Upper North Shore Sydney Australia


Species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae).

Apple blossom

The apple tree is small, reaching 3 to 12 metres (9.8 to 39 ft) tall, with a broad, deciduous, often densely twiggy crown. There are thousands of cultivars; selecting varieties that suit the temperate Sydney Basin will ensure success. Their sweet smelling flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades.


Planting apple trees close together, (approximately 2 metres) will restrict their outward vigour and increase their fruit bearing tendencies. This same effect can be created by planting 2 trees in the same hole. Fruit trees grafted onto dwarf rootstock are recommended for small or container gardens. (Choosing rootstock classification ‘M27’ ensures the smallest dwarfing variety).

Plant your bare root stock in winter, (June – August), plant container grown plants in autumn to early spring, (March – May). Choose a sunny, wind protected site and ensure the soil is kept only damp to encourage root development.

Plant Care

First crop is in 2 – 3 years so choosing a tree that is this age is wise for a beginner because it will already have had some pruning and training at the nursery.  For container fruit trees support with a stake and prune into an open centered vase shape, for a more restricted form prune into an oblique cordon, a stepover hedge or train as an espaliered fan shape or like this one a candelabra shape. Plant more than one variety to ensure fruit set.


Ripe red apples

Apples are self-incompatible; they must cross-pollinate to develop fruit, however, many apple varieties will set reasonable crops without a pollinator provided you attract bees and the weather is favourable. Planting another compatible variety will greatly improve your chances of fruit set. Crops ripen at different times of the year according to the variety of apple always check what other variety flowers around the same time to facilitate pollination.


Apples have a naturally occurring epicuticular wax coating that slows down moisture loss benefitting storage. Apples picked in late autumn may be stored in cool, frost proof cellars during winter. Cooked and pureed apples can be kept in preserving jars and the fruit also dehydrates well.

Varieties suitable for the Sydney Basin

Dorsett Golden
Sweet aromatic apple with yellow fruit and a delightful pink blush and firm white flesh. Low chill requirement allows it to be grown in temperate and subtropical climates. Grafted on a dwarfing rootstock they are ideal for backyard plantings.
Pollinators Tropical Anna /Granny Smith

Granny Smith
Originating in Ryde, NSW this popular apple is green with speckled dots on the skin.  The white flesh is very crisp, juicy and acid.  If left on the tree the skin yellows and the apple will sweeten making it a nice eating variety.
Pollinators Pink Lady/ Tropical Anna

Lady Williams
This bright pink-red fruit has a stripe over most of the skin’s surface.  Smooth, firm, crisp texture it has an acceptable flavour when the satisfactory sugar–acid balance is allowed to develop.
Pollinators Tropical Anna / Dorsett Golden

A compact apple tree growing to only 2m high making it ideal for espalier, containers, courtyards, decks and balconies.  It has delicious fruit that ripen two weeks earlier than the Pink Lady but are similar in flavour.  Partially self-pollinating, planting with Granny Smith will improve fruit set.
Pollinators Tropical Anna / Dorsett Golden/Granny Smith

Pink Lady
Has a pink blush over a greenish yellow base skin.   It is a crisp apple with a dense, firm flesh, high sugar content and an excellent flavour.
Pollinators Tropical Anna / Dorsett Golden/Granny Smith

Tropical Anna
Delicious crunchy apples similar to their cold climate cousins, Red Delicious, but only require a low amount of chill. On a dwarf rootstock they are ideal for backyard espalier plantings and container specimens.
Pollinators Pinkabelle / Dorsett Golden

Tropic Sweet
A low chill, delicious and crunchy apple, very similar to the Jonathon, bears two weeks before Anna. Purchase on a semi dwarfing rootstock it is ideal for backyard plantings and container specimens.
Pollinators Tropical Anna / Dorsett Golden