So You're Dreaming of Growing An Apple Tree Right Here In North Florida?

If you're looking for an apple tree to grow in N FL, choices are a little limiting, but it can be done -- successfully. The Anna Apple and the Golden Dorsett are the most popular ones that grow here.

And we say "grow" with a few reservations. Apple Trees like it cold. While it gets cold enough here most winters, our summers are so brutal, many small, young apple trees don't make it through their first or second summer unless they are significantly pampered.  

A 6-foot tall 7 gal size tree will have a much higher survival rate than a 5-foot tall 3 gal size tree simply because you'll be starting with much greater root mass.  It's not about the height of the tree. It's about the calliper (diameter) of the trunk, and the size of the root ball. 

That said, if you really want to try your luck at growing apples, you will need at least 2 trees,  for good pollination:
  Anna Apple & Golden Dorsett   are a really good match.

Anna Apple

The ever popular Anna Apple is  firm, crisp and tart, green when ripe and similar in flavor to the Granny Smith. It does best if cross-pollinated with the Golden Dorsett

Golden Delicious apples

The ​Golden Dorsett is a yellowish-golden color, with soft flesh and sweet, much like an old-fashioned Red Delicious.

We can also grow a few other varieties in Alachua County and to the north and west:   zone 8b. 
Ein Sheimer (pollinates with the Anna & the Fuji),   Fuji (pollinates with the Ein Sheimer & the Granny Smith), and of course,  Granny Smith.  Gala can also be paired with the Fuji.

On a very mild winter, harvest will be light on the Fuji, Gala and Granny Smith varieties.

Anna & Golden Dorsett are 150 chill hour varieties.
Ein Shiemer requires a minimum of 250 chill hours.
Fuji, Gala and Granny Smith require approximately 400-450 chill hours.

Apple Blossoms

There's nothing that says 'Spring' quite like apple blossoms!

If you let the Anna ripen until it has a red blush, then the flavor is sweeter and it tastes more like a Gala.  Below is a photo of Anna apples in our garden that were allowed to fully ripen.

Anna apples in our personal gardens.

This is real life:  grown by a homeowner in the Micanopy area,
new to orcharding,  just 3 months after planting!

So, yes, it can be done:  You CAN grow apples here in zone 9:

  • Rule #1:  Use our soil amendments formula liberally --  a well-fed tree will be much hardier against the elements.  Every month is not too much for an apple!  And if you do not have a layer of clay in your soil,  be sure to use some peat moss in the formula to help you with rule #2:
  • Rule #2:  Water your apple trees EVERY SINGLE DAY.   I can't stress this one enough: Apple trees are complete water hogs.  They need water every day -- they don't like to dry out for long periods of time.  Only time to skip the water is when we're having heavy rains, or the wintry days are so cloudy that nothing drys out.