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Columnar Apple Tree Care

January 25 2021 – Elliot Gregory

Columnar Apple Tree Care
Columnar Apple Tree Care
Columnar Apple Tree Care


Columnar apple trees are loaded with fruiting spurs along the main leader, and branches are short and upright, producing straight, upright growing, cylindrical apple trees. Plant columnar apples in the ground, or transplant to large containers using N.W. Best Potting Soil.

Columnar apple trees mature at 8 to 10 feet tall but less than two feet in diameter, and are extremely healthy and disease resistant. When grown in full sun expect full-sized fruit the first year from planting, so long as there are two or more varieties for cross pollination. As trees mature, the yield of apples will increase. Be sure to maintain fertility levels for good growth and yields, using E.B. Stone Fruit and Berry Food.

Tasty Red is a bright red apple with a sweet, juicy flavor
Blushing Delight produces a blush of reddish green fruit with a slightly sweeter taste
Golden Treat greenish-gold apples are tart in early fall, but get sweeter the longer they are on the tree
Tangy Green lime green apples add a crisp, tart flavor to the series
Scarlet Sentinal large yellow apples with a red blush. Juicy sweet tasting apples that keep well
Northpole large red apple good for cider, baking and eating. Ripens early September
Golden Sentinal large yellow fruit, good for eating and baking. Ripens mid-September

Harvest tasty fruit within easy reach of the patio table, or host a pick-your-own on the porch and watch heads turn. Try columnar apples in large tubs flanking the entrance or plant alongside a border or fence to add value. The impact of a loaded apple tree in a tiny space is irresistible.

How to Prune Columnar Apple Trees

A special type of dwarf tree, the columnar apple tree resembles a pole of apples. These trees can be planted in containers or in garden beds and are ideal for areas too small to support full-sized trees. While columnar apple trees need less pruning than full-size or other dwarf apple trees, they do need regular thinning when the fruits set as well as light shaping and pruning for plant health. Prune columnar apple trees in the late fall or in the early spring, when frost danger passes. Thin the tree when the fruit develops over the spring and summer months.

Step 1: Clip off dead twigs, which feel brittle. Trim back unhealthy or dead growth to a healthy part of the branch. Discard all unhealthy wood in a garbage bin.
Step 2: Trim back your columnar apple tree to your desired height. The trees can reach 10 feet tall. If you let your tree mature to its full height, you will need to stake the tree as the fruit ripens.
Step 3: Thin the fruit once it sets to prevent branches from breaking under the weight. Clip off fruit from crowded areas or if the branch looks too weak to support the weight of a mature apple. Thin out fruit where too many apples are growing, leaving one apple per cluster. Clip the fruit off with anvil pruners to thin it.



1 comment

  • Cheryl: December 28, 2022
    Author's avatar image

    What’s the best way to care for a Waltz Columnar Apple tree on a general day to day basis. The leaves on mine are curling?

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