Spitzenburg apple tree
Esopus Spitzenberg is one of the best-flavored American heirloom apples, and a favorite of Thomas Jefferson.
Spitzenburg apple trees for sale
1Small 1-year bare-root tree
Mature height: 6ft-9ft after 10 years
2Medium 1-year bare-root tree
Mature height: 8ft-12ft after 10 years
Without doubt Esopus Spitzenburg is one of the great American apple varieties. It has a true aromatic flavor and has been widely praised by American pomologists down the centuries. The noted English author Hogg writing at the end of the 19th century also liked it, calling it "a most excellent dessert apple".
This is not a variety to eat straight from the tree - it needs to be stored for at least a month in a cold store (or fridge) for the flavor to mature - and it will keep until well into the new year. The flesh is dense and buttery with a rich sharp yet sweet quality, great for eating fresh on a winter's day - but also useful in the kitchen and good for juicing.
How to grow
It is almost a truism with apples that the varieties with the best flavor are the hardest to grow. The main challenge with Esopus Spitzenberg is that it has poor disease resistance, although its natural vigour and productiveness helps it to keep going.
The flavor is at its best in cooler climates, and like many heirloom varieties Spitzenburg likes warm autumn days and cool autumn nights. However it has a wide climate range and should be successful in the southern states and southern California.
Advice on fruit tree pollination.
Discovered near Esopus, New York, in the 18th century and well-known by the 1790s when Thomas Jefferson ordered some to plant at Monticello.
- Gardening skillExperienced
- Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
- Pollination group4
- Pollinating othersAverage
- Bearing regularityBiennial tendency
- Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
- WildlifeRHS Plants for Pollinators
- Picking seasonLate
- UsesEating freshCulinaryJuice
- Keeping (of fruit)3 months or more Should be stored for at least a month before eating.
- Flavor style (apples)Aromatic
- General resistancePoor
- FireblightVery susceptible
- CankerVery susceptible
- ScabVery susceptible
- Cedar apple rustSome susceptibility
- Cold hardiness (USDA)(4) -30F / -34C
- Summer maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)Hot (>30C / 86F)
- Country of originUnited States
- Period of origin1800 - 1849
- Fruit colorOrange / Red
- AwardsSlow Food - Ark of Taste