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King David apple tree

King David
King David is listed in the RHS Plants for Pollinators
  • Picking season: Very late
  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Pollination group: 3

King David is a handsome southern apple. The flushed orange skin, reminscent of Jonathan, one of its probable parents, becomes much darker as the season progresses.

The apples hang on the tree almost to winter, and are at their best for eating at this point. Unusually for such a late variety it is not a particularly long keeper.

King David apple trees for sale

You can pre-order now for spring 2025

  • 1Semi-dwarf 1-year bare-root tree $37.95
    Mature height: 8ft-12ft after 10 years
    G.969 rootstock
  • 2Semi-standard 1-year bare-root tree $37.95
    Mature height: 10ft-16ft after 10 years
    MM.111 rootstock

How to grow

King David is a vigorous tree, with good disease resistance, including reasonable resistance to fireblight. It regularly features in online grower discussions on disease-resistant apples.

It is suitable for both cold and warm zones, and one of the easiest varieties for the backyard orchard.

Bitter pit can be a problem in younger trees, this is sometimes caused by over-feeding (particularly of nitrogen). It is also important to thin the fruitlets in late spring, this helps ensure the remaining fruits achieve a good size, and also prevents the tree lapsing into bearing only in alternate years.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

History

King David was found growing in a hedgerow in Washington County, Arkansas in 1893. It was subsequently introduced for sale by the famous Stark Brothers nursery.

The parentage of King David is not certain, but most authorities agree it is probably a seedling of Jonathan, pollinated either by Winesap or Arkansas Black (which is itself thought to be descended from Winesap).

King David characteristics

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Pollination group3
  • Pollinating othersPoor
  • Picking seasonVery late
  • UsesEating freshCulinaryJuiceHard cider
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-2 months
  • General resistanceGood
  • FireblightVery resistant
  • ScabSome resistance
  • Cedar apple rustSome resistance
  • Cold hardiness (USDA)Zone 4 (-34C)
  • Summer maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)Hot (>30C / 86F)
  • Country of originUnited States
  • Period of origin1850 - 1899
  • Fruit colorCrimson