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Empire apple tree

Empire

Empire was developed in the 1940s as a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious and soon established itself as one of the top McIntosh-style apples.

As with most McIntosh crosses, the contribution of the other parent remains in the background, and Empire has all the usual McIntosh characteristics - crimson skin, bright white glistening flesh, and "that" flavor, the dessert-wine taste which is the hallmark of the McIntosh line. However Red Delicious can also be quite scented in its own right and many argue that Empire improves on the Mac in this respect.

Empire apple trees for sale

  • 1Small 1-year bare-root tree $33.75
    Mature height: 6ft-9ft after 10 years
    G.11, G.16 rootstock
  • 2Medium 1-year bare-root tree $33.75
    Mature height: 8ft-12ft after 10 years
    G.935 rootstock

How to grow

As with many of the McIntosh offspring, Empire is a heavy producer and will readily set a large crop of small apples if you let it - thin the crop just after blossom is over to get fewer but larger apples and better flavor. Apart from that, there are few issues with Empire. Be on your guard for scab, to which it is susceptible, but it is generally problem-free.

Empire likes a climate with warm autumn sunshine and cool autumn nights, and may not achieve the right texture south of zone 7. Even so its range is better than McIntosh.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

Historical details

Developed at the New York Agricultural Experiment station, Geneva. McIntosh x Red Delicious.

Empire characteristics

  • Gardening skillBeginner
  • Self-fertilityPartially self-fertile
  • Pollination group3
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • PloidyDiploid
  • Bearing regularityRegular
  • Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
  • Picking seasonLate
  • UsesEating freshJuice
  • CroppingHeavy
  • Keeping (of fruit)2-3 weeks
  • Flavor style (apples)Vinous
  • FireblightSome resistance
  • ScabSome susceptibility
  • Cedar apple rustSome resistance
  • MildewSome resistance
  • Cold hardiness (USDA)(4) -30F / -34C
  • Summer maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
  • Country of originUnited States
  • Period of origin1900 - 1949
  • Fruit colorCrimson

Similar varieties

  • See also Cortland
    Cortland
    Developed from McIntosh, Cortland is one of the most widely-grown Mac-style apples.
  • See also Enterprise
    Enterprise
    Enterprise is a modern American disease-resistant apple, good for eating fresh and cooking.
  • See also Macoun
    Macoun
    Macoun is one of the best McIntosh-style apples, with the characteristic flowery vinous flavor.