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Everything You Need to Know About 5-in-1 Apple Trees

You only need one 5-in-1 apple tree to reap a large harvest of five different apples.

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If you can’t decide between which apple tree you want to plant, consider planting a 5-in-1 apple tree—a surefire way to get a versatile, bountiful harvest with a variety of flavors. The 5-in-1 apple tree can feature different apple types depending on the nursery, but some of the most common are the beloved McIntosh, Granny Smith, Spartan, Yellow Delicious, and Lodi. Some are sweet while others are more tart, giving an impressive versatility in flavor profiles.

Some nurseries carry 5-in-1 apple trees that can fruit the first year. And because they’re self-pollinating, you only need one to reap the benefits.

5-in-1 Apple Trees at a Glance

  • Can fruit the first year
  • Five different flavors all in one place
  • Compact size
  • Staggered harvest
  • Self-pollinating

Appearance

The 5-in-1 apple tree has scaly gray bark and coarse, oval green leaves on branches that create a rounded shape. The apples it produces range in color from red, yellow, and green.

These compact trees grow to be just 10-15 feet tall with a spread of 8-10 feet, making them an excellent size for smaller gardens or for people who want to plant several types of apple trees but don’t have the space to accommodate more than one.

Specifications

Appearance Scaly gray bark and coarse, oval green leaves. Rounded shape. Apples range in color from red to yellow and green
Appearance Scaly gray bark and coarse, oval green leaves. Rounded shape. Apples range in color from red to yellow and green
Height 10-15 feet
Hardiness Zones Zones 5-8
Type of tree Deciduous
Sunlight requirements Full sun
Soil composition Highly adaptable but prefer moist, well-drained sandy loams

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the regions where plants can grow based on minimum winter temperatures. The 5-in-1 apple tree can grow in Zones 5-8, able to thrive almost everywhere except southern California, Texas, and Florida, and anywhere northeast of Colorado.

Planting

The best times to plant a 5-in-1 apple tree are spring and fall. We recommend taking these steps:

  • Choose a planting site that receives full sun—at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day.
  • Clear away any weeds, turfgrass, or debris.
  • Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball and roughly a foot deeper.
  • Gently tease apart the roots of the root ball with your hand or with a spade and place it in the center of the hole. You want it to be about 2-3 inches above the level of the surrounding soil.
  • Begin backfilling the hole, then stop when it is between ½ and ¾ full.
  • Water the hole thoroughly to the top. Once it drains away, continue backfilling with soil.
  • After you’re done, place a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree, careful not to let it touch the trunk.

Growing Conditions

The 5-in-1 apple tree is low-maintenance, able to adapt to a wide variety of soils.

Sun and shade

These trees thrive in full sun, but they will not do as well in partial shade, yielding a smaller harvest.

Soil

The 5-in-1 apple tree prefers moist, well-drained, sandy loam soils.

Watering

You need to water your 5-in-1 apple tree regularly while it is establishing strong, healthy roots. Water it 2-3 gallons every two or three weeks for the first few months, then water only once a week during the growing season. In fall and winter, you only need to water once per month.

Fertilizing

Fertilize your 5-in-1 apple tree in early spring with a slow-release fertilizer with a balanced NPK value of 10-10-10. Your apple tree should grow roughly one foot per year until it reaches three years old. If it is growing more slowly than that, increase the amount of fertilizer by 50% in the second and third years.

Pruning

Your 5-in-1 apple tree does not require pruning to flourish. However, you should cut any dead, dying, or diseased branches in winter when your tree is dormant.

Harvesting

Your 5-in-1 apple tree is self-pollinating, so you only need to plant one for a bountiful harvest as early as the first year, depending on the nursery. From August to October, your five unique varieties of apple will ripen. With their low stature, it is relatively easy to pick apples from the branches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you plant just one?

You only need to plant one 5-in-1 apple tree to reap fruit because the varieties on the tree pollinate one another, making it self-pollinating. This is not true of all apple trees.

Is it hard to grow apple trees?

The 5-in-1 apple tree is considered low-maintenance. Set your 5-in-1 apple tree up for success by planting it in a site with well-drained soil that receives full sun and water it and fertilize as needed.

Is cow manure good for apple trees?

Cow manure can make excellent organic fertilizer for apple trees. The amount you need to apply will depend on the age of your 5-in-1 apple tree.

When should I feed my apple tree?

You should feed your 5-in-1 apple tree in early spring, if possible. Do not fertilize it any later than July 1.

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