plant’s growth. Besides, it will help you to have enough patience for this apple-growing journey. So, here I am giving you a handful of information about the growing periods for different apple trees. Let’s dig in deeper!

placeholder

We have already said that an apple tree may take two to twelve years to be mature and grow fruits based on the tree variety. You can plant the young standard or dwarf rootstock trees from a local garden center or sprout the plant from seeds. But they will take different times to mature and produce fruits. When you know the difference between the growing times, it will help you to choose the desired variety for your garden. Let’s take a look at the different time rates!

Growing time based on plant formation

There are different forms of the apple tree like dwarf rootstock, standard height rootstock, and many more. You can know more about those rootstocks from the gardener in the nursery. But here I am going to tell you about some of the rootstocks. I have attached a chart of rootstocks along with the time here for your convenience. 

   Rootstock

Tree variety 

Time

MM.111, P.18

Standard size

4-6 years  

M.26, M.7a, MM.106, M.2

Semi-dwarf

2-4 years  

M.9, Mark

Dwarf

2-3 years  

So, now let’s dig into the details about the plants and their maturity period!

Dwarf Rootstock Tree: You can get crops from a dwarf rootstock after about two to three years of planting. These types of trees are graft on the dwarf rootstocks of M.9 or Mark rootstocks. Dwarf trees usually grow up to 6 to 12 feet tall. While planting the tree, you can use a stick to give support to the main branch. By this, your plant will also be strong enough to hold up the fruits during harvest season. 

Semi-dwarf Rootstock Tree: It may take two to four years to get fruits from a semi-dwarf rootstock tree. Some varieties of semi-dwarf rootstocks are M.26, M.7a, MM.106, and M.2. Well, to maintain the height of the plant, pruning can be a great help. You have to prune the plant frequently to keep it less than 22 feet tall. 

Standard size Tree: This form of the tree is also known as a full-size tree. This plant can grow up to 30 feet tall and wide, but pruning can keep the plant size within the desired limit. The dormant season means the late winter or early spring is the appropriate time for pruning. However, after about four to six years of planting, you will start getting crops. The P.18 or MM.11 are some of the full-size rootstock varieties. 

Seed-growing Tree: Growing tree from seeds is no less than a hassle. Growing an apple from the apple seed is like a mission impossible, and most of the time, you may fail in this mission. However, if you successfully grow a tree from seed, it will take about six to twelve years to yield fruits. Besides that, most of the apples are hybrid fruits that are grown by grafting. So, if you are trying to grow it using seeds, the crops will be nothing like their mother fruit. The features of the plant and the fruits will be completely different. For example, you collect seeds from dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties. But when that seed turns into a plant, it will be a standard size plant and not a dwarf or semi-dwarf one. 

Does an apple tree grow too fast or too slow?

Trees of different apple varieties have different growth rates. So, it can’t be said accurately about whether an apple tree grows faster or slower. As the growth rates are different, I have decided to put some examples here. By this, you will understand the growth rates. 

Note: According to the tree surgeons, the slow growth rate of a tree is 12 inches or less than that annually. The medium growth rate is 13 to 24 inches, and the fast growth rate is 25 or more than that per year. 

Let’s check out some growth rates of different apple tree varieties!

Stayman Winesap: This variety has a slow growth rate. This plant grows 12 inches or less than that annually that grows in hardiness zones 5 to 8. Provide well-drained soil and 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day, and it will grow well.

Red Jonathon: This variety grows well in the hardiness zones 4 to 8. The growth rate is medium that means 13 to 24 inches of growth annually. This plant requires proper moisture, well-drained soil, and 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day for healthy growth.

Anna: Anna is a tree with a medium growth rate also. This tree grows in hardiness zones 5 to 9. This plant is a low-chilling variety so, it needs only 200 to 300 chilling hours. For better growth, it requires deep watering and direct sunlight.

Red delicious: This is a tree with a fast growth rate. It grows more than 24 inches. This plant grows well in hardiness zones 5 to 8. Plant it in well-drained moist soil with 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily to get maximum growth.

Some issues to take care of for proper growth!

Pollen

Apple trees can do better when it gets a companion. Well, apple trees are not self-pollinating trees. That’s why they need a partner tree for pollinating. With the help of a pollinating partner, the tree can bear fruit. For example, if you want to plant a Honeycrisp tree, you will need a partner tree, like Red Delicious, Golden Delicious as pollen.

However, there are some self-pollinating varieties too. Though they are self-pollinating, they can do better when planting with other apple trees. That’s why providing pollen for your apple tree can help the tree to grow faster than usual or bear fruits as usual. Besides that, if you are confused about choosing the pollen, then don’t worry. You can know about the pollens for specific types of apple trees from the nursery.

Winter Chilling

You already know that apple trees are grown in hardiness zones 3 to 8. So, this means apple trees required chill weather to have proper growth. Besides this, the trees need maximum chill hours as per different varieties. They need the (below 45-degree temperatures) chill hours for at least 500 to 1000 hours for flower blossoming and fruit-bearing.

However, you may find some low-chilling varieties there that may require a fewer amount of chill hours. This type of plant requires less than 500 chilling hours. So, if you are living in a warmer climate, it will be wise to choose a low-chilling variety for better growth. 

Fertilizer

Besides weather and pollen, some fertilizer in the soil can ensure better plant growth. After the passing of a year, you can spread some 10-10-10 fertilizer on the soil surface. Put the fertilizer before the ending of the dormancy season of the tree.

During late winter or early spring, take 1 pound of 10-10-10 and spread it around the tree’s main branch. Spread the fertilizer about 6 inches away from the trunk so that the fertilizer can’t touch it. After putting in the fertilizer, put some water for the proper absorption of the fertilizer. 

Continue the same process for the second year with 2 pounds of fertilizer and three for the third year. But make sure the fertilizer amount should not exceed more than 5 to 6 pounds annually!

Monthly care

Some monthly activities can ensure the healthy and faster growth of an apple tree. So, here I am mentioning a chart with some monthly care tips!

Month

 Activity  

March

Prune the existing plant  

April – May

Plant bare-root trees; for existing plants, add some compost if the growth was less than 12 inches the previous year.  

May – June

Plant potted plant; flowers will bloom on the existing plant so, be aware of disease or pest attacks signs.  

May – October

Water your plants, whether existing or new planting plants.

June – July

Remove small and weak fruits for larger fruit growths.

August – October

Test for the ripe fruits and harvest  

October – November

Rake up the fruits and leaves to put them for composting  

November

Wrap up the tree properly as the winter preparation  

November – March

  Give your tree some rest and put some fences around the plant if you notice any animal attacks sign.  

Well, apple trees are not that easy to grow. One missing requirement can result in the poor growth of the plant. That’s why it is a must to maintain all the requirements to get a healthy growing plant. 

Few last words for you!

Growing an apple tree is quite a difficult task as it is one of the most demanding fruit trees. There are many varieties of this fruit tree. Based on the difference, their requirements for growth and growth rates are also different. However, don’t be afraid of these difficulties!

Here I have tried to cover almost all the tricky parts about the growth of an apple tree. So, you will be able to increase the growth of your tree and choose the right tree for your garden using this information. I hope your apple-growing journey will be easier!