Bright green, tart, crunchy Granny Smith Apples are perhaps the best known apples in the world. They are prized for use in apple pies, pastries, cakes, and are a favorite for eating fresh and canning. Granny Smith Apple Trees are easy to grow and maintain, and they are suited to a wide range of climates and soil types. In short, the Granny Smith Apple Tree is a must-have for anyone who wishes to grow a versatile, delicious apple in his or her own back yard.
Granny Smith Apple Trees can be successfully grown in USDA Zones 5 to 8. They are flexible when it comes to soil type, and Granny Smith Apple Trees can grow easily in any well-drained, sandy loam soil. They like full sun and should be planted in an open space that gets at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day in spring and summer. Give Granny Smith Apple Trees plenty of space to grow, since they reach sizes of 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
Apple Tree Care
Granny Smith Apple Trees are somewhat self-fertile and have been known to produce fruit as a single tree. You can increase the reliable quantity of apples by adding a second, pollinator tree to grow within 50 feet of your Granny Smith Apple Tree. Pollinators for Granny Smith include Anna, Gala, Fuji, and Winesap, among others. Two apple trees covered in fragrant blossoms and buzzing with hungry honeybees create a stunning spring display for any yard or garden.
Plant Granny Smith Apple Trees in a sunny spot with well-drained, sandy soil that has a good amount of organic matter. Dig a hole that is as deep and twice as wide as the root ball of the potted tree. Loosen the soil on the bottom of the hole, and add organic matter such as compost, leaves, grass clippings, or peat moss. Turn the material into the loosened soil and position the Granny Smith Apple Tree so that the surface of the root ball is even with the ground surface. Back fill the hole and water in the new tree well.
Fruit & Harvesting
Granny Smith Apple Trees set beautiful white-pink blooms in spring and the apples ripen from October through November. Since both young and fully ripe Granny Smith Apples are shades of green, it takes some experience to know exactly when to pick fruit from a new tree. The best way is to wait until the second week of October, and then begin to do taste tests.
Ripe Granny Smith Apples will be tart but also a bit sweet. They are also very juicy. Flavorful juicy flesh and a firm, crisp, bright white interior are both hallmarks of a perfectly ripe Granny Smith Apple. Once harvested, Granny Smith Apples can be eaten fresh, baked into desserts, and canned. The list of recipes for Granny Smith Apple cobblers, pies, and other dishes is virtually endless. When the fruiting season is over, be sure to pick any remaining fruit so the tree can reboot for the following season.
Granny Smith Apple Trees thrive with slow, deep watering. Use a soaker hose or a drip system to give your Granny Smith Apple Tree a steady supply of about 5 gallons of water per week. One simple way to do this is to drill a very small hole in a 5-gallon bucket, and place the water-filled bucket under the tree so the dripping 5-gallons deploys slowly. At the end of the week, if there is still water in the bucket, make the hole slightly larger.
To control weeds and retain moisture, mulch the area under the Granny Smith Apple Tree with organic mulch. Composted leaves, hay, grass clippings, and shredded tree bark all make good mulch. Prepare the ground by removing any living weeds or grass, and adding mulch from 6 inches away from the tree trunk, out to the edge of the widest spreading branches. For a new tree, mulch in a circular bed that is about 4 to 6 feet in diameter.
How much fruit will a Granny Smith Apple Tree produce?
Granny Smith Apple Trees can bear fruit in their first year, but small trees may only produce a few apples. Mature Granny Smith Apple Trees can produce hundreds of apples each year.
What is the origin of the Granny Smith Apple?
No one knows the exact parentage, but the first Granny Smith Apple Tree was discovered by Maria Ann Smith in Australia. The tree grew from a seedling in a crab apple compost pile, and is thought to be a cross between a French Crab apple, and a Rome Beauty Apple.
Can you grow a Granny Smith Apple Tree from seed?
You can grow an Apple Tree from the seeds of a a Granny Smith Apple, but there is no way to know exactly what kind or quality of apple the resulting tree may grow.
Are green Granny Smith Apples just unripe red apples?
No, Granny Smith Apples are green even when they are fully ripe. They are their own variety, and are a different apple entirely than a red apple.