About The Dorsett Apple Tree

If you enjoy the sweet, crisp taste of Golden Delicious apples then you’ll love having a Dorsett Apple tree. This incredible tree with the southern flair is hardy enough to grow anywhere from zones 5-9.

The Dorsett’s skin is splashed with an orange-red blush hue, giving your yard a picturesque look as the apples emerge from your tree.

Of all the apple varieties, the Dorsett is the first to bloom as early as mid-January in areas with milder winter climates. That means you can expect an abundance of enormous apples as early as late June. And the Dorsett is easy to care for. Just give it plenty of sun and watch it thrive.

The Dorsett Apple Tree (Malus ‘Dorsett’) is a low chill apple tree valued for needing less than 100 chill hours to be able to produce fruit. It will also do well in more southern USDA growing zones like 5-9 where it gets warmer earlier in the year. In more milder climates, you will start seeing light pink blooms as early as mid-January and fruit as early as late June. They produce medium to large golden skin apples with hints of blue and scarlet. They are crisp and sweet, similar to a Golden Delicious with a hint of vanilla. The Dorsett Apple tree will reach a mature height and width of 10-20 feet tall/wide and will require a cross pollinator in order for the fruit to set.


Be sure that the location you plan to plant your tree will receive full sun which means at least six hours of direct sun each day. If the area receives more than half a day’s shade then the tree will not perform well. Drainage is essential so if you have an overabundance of clay, some soil amending may be required. The pH range of the soil (for the best results) is 6.0-6.5 and a soil test can determine this easily. Testing kits can be found at your local gardening center to test the acidity of your soil. If the soil is mostly sand then amending peat moss into the sand will help with moisture retention otherwise more frequent irrigation will be needed.

Planting Directions

Once your ideal planting location for the Dorsett apple has been determind there are some basic steps for planting the tree. You can raise the acidity of the soil if necessary using lime or wood ash. To lower the pH you can amend sulfur, sphagnum peat or aluminum/iron sulfate into the soil.


Growing Zones: 5-9

(hardy down to -10℉)

Growing Zones 5 thru 9

Mature Height: 10-20 ft.
Mature Width: 10-20 ft.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Spacing: 15-20 ft
Growth Rate: Moderate
Drought Tolerance: Good
Harvest Time: June – July
Fruit Color: Yelloww skin with orange/red blush
Year to Bear: Fruits 1st Year!
Chill Hours (minimum): 100

Dig Your Hole

First, dig each hole so that it is just shallower than the root ball and at least twice the width. Then loosen the soil in the planting hole so the roots can easily break through. Use your shovel or try dragging the points of a pitch fork along the sides and bottom of the hole.

planting fruit tree image


Place Your Plant

Next, separate the roots of your Dorsett Apple Tree gently with your fingers and position them downward in the hole. The top of the root flare, where the roots end and the trunk begins, should be about an inch above the surrounding soil. Then make sure the plant is exactly vertical in the hole.

Backfill Your Hole

As you backfill the hole, apply water to remove air pockets. Remove debris like stones and grass and completely break up any dirt clumps. Water your Dorsett Apple Tree again after the transplant is complete.


Your Dorsett apple will benefit from a regular watering habit each week. You may need to water more often in times of extreme heat or drought. The soil surrounding your tree should be moist, but never saturated. Light green leaves can be a sign of over watering, while drooping leaves can be a sign of both over or under watering.


Once your tree has become established and is starting to bear fruit, it will need some periodic, moderate pruning. Only prune the tree during times of dormancy making sure to remove any vigorous, upright stems which are quite common in the upper portion of the tree. Weak, damaged or dead branches should also be removed. Low hanging, droopy branches should also be removed. As a branch declines with age it should be cutback to let younger branches take over and produce better.


An annual fertilizing with a balanced 10-10-10 formula will be sufficient for your Dorsett apple. If your soil is naturally fertile then do not feed (fertilize) the tree until it has reached two years old. Be sure to only apply the fertilizer in the warmer seasons. Be sure to follow the application instructions on the fertilizer to ensure you don’t burn the roots or overdo it.


As the apples near their final stages of ripening they should be picked once they reach the correct size and color. Even if the fruit is removed while just under ripened it can be picked and ripened in the refrigerator. Dorsett apples, not unlike the Anna apple, are one of the very few that can be refrigerator kept for six to eight weeks whereas most other apples can only take about two to three weeks before going bad.

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