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11 Fastest Growing Apple Trees That Bear Fruit Quickly (1st Year)

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Apple trees are awesome.

While the actual trees do not grow particularly fast, they can produce fruit reasonably quickly.

Some of the fastest bearing apple trees are not necessarily the fastest growing.

We take a look at apple trees from nurseries that have done the hard work for you and most are ready to bear fruit in the first or second year after planting.

1. Dorsett GoldenMalus domestica ‘Dorsett Golden’

Dorsett Golden apple trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

I have a grafted Dorsett Golden apple growing in my garden and can confirm that it did indeed fruit the first year it was planted. In fact, while the tree itself has not grown a lot, this tree has been a prolific fruiter and I have taken to thinning the fruit to reduce strain on its young branches.

The Dorsett Golden apple tree stands out for its early harvest of large, delicious apples that taste like a blend of Golden Delicious apples with a hint of vanilla and the perfect touch of sweetness, without the sharp berry flavors of typical summer varieties.

This Southern tree thrives in both high temperatures and can resist chills down to -10 degrees fahrenheit, making it versatile for various climates.

It is the first of the apple varieties to bloom, sometimes as early as mid-January in milder climates, leading to an early summer abundance of fruit.

Additionally, this quick fruiting apple tree is disease-resistant, making for hassle-free care, and it’s known for its good growth due to quality grafted rootstock.

However, to produce fruit, it requires cross-pollination with another apple variety.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5-9
  • Mature Tree Size: 15-20 ft tall, 8-15 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: 100
  • Self Fertile: No – Good pollination partners include Granny Smith, Honeycrisp™, Red Delicious, Anna, Gala, Winesap, McIntosh, Pink Lady®, and Golden Delicious Apple Trees.

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Fast-Growing-Trees, Nature Hills or My Perfect Plants

2. AnnaMalus domestica ‘Anna’

Anna apple trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

My Anna apple did indeed bear fruit within a year of being planted in my garden, and has been a prolific fruiter ever since!

The Anna apple tree is celebrated for its adaptability across a wide range of climates, from Florida to California, thriving in hot conditions as well as being cold hardy down to -10 degrees fahrenheit.

Its compact form delivers fast and productive harvests of crisp, juicy apples that initially resemble the tartness of Granny Smiths and later mature into the sweetness akin to Red Delicious apples.

This dual-flavor profile, along with its ability to store well for up to two months, makes the Anna Apple a versatile choice for gardeners.

Additionally, its proven rootstock ensures a strong, healthy start, leading to more branches and fruit

It does require another apple variety for pollination to fruit.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5-9
  • Mature Tree Size: 15-20 ft tall, 8-15 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: 200-300
  • Self Fertile: No. Good pollination partners include Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp™, Red Delicious, Dorsett Golden, Winesap, McIntosh, Pink Lady®, and Golden Delicious Apple Trees.

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Fast-Growing-Trees, Nature Hills or My Perfect Plants

3. Red DeliciousMalus domestica ‘Red Delicious’

Red Delicious apple trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

The quick fruiting Red Delicious apple tree is celebrated as America’s favorite apple, known for its delightful taste, quick growth, and adaptability to various soil types.

It stands out for its low maintenance and high productivity, making it a popular choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Although it requires a pollinator to bear fruit, there are several suitable options, including the Granny Smith Apple Tree, ensuring a bountiful harvest of America’s preferred snacking apple.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5-8
  • Mature Tree Size: 12-15 ft tall, 8-10 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate – Fast
  • Chill Hours: 700-800
  • Self Fertile: No. Good pollination partners include Arkansas Black, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp™, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Winesap, and McIntosh Apple Trees.

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Fast-Growing-Trees or Nature Hills

4. Golden DeliciousMalus domestica ‘Golden Delicious’

Golden Delicious apple trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

The Golden Delicious apple tree is a standout variety known for its sweet, juicy apples, easy maintenance, and organic growth capabilities.

Esteemed as one of the most beloved apples in the country, it boasts a disease-resistant nature, allowing for pesticide-free cultivation.

Its self-fertility means a single tree can produce fruit, although planting another can significantly boost the crop size, making it a top choice for gardeners seeking hassle-free and delicious apple production.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Mature Tree Size: 8-15 ft tall, 8-15 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: 600-800
  • Self Fertile: Yes. Adding an additional Golden Delicious Apple Tree increases crop size, with good pollination partners being Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Winesap, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp™, and Pink Lady® Apple Trees.

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Fast-Growing-Trees, Nature Hills or My Perfect Plants

5. Granny SmithMalus domestica ‘Granny Smith’

Granny Smith apple trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

The Granny Smith apple tree is celebrated for its rapid fruit production and low-maintenance growth, offering a harvest years earlier than seed-grown counterparts.

This tree is renowned for its distinctive tart apples that thrive without the need for harsh pesticides or particular soil conditions, making it an ideal choice for gardeners looking for both adaptability and flavor.

As a self-fertile variety, a single Granny Smith can produce fruit on its own, yet planting another can significantly boost your harvest, ensuring a bountiful supply of crisp, tart apples for eating, baking, and more.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5-8
  • Mature Tree Size: 12-15 ft tall, 8-10 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: 400-500
  • Self Fertile: Yes. Planting an additional Granny Smith Apple Tree can dramatically increase crop size.

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Fast-Growing-Trees, Nature Hills, My Perfect Plants or Starkbro’s

6. HoneycrispMalus domestica ‘Honeycrisp’

Honeycrisp apple trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

The Honeycrisp apple tree stands out for its crisp, juicy apples that surpass even the finest store-bought varieties in flavor and quality.

With a resilience to cold down to -30 degrees and a reputation for being a prolific producer once mature, the Honeycrisp promises an extended growing season and bountiful harvests.

This tree is ready to yield delicious fruits without the long wait.

However, to enjoy its delightful harvest, you’ll need to plant it alongside a compatible pollinator, as it is not self-fertile.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3-8
  • Mature Tree Size: 8-10 ft tall, 8-10 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: 700-1000
  • Self Fertile: No. Effective pollinators include Arkansas Black, Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Winesap, McIntosh, Red Delicious, and Pink Lady® Apple Trees.

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Fast-Growing-Trees, Nature Hills or Starkbro’s

7. FujiMalus domestica ‘Fuji’

Fuji apple trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

The Fuji apple tree, originating from Japan, is celebrated for its spring blossoms and prolific fall harvest of juicy, crisp, and sweet apples.

Esteemed both for its ornamental beauty and delicious fruit, the Fuji apple’s pink-blushed, yellow-green apples are known for their firm yet tender texture, making them ideal for snacking, baking, and juicing.

Not self-fertile, the Fuji requires a pollinator to bear fruit, with varieties such as Scarlet Sentinel Columnar, McIntosh, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp™, Red Delicious, Pink Lady®, Golden Delicious, and Arkansas Black being excellent companions.

Notably, pairing Fuji with Granny Smith can create a perfect blend for apple juice.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4-9
  • Mature Tree Size: 10-15 ft tall, 10-15 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: 300-400
  • Self Fertile: No. Effective pollinators include Scarlet Sentinel Columnar, McIntosh, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp™, Red Delicious, Pink Lady®, Golden Delicious, and Arkansas Black Apple Trees.

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Fast-Growing-Trees or Nature Hills

8. McIntoshMalus domestica ‘McIntosh’

McIntosh apple trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

The McIntosh apple tree is renowned for its early ripening, heavy production, and the uniquely tangy flavor of its fresh fruit.

This variety is celebrated for its ease of growth and organic cultivation potential, free from the need for chemical sprays.

With its hardy nature and resistance to pests and diseases, the McIntosh Apple Tree is an excellent choice for both novice and experienced gardeners alike.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4-7
  • Mature Tree Size: 12-15 ft tall, 8-10 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: 500-1000
  • Self Fertile: No. It requires pollinators like Arkansas Black, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp™, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Winesap, Pink Lady®, and Red Delicious Apple Trees for fruit production.

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Fast-Growing-Trees, Nature Hills or Starkbro’s

9. GalaMalus domestica ‘Gala’

Gala apple trees can bear fruit in 1-3 years after planting according to My Perfect Plants.

The Gala apple tree, a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious Apples, is renowned for its easy care and sweet, delicious fruit.

Boasting a self-pollinating nature, this semi-dwarf variety thrives in USDA Zones 4-10 and blooms with white flowers in early spring, leading to a mid-season harvest in October.

Perfect for small spaces, the Gala Apple tree matures to a height of 12-17 feet, offering crisp, tart apples ideal for fresh consumption, baking, or storage.

Its moderate to fast growth rate and minimal space requirements make it a favored choice for gardeners seeking bountiful harvests without the hassle.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4-10
  • Mature Tree Size: 12-17 ft tall, 10-15 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: 1-3 years
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate-Fast
  • Chill Hours: 500
  • Self Fertile: Yes, however adding an additional Gala apple tree may increase crop size.

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Fast-Growing-Trees, Nature Hills or My Perfect Plants

10. LodiMalus domestica ‘Lodi’

Lodi – Malus domestica ‘Lodi’ - fruit on tree
Image via Stark Bro’s

Lodi apple trees can bear fruit in 2-5 years after planting according to Starkbro’s.

The Lodi apple tree, recognized for its early harvest in July, makes it a standout in the orchard as the “early bird” of apple varieties.

Originating in Trinidad, Washington, in 1964, the Lodi apple is larger and stores better than its relative, the Yellow Transparent.

It’s known for its disease resistance, particularly against powdery mildew, and its cold hardiness. The Lodi produces tangy, crisp, green apples that are ideal for pies, cider, and applesauce.

While it blooms early with white flowers, it requires a pollinator such as Cortland, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Ambrosia, or Braeburn apples for successful fruit production, thriving in USDA Zones 4-8.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4-8
  • Mature Tree Size: 8-15 ft tall, 8-15 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: 2-5 years
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: 800-1500
  • Self Fertile: No. Good pollination partners include Cortland, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Ambrosia, and Braeburn apple varieties.

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Starkbro’s

11. GravensteinMalus domestica ‘Gravenstein’

Gravenstein apple trees can bear fruit in 2-5 years after planting according to Starkbro’s.

The Gravenstein apple tree, known for its exceptional quality as a dessert apple, is a vigorous grower that produces medium-sized fruits with a distinctive red-over-green skin and creamy yellow flesh.

This variety is celebrated for its remarkable flavor when eaten fresh, and its ability to hold shape when baked, making it excellent for sauces as well.

Originating from Denmark around 1797, the Gravenstein apple ripens in September, offering a tart taste and a firm, crisp, juicy texture.

It’s important to note that this variety is triploid, meaning it cannot pollinate other apple trees and requires a different apple variety for pollination.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2-9
  • Mature Tree Size: 8-15 ft tall, 8-15 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: 2-5 years
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: 700-800
  • Self Fertile: No. It is a triploid variety and cannot pollinate other apple trees. Suitable pollinators are Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Fuji, McIntosh

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Nature Hills or Starkbro’s

Comparing the Fastest Producing Apple Trees

VarietyUSDA Growing ZonesMature Tree SizeTime to Bear First FruitAvg Growth RateChill HoursSelf FertileGood Pollination Partners
Dorsett Golden5-915-20 ft tall, 8-15 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerate100NoGranny Smith, Honeycrisp™, Red Delicious, Anna, Gala, Winesap, McIntosh, Pink Lady®, Golden Delicious
Anna5-915-20 ft tall, 8-15 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerate200-300NoGala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp™, Red Delicious, Dorsett Golden, Winesap, McIntosh, Pink Lady®, Golden Delicious
Red Delicious5-812-15 ft tall, 8-10 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerate – Fast700-800NoArkansas Black, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp™, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Winesap, McIntosh
Golden Delicious4-98-15 ft tall, 8-15 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerate600-800YesGala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Winesap, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp™, Pink Lady®
Granny Smith5-812-15 ft tall, 8-10 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerate400-500YesAdditional Granny Smith for increased crop size
Honeycrisp3-88-10 ft tall, 8-10 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerate700-1000NoArkansas Black, Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Winesap, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Pink Lady®
Fuji4-910-15 ft tall, 10-15 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerate300-400NoScarlet Sentinel Columnar, McIntosh, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp™, Red Delicious, Pink Lady®, Golden Delicious, Arkansas Black
McIntosh4-712-15 ft tall, 8-10 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerate500-1000NoArkansas Black, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp™, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Winesap, Pink Lady®, Red Delicious
Gala4-1012-17 ft tall, 10-15 ft wide1-3 yearsModerate-Fast500YesAdditional Gala for increased crop size
Lodi4-88-15 ft tall, 8-15 ft wide2-5 yearsModerate800-1500NoCortland, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Ambrosia, Braeburn
Gravenstein2-98-15 ft tall, 8-15 ft wide2-5 yearsModerate700-800NoGolden Delicious, Red Delicious, Fuji, McIntosh
*Growth rates are approximations; actual performance varies with climate, soil, and care.

* Why Apple Tree Growth Rates Differ

Our goal has been to present reliable details regarding each apple variety, encompassing its growth dynamics and the timeline for fruit production.

It’s important to remember, though, that these figures serve as general guides. The actual growth and fruiting outcomes can significantly differ due to variations in weather conditions, soil properties, and the level of care provided.

Apple trees can be propagated using several techniques, including seeds, grafting, budding, cuttings, layering, or air layering, each with its unique set of benefits.

Methods like grafting and budding are favored for faithfully reproducing specific apple types, offering the advantage of earlier fruiting. Conversely, seed propagation is more straightforward but requires a longer timeframe to commence fruit production.

Opting to purchase a grafted apple tree from a nursery is often the most direct and efficient method for many aspiring pear growers.

Given the diversity in cultivation practices among both online and physical nurseries, the period until a tree produces its initial fruit can vary substantially from one source to another.

Why Apple Tree Size Matters

Many nurseries provide a variety of apple tree sizes for sale.

Typically, the smaller the tree, the lower the cost, whereas larger trees are more developed and closer to fruit-bearing age, thus commanding a higher price.

If quick apple production is your goal, opting for a grafted or otherwise more mature tree might be the best route.

Take, for instance, Fast-Growing-Trees, which lists the Gala apple tree in four sizes: 3-4 ft, 4-5 feet, 5-6 feet, and 6-7 feet tall. For those eager for apples in the shortest time, selecting the 6-7 feet tall option could be the most advantageous.

Additionally, some nurseries, like Starkbros, categorize their trees by mature size, offering Dwarf, Semi-Dwarf, and Standard varieties, each growing to a distinct height.

It’s crucial to verify the size of the tree at the nursery to ensure it fits the space and meets the requirements of your garden or orchard.

Chill Hours

Choosing a tree suited to your local climate involves considering its chill hour needs, essential for its growth and fruiting success.

For example, apple trees generally need to experience several hundred hours (or more) of chill temperatures between 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit annually to successfully flower and produce fruit.

A shortfall in required chill hours may result in poor flowering and inadequate leaf development.

Why Pollination Matters

Maintaining several apple trees can markedly improve pollination and fruit production thanks to cross-pollination. This process involves the transfer of pollen from the blossoms of one apple tree to another.

Many apple varieties are self-sterile, meaning they are unable to pollinate themselves or other trees of the same variety. Therefore, they need a different compatible variety nearby to facilitate pollination.

Cross-pollination not only boosts the number of fruits but also enhances their size and quality.

Hence, situating two or more compatible apple varieties near each other can lead to a more dependable and plentiful yield.

Other Fast Growing & Bearing Fruit Trees

Looking to diversify your home orchard beyond apple trees?

Dive into our detailed guides on various quick-growing and producing fruit trees that can enhance both your garden’s beauty and your dining experience.

Check out pear, peach, fig, cherry, lemon, and apricot trees to find out which varieties produce fruit the quickest.

Happy planting!

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Fern Berg - Founder

Expert Gardener & Horticulturist in Training

Fern has planted and currently cares for over 100 different native and exotic fruit, nut, and ornamental trees. She also cultivates an extensive vegetable garden, several flower gardens and cares for an ever-growing happy family of indoor plants. Fern has a special interest in biodynamic farming, food production and closed loop agriculture. Fern founded Tree Vitalize to help guide others with an interest in tree planting, identification and care.