Many homeowners want to plant a single apple tree in their backyard in order to have access to fruit. But many apple tree varieties are not self-pollinating, which means that a single tree on its own won't produce any fruit. If you only want to plant one tree, you need to make sure that tree is of a variety that can pollinate itself. Here's a look at four self-pollinating apple tree varieties that are great for backyards.
This is an old, classic apple variety that was developed in Germany. Its apples are predominantly light red in color with some green patches, and they have a very balanced, aromatic flavor. Alkmene apples are best for eating fresh out of hand, and they keep for about two to three weeks. If you don't want to worry about spraying your trees a lot, this is a good variety to choose since they are resistant to apple scab and most other fungal diseases.
Cortland apple trees are classified as partially self-fertile. You'll need a partner tree for maximum fruit production, but you'll still get some apples – probably enough for your family's use – when you plant just one Cortland tree. The apples have a sweet-tart taste and are great for baking, though you can eat them out-of-hand, too. The trees are only partially resistant to common diseases, so you will need to spray them regularly to prevent infection.
Cox Queen apple trees set many, many apples without a pollination partner. The reddish-orange, streaked apples have a mellow, slightly sweet flavor and a smooth texture, making them a good choice for making sauce and for eating. Cox Queen apples are very easy to grow, as the trees' branches tend to stay evenly spaced without a lot of pruning. The trees are susceptible to common diseases including mildew disease and cedar apple rust, so spraying them is vital.
If you love tart apples, Granny Smith is the perfect self-fertile variety for you. These apples are excellent for baking, and their bright green skins really catch the eye. Granny Smith trees grow more quickly than other varieties, so you'll have fruit sooner. They're known for their strong limbs, making them a good choice if you live in an area where high winds or thunderstorms are common. This variety will require regular spraying to prevent fungal diseases, though pesticides are not generally needed.
For more tips, talk with an arborist or other specialist like 770 Tree Guy.