Northern Spy Apple Tree Facts: How To Grow A Northern Spy Apple Tree

northern spy
northern spy
(Image credit: National Fruit Collection, Brogdale)

Growing Northern Spy apples is a great choice for anyone who wants a classic variety that is winter hardy and provides fruit for the entire cold season. If you like a well-rounded apple that you can juice, eat fresh, or put into the perfect apple pie consider putting a Northern Spy tree in your yard.

Northern Spy Apple Tree Facts

So what are Northern Spy apples? Northern Spy is an older variety of apple, developed by a farmer in the early 1800s in Rochester, New York. What varieties it developed from is unknown, but this is considered an heirloom apple. The apples this tree produces are very large and round. The color of the skin is red and green streaked. The flesh is creamy white, crisp, and sweet. Growing Northern Spy apples has been popular for over a century, thanks to the great flavor and diversity. You can enjoy them fresh, right off the tree. But you can also cook with Northern Spy apples, turn them into juice, or even dry them. The texture is perfect for pie; it holds up to baking and produces a pie filling that is soft, but not too soft.

How to Grow a Northern Spy Apple Tree

There are some great reasons to grow Northern Spy in your garden, including the tasty, versatile fruit. This is a tree that does well further north. It is hardier in the winter than many other apple varieties, and it produces fruit well into November, giving you a supply that will store well all season. Northern Spy growing requirements are similar to those of other apple trees. It needs full sun; well-drained, fertile soil; and plenty of room to grow. Prepare the soil in advance of planting with compost and other organic materials. Prune your apple tree each year to size and shape and also to encourage good growth and apple production. Water a new tree until it is established, but otherwise, only water if the tree is not getting at least an inch (2.5 cm.) of rainfall per week. With the right conditions and watching out for and managing any pests or diseases, you should get a good harvest about four years in, as long as you have at least one other apple tree in the area. To get fruit from your Northern Spy apple tree, you need another tree nearby for cross-pollination. Varieties that will pollinate Northern Spy include Gold Delicious, Red Delicious, Ginger Gold and Starkrimson. Harvest your Northern Spy apples beginning in October (typically) and store the apples in a cool, dry place. You should get enough apples that will store well to last you all winter.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.