Apple tree longevity depends on which apple variety you grow. Most standard apple fruit trees live 35–50 years though they can live longer. Dwarf apple trees live 15–20 years and semi-dwarf apple trees will live 20–25 years. Mature apple trees can sometimes live even longer, with one notable tree even living nearly 200 years. However, 15–50 years is the reasonable lifespan for most apple fruit trees.
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How Long Do Apple Trees Produce Fruit?
Fresh fruit production depends on the type of tree you have. A standard apple tree will produce fruit for 10–30 years. A dwarf tree will produce fruit for almost the entirety of its lifespan. A semi-dwarf tree will produce fruit for most of its life as well.
- Standard Tree: 10–30 years
- Semi-Dwarf Tree: 10–20 years
- Dwarf Tree: 10–20 years
Sometimes the productive lifespan of apple trees can be increased with grafts. However, in general, these fruit-bearing years tend to be the same across apple varieties.
What Age Do Apple Trees Stop Producing Fruit?
There’s no set age at which apple trees stop producing fruit. Full-size trees reliably bear fruit for 10–30 years. So a mature apple tree won’t produce fruit past age 35 even if it lives longer. Dwarf and semi-dwarf trees often produce fruit their whole lives, which is 10–20 years.
- There is no set age at which apple trees stop bearing fruit.
- Dwarf fruit trees usually bear fruit their entire lives.
- A standard tree may bear fruit well into its 40s.
The productive lifespan of all trees starts at around 4 years old. So, don’t be surprised when it takes a few years before your trees begin to bear fruit consistently. However, once your apple tree starts producing fruit, you’ll keep getting fresh apples for decades in most cases.
Do Apple Trees Live Forever?
Apple trees don’t live forever but in rare circumstances, they can reach incredible ages. Vancouver, Washington’s Old Apple Tree lived to nearly 200 before it was felled. This is a rare occurrence, however.
- Apple trees usually live up to 50 years old.
- The oldest apple tree lived to nearly 200 years old.
The lifespan of your apple tree does depend to some extent on what cultivar you plant. A dwarf cultivar, for instance, will be extremely unlikely to live even 50 years, let alone hundreds. You’ll be extremely lucky if an apple tree’s lifespan reaches even one century.
How to Make an Apple Tree Live Longer
The best way to get long-lived trees is to provide ideal growing conditions and climate. This starts with finding ideal soils to plant your tree in. Well-drained soil—like sandy loam works—best for apple trees. These fruit trees also require full sun (at least 6 hours of sunlight per day) for best growth. They also need cooler climates and don’t do well in areas where summer temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32℃).
- Plant your apple tree in a sunny location with well-draining soil.
- Avoid planting apple trees where they will be exposed to direct sunlight during temperatures over 90℉ (32℃).
- Add mulch around the base of your apple tree to maintain healthy soil moisture.
- Providing ideal growing conditions will give you the best shot at growing long-lived trees.
Apple trees need at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water each week and often more than this. Lastly, apple trees need organic mulch to thrive. Wood chips and sawdust are great mulches to ensure consistent soil moisture. Use this organic fertilizer for fruit trees to help your apple tree grow tall and strong. Tomato feed is also a great fertilizer for apple trees. If you provide all of these things, you will maximize the average life expectancy of your trees.
- Can be used on all varieties of fruit trees and shrubs.
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- Listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic gardens.
What is the Oldest Living Apple Tree?
The oldest living apple tree was the Old Apple Tree in Vancouver, Washington. Unfortunately, the tree died in 2020 at 194 years old, so it is no longer the holder of this title. However, the root systems of the tree remain active though and the city is trying to cultivate a new tree to grow from those roots.
- The oldest apple tree was in Vancouver, Washington until it died in 2020.
- The search for the next oldest apple tree is currently ongoing.
There is some debate about whether this new shoot will count as being the oldest living apple tree. Unfortunately, we’re unsure what the next oldest apple tree is because such info is poorly documented. At this time, the search for the oldest continuously living apple tree is ongoing.
What is the Lifespan of an Apple Tree?
The average life expectancy of apple trees runs from 15–50 years depending on the type of tree you plant. Different apple cultivars live for different periods of time. Here are the key things to keep in mind about the average life expectancy of apple trees.
- Standard varieties can live up to 50 years old usually.
- Semi-dwarf varieties live up to 25 years old.
- Dwarf varieties live up to 20 years old.
- No apple tree has ever been recorded growing older than 200 years old.
- The best way to extend your apple tree’s lifespan is by providing ideal growing conditions.
- The oldest living apple tree was in Vancouver, Washington until it died in 2020.
Remember that an apple tree’s lifespan is usually under 50 years. You’ll be extremely lucky if you get long-lived trees that survive even 75 years.