Home Growing Fruit Great Apple Trees for Seattle

Great Apple Trees for Seattle

Great Apple Trees for Seattle
Jonagold Apples
Nothing like a bowl of fresh apples within arm’s reach.

Beni Shogun Fuji Apple

Beni Shogun Fuji apple is one of my favorite fresh eating apples. Because Fuji needs a long growing season, and I live west of the Cascades where long summers rarely vacation, I was in search of a sport of Fuji that was better suited for cooler climates. I found Beni Shogun Fuji and I’m happy to report old Beni is a champ, weathering our cool growing season admirably. The apples were glowing red and firm as an unripe pear. A few weeks in the fridge and they mellowed into juicy little sugar bombs.

Bramley's Seedling Apple

Bramley’s Seedling apple is handsdown my favorite baking apple. It’s a tree that says stand back, I’m ready to grow some great cooking apples and plenty of them–such a very heavy producer, that Bramley’s Seedling usually requires support stakes to keep the overloaded limbs from breaking. Apples are big, firm, crisp and flavorful–tart for sure, and perfect for cooking or eating fresh though on the uber-tart side.

Cameo Apples

Cameo apple had me at hello. I was willing to take a chance on this apple, not sure how well it would grow in Western Washington. You should be able to find Cameo in your produce section, so give it a try. It is a juicy, crisp fresh eating apple suitable simply for dessert. Normally cameos are more red than yellow; perhaps their light blush is in response to my fondness toward them.

Esopus Spitzenberg Apple

Esopus Spitzenberg apple is often known as the preferred apple of Thomas Jefferson. After its first harvest, I’d have to concur it is very good and I look forward to next year’s crop when the tree has had time to mature. It’s a very firm apple that rewards  you with more flavor and depth if left to mellow in a cool place for a week or two.

Jonagold Apples

Jonagold apple is an amazingly good apple in my orchard. In fact, if I could only plant a couple apple trees, Jonagold would top the list. As a cross between a Gold Delicious and Jonathan, it brings a lot of flavor to the table. It is super sweet but finishes off with a very nice tartness. Fresh eating or cooking up a storm, this is my prize pick for best apple this year. More from WSU extension.

York Apple

York is one of those apples that tastes like it has a history (and it does). Discovered in 1830 in York, Pennsylvania, the apple enjoys a subtle flavor and appealing, firm texture.  While not overly sweet, York is an apple I could eat everyday, whether or not it actually did keep the doctor away. Big and lop-sided usually, it’s also a very good baking apple.

That’s about it for now, but I have a couple other newly planted varieties I’ll be reporting on later.

What I was blogging about a year ago (what else, apples): Bramley’s Seedling: Eye on the Pie (Apple)

Added 2011: Some new apple trees to crow about.


  1. I do Elizabeth; in fact, I think the first time I experienced an amazingly great apple was in the eighth grade at a farmer’s market in Lancaster County, PA. Oow wee it was fine.

  2. I’ve got blueberry bushes aplenty, just no berries, though this coming summer I expect my first repectable crop. Now if I could just find someone to make a respectable pie, and the circle is complete.

  3. Bramley apples? That’s it, you’re on my blogroll! What a magnificent orchard, Tom. Do you pick green apples to make the green apple jelly Ferber uses as a base for most of her “pectin-deficient” jams?

  4. Splendid Apples!

    BTW, have you read the apple chapter in Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire? A lovely read about the human-apple relationship (and not just from the human perspective, but from the apple’s too).

    I can loan you my copy. He profiles four plants: Apple, Tulip, Cannabis sativa and Potato.

  5. I have bees but they’ve been more like pet pollinators than purveyors of golden honey. I lost my hive over the last several years. The bees disappeared. Then in spring, new bees would move in to steal the old honey and end up staying. The hive is healthy for now–bees a plenty. So perhaps 2010 is the year for a sugary harvest.

  6. Good selections of apple photos. I am also into fruit growing, but mostly grapes. Have you ever tried the English Apple Suntan? My favorites are the Russets, like Roxburry Russet.

  7. David, I’m new to russets but they are quickly becoming my some of my favorites as insects tend to leave them alone since they apple isn’t red. I currently have Hudson’s Golden Gem and look to plant Ashmead’s kernel, but am now eager to check out your suggestions. Thanks.

    Any good tips on good grapes to grow for short growing season climates?

  8. I envy your diverse crop of apples. I wish we were able to plant a variety of fruit trees, but that’s not possible here in the city. Have a delicious Thanksgiving!

  9. I’m baking one of my high apple pies today and wishing for your bounty of apples…such variety. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving in your beautiful place…

  10. Hi, Tom. I just found your site after reading your chocolate cake comments on Bitten. I love it. I have always loved Vashon since doing some house sitting there back in the ’80s (i’m from Tacoma, now living in Bullhead City, AZ.)
    I mostly agree with your apple review – but, no Gravensteins?

  11. Hi Kim, you are indeed an apple connoisseur. Gravenstein is a great early apple really well-suited for pies and baking. It’s on my list to plant. I am sadly missng it in my orchard–but not for long! Thanks for the kind words and enjoy that AZ sun.

  12. I love your photos, list and descriptions. I’ve been eyeing a few of those varieties for years, but am hesitant to risk anything that is listed as ripening in early October because of our notorious potential early fall frosts.

    Um, what do you do for insect control? My few apples do pretty well here in Central Oregon, but I haven’t solved the evil worm problem yet and wormy apples are the yucks.

  13. Hi Kathy, we have two big insect problems here: apple maggot and coddling moth. Apple maggot ruins an apple as it works its way through every edible inch of the apple. Coddling moth is less damaging as the larva tends to attack the core and seeds, often times leaving an edible apple with a scary looking core, but still not suitable for market.

    Either way, I prefer to keep both culprits out of the orchard. Currently, I use those ridiculous looking nylon footies that you slip over the immature apples to create a protective screen that they stretch as they grow. I’ll blog about it shortly. I also put tanglefoot on red balls and then hang them in the trees. The insects are attracted to the color and stick to the balls.

    Keep the area around your trees cleaned up. Dropped infested apples just continue the life cycle.

    I’m also researching a homemade concoction that attracts the two, and they drown in the bottle of goo. Let me do some more research and I’ll post my findings. Good luck!

  14. total agreement on the johnagold, i have abt 16 diff types here in western. wa. and its on my top 3 for sure. i used the nylon booties also and its been working for me. a very good apple here is the Liberty, the fruit fly and moth leave it alone and its a great eating apple. It would also be hard to beat an apple called the Mutsu when left on the tree until it turns yellow its amazing. vince

  15. Great tips Vince–thanks! I may have to try the Mutsu. I’m looking forward to my Liberty tree producing this season; it’s been slow to grow for me, sort of a sleep, creep and hopefully this year, a leap in growth.

  16. Annette, I feel your pain. I have Cherry Cox Pippin that is a scabby mess. Out it goes. If you’re a gal who likes pie, Bramley’s Seedling rocks the pie pan, then again, so does about any apple on this list. (Cameo is a great fresh eating apple.)

  17. Annette @ SE, I feel for you, my Frost Peach also has some leaf curl this year. The good news is they tend to outgrow it. My older trees have just a few affected leaves. As for apple scab, Akane is supposed to be scab resistant. It may take a couple years for it to grow into its resistance. So fret not, it may take a couple seasons, but fruit is in your future.

  18. That makes me happy because I love the pink sauce from them apples! But no hope for the Cox Pippin,eh? If not then out it comes and in with 2 arbequena olives. I had an epiphany while daydreaming looking into the backyard the other week. I belive I can arbor and espalier more apple trees back there. It’s full sun all winter until right about now when an extremely large deciduous tree throws about 4 yards into part shade for the summer. That *should* be ok timing for early variety fruit set and still enough sun hours for whatever fruit had already set to ripen. My strawberries back there are prolific so I’m hoping that means apples would be too. Long story short, means I can shift some fruit production to the back and trial some olives. Wouldn’t that be cool if it worked? xo!

  19. Hi Annette, I don’t hold out much hope for the Cox Pippin. I have no idea how it grows so well in the UK. Trust me on the Bramley’s Seedling (another UK favorite). This tree is vigorous, fruit is large, taste is tart and complex, and baking worthiness superb. You may be able to find it at farmers markets this fall for a taste test. I like your olive plan. Brave girl, go for it and let me know how they do.

  20. I like your recommendations for apples – and looking at yours from a local perspective (for me) has really got me excited as to what varieties to try this upcoming year. Can you tell me, would you be able to make scionwood available from your plantings? I would love to see your place. Thanks! Dominic

  21. Great post. Nice to see reviews of various apples and how well they grow in your region. About to head to a local apple festival and I look forward to trying as many as I can, especially the ones you recommend.



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