McIntosh Apple Tree

Availability: Out of stock

McIntosh Apple America's Favorite Heritage Variety

  • Outstanding Early Fruit
  • Heavy Producing
  • Adapted to a Wide Range of Climates
  • Both Cold Hardy and Low Chill
  • Famous Heirloom Variety
  • Disease Resistant

McIntosh Apple is famous not for its crunch, but rather the snap. From the first bite, the classic McIntosh snap of the skin alerts you to prepare for the perfect blend of tartness to sugar that is so much the reason for its popularity.

McIntosh Apple tree produces heavy crops of small to medium-sized apples that ripen and are ready for harvest around mid-September. Often, McIntosh Apple crops persist into early winter, as this tree is hardy and can easily withstand colder temperatures.

The tree is cold hardy, but it's also adapted to a wide range of climates. Recent studies have determined McIntosh to have a low chill requirement, as well. Fruit sets have been reported into what would be considered extremely low chill zones 10 and 11a.

The classic apple tree in the landscape, the McIntosh is a decorative addition to your yard with its show of delicate apple blossoms in early spring. As the apples begin to develop, you'll enjoy watching as your fruit transition into red over green, decorating the tree amid the vibrant dark green leaves.

When you're craving apples at the end of the summer, growing your own McIntosh tree is here to satisfy your sweet tooth. Not only do McIntosh apples grow from lovely trees, but these delicious apples also ripen early in the season, making them a convenient go-to snack. These apples are great for eating.

Classic All Purpose McIntosh Apple Tree

The sweet-tart taste and tender white flesh of the McIntosh Apple make it great for snacking. But there is a lot more to this unique variety than just fresh eating. The "Mac's" were the first of the all-purpose apples.

McIntosh Apples have the perfect balance of acid to sugar. This makes them great for butter, jelly and cider. And no county fair would never be the same without a McIntosh candied apple on a stick.

For bakers, McIntosh cooks down into a soft consistency. Slice and mix with other varieties, such as Winesap, or Gala Apples to produce the perfect filling for the world's best Apple Pie. And there is nothing that beats the flavor of a "Mac" apple sauce.

Don't delay in getting this tree planted in your garden. The sooner you plant, the faster you'll begin enjoying the wonderful fresh fruit harvest from your backyard.

Pollination Partners for McIntosh Apples

McIntosh requires a pollinator, so when planting, remember to think of a later or earlier ripening variety to extend your harvest of apples. Be sure to select varieties that are recommended for the USDA Growing zone you are planting in. Enter your zip code in the Zone Finder to see what zone you are in.

An early ripener, the McIntosh apple tree is one of the earliest of the apples to ripen. When planning your selection, don't forget to plant a few Apple varieties. McIntosh will be your early ripening variety.

To extend your season of harvest, plant the McIntosh with the mid-season Winesap and a late-season Arkansas Black Apple. You'll gain an heirloom harvest of some of the finest-eating apples known. To increase pollination, plant your McIntosh with another Apple tree like the Anna, Centennial Crabapple, Cox's Orange Pippin, CrimsonCrisp, Cripps Pink, Cripps Ted, Dolgo Crabapple, Freedom, Frostbite, Fuji, Granny Smith, Haralson, Jonathan, SnowSweet, Sweet Sixteen, Wealthy, WineCrisp, Wolf River.

#ProPlantTips for Care

This crisp, juicy Apple grows best in well-drained soil with full sun exposure. A moderate amount of moisture is required to ensure the McIntosh tree produces a full crop of delicious, ripe apples.

You'll want to plant your McIntosh where it will get plenty of sunlight, as full sun exposure is needed to grow. Fruiting time can take anywhere from three to five years, but if you have a little patience, the apples this tree produces are well worth the wait.

McIntosh Apple can be maintained to any height with pruning. It is always recommended that fruit trees be maintained below 10 feet for ease of maintenance and harvesting.

All apples require a certain amount of care in different regions of the country. Check with your local Ag Extension Agency to find out apple care recommendations for your area. Nature Hills carries a wide range of natural and conventional products to help with your fruit tree care.

When planting, mix some HSU Growing Supply Leaf Compost into soils with low organic matter to get your tree off to a great start, In any soil, the Fertilome Root Stimulator will aid in the quick adjustment of its new home.

McIntosh Apple was a chance seedling discovered by John McIntosh in the early 1800s, while clearing his property in Fall St Lawrence and Alexander, Canada. By the beginning of the 20th century, the McIntosh Apple was the #1 variety planted in Canada and throughout the upper Midwest and East Coast in the United States.

Order one of America's favorite apple trees today!

Chilling Requirements: Moderate to High 500 to 1000 hours

McIntosh Apple Tree Frequently Asked Questions

When to Plant McIntosh Apple Trees

Planting Bareroot trees as soon as you can dig a hole in spring and until hot weather, the earlier the better. Plant container Apple trees throughout the growing season with complete success - that is the benefit of container plants - to extend the planting season. Your County Agricultural Extension Office is a great resource for first and last frost dates in your area.

How to Plant McIntosh Apple Trees

Dig a large hole only as deep as needed to accommodate the bareroot or container root ball, and twice as wide. Add Nature Hills Root Booster to speed root establishment. Remove the pot or bag and situate it into the hole so the top of the soil (soil line if bareroot), is level with the new location's soil being careful not to plant too deep. Water in again very well and backfill with the same soil you dug up, tamping down gently to ensure there are no air pockets.

Top off with a 3-4 inch thick layer of Arborist mulch. Consider staking your tree to keep its trunk growing straight for the first year to ensure it stands tall against strong winds and drifting snow.

When to Prune McIntosh Apple Trees

Trim off any broken branches from delivery as soon as you take them out of the box. Prune and trim apple trees while dormant, in late winter or early spring, before you see new growth.

How to Prune McIntosh Apple Trees

Dormant prune to:

  • Remove any double leaders or narrow crotch angles
  • Eliminate any crossing branches
  • Thin interior branching and leave the fruiting spurs and strong branches in place opening up the canopy
  • Branching at least 24-36 inches above the ground

Prune Apple trees in the summer to:

  • Control size and shape by reducing the length of longer new growth on vigorous trees
  • Remove water sprouts on the main trunk or older branches in the crown
  • Remove suckers at the base of the trunk
  • Thin fruit during heavy years on established trees

How to Care for McIntosh Apple Trees

Growing an apple tree is easy when proper soil, good drainage, attention to moisture, and regular fertility are maintained. Once you've chosen an apple tree that works for your climate, in the size you need for your landscape, and its pollinator (if needed), then you've accomplished half the battle!

  • Apple trees do best in full sun and well-drained soil
  • Water your apple trees when it gets dry - especially during the fruit production stage, and drought periods to keep it stress-free
  • Use arborists' wood chips to mulch over the roots of your apples and have your soil tested to see what your soil may be lacking before adding fertilizers
  • Maintenance pruning and shaping

Apple trees will tolerate a wide range of soils, so long as water and nutrients are not limited and the pH level is adequate.

How to Fertilize McIntosh Apple Trees

For the first year, water alone is most important. It is always best to get a soil test to see what your soil is lacking before adding more fertilizers. Once established, a fertilizer routine may be beneficial. We do offer some excellent slow-release organic options, applied according to the package directions.

Fruit trees need more phosphate and it's possible to apply too much nitrogen which affects the soil's pH. Test soil acidity or alkalinity using a pH Tester.

Fertilize in spring when you first see new growth emerging.

  • Don't overdo it
  • Phosphates are your friends
  • Pay attention to pH in areas with extremely high or low soil pH
  • Follow the directions

McIntosh Apple Tree Pollinating Info

McIntosh is not self-fruiting and needs a pollinating partner. Pair with one of these varieties:

  • Anna
  • Centennial Crabapples
  • Cox's Orange Pippin
  • CrimsonCrisp
  • Cripps Pink
  • Cripps Ted, Dolgo Crabapple
  • Freedom
  • Frostbite
  • Fuji
  • Granny Smith
  • Haralson
  • Jonathan
  • SnowSweet
  • Sweet Sixteen
  • Wealthy
  • WineCrisp
  • Wolf River

Harvest Times for McIntosh Apple Trees

McIntosh's are typically ready to harvest in September.

Early-Season? Mid-Season? Late-Season? The terminology can be confusing for new apple tree growers. Weather, climate and your tree determine when it's ripe.

For Apples:

  • Early-season is usually June-July
  • Mid-season can be August-September
  • Late-season can be from late September-November

The growing season consists of spring, summer, and fall, and varies with climate and weather. Areas with longer growing seasons in the warmer hardiness zones can greatly affect the harvest times for each particular apple variety grown in your area. Learn which growing zone you are in.

What Shipping Options Do You Offer? works closely with our growers and nursery professionals to ensure we ship when it is most appropriate for your area. Our goal is to deliver the hardiest plants by avoiding extreme high and low temperatures. Check out our shipping schedule for more information and to learn our wills and won'ts when it comes to shipping plants. Find your McIntosh Apple Tree for sale here at!

Rootstocks Explained

Apple trees have been grafted onto different rootstocks since before the mid-1800s. Different rootstocks are used to improve the anchoring of trees, eliminate diseases, and reduce the natural mature size of the tree itself. While there are many different types of rootstock, they are all labeled as being either Dwarf, Semi-Dwarf, or Standard.

The apple descriptions, including flowering, pollination, and apple characteristics are the same whether the plant is grown on a standard rootstock or some varying dwarfing rootstock. The overall size can vary by climate and soil but the understock used is ultimately what affects the mature size.

There will be some variation in sizes but as a guide, we are suggesting the overall mature size of these apple varieties are:

Semi-Dwarf Apples

  • Height: 12-18 feet
  • Spread: 10 - 15 feet

Standard Apples

  • Height 18 - 25 feet
  • Spread: 15 - 18 feet

Remember that all fruit tree sizes can easily be altered if needed by simple pruning as the trees grow and develop.

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

Click Here to learn more

Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
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Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates

Mysterious McIntosh Apple

The story of the McIntosh Apple is a story of love and luck, and it will continue to be told for years to come.

John McIntosh was born in 1777 in the Mohawk Valley in New York. There, he met the love of his life, Dolly Irwin. John's family did not approve of Miss Irwin's family who were loyalist. In 1796, McIntosh would leave his family to follow his love to Upper Canada. Unfortunately, by the time he finds the family, Dolly Irwin had passed away.

John settles in as a farmer in this harsh northern climate and makes modest gains. In 1801, he marries Hannah Doren and continues to farm until 1811, when he swaps his land for some undeveloped land that his brother-in-law has. Though the land was undeveloped, it had promise.

While clearing the land, John comes upon a group of wild seedling apples which he recognizes. Knowing that the climate was not the best for apple trees, he transplants them to his yard hoping that a more adapted apple variety might occur. What came out of those wild apple seedlings was the McIntosh Apple.

John McIntosh began selling seedling of his special fruit, but the fruit from the seedlings were never that good. Then, about 1835, John's son Allan (who many say should be credited with the introduction) learns about grafting and soon begins selling the apple variety, called the McIntosh Red, from the family farm.

It is still unknown what the parent varieties are, but some speculate that the Fameuse, also known as Snow, has many traits in common. Though in the early 1800's, in Upper Canada, there are very few other apple varieties besides Crabapples to act as a parent cross. Others have speculated varieties Fall St. Lawrence and Alexander as the parent cross. So, the mystery of the delicious McIntosh Apple continues.


McIntosh Apple Tree Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-10
Growing Zones 4-10
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Malus 'McIntosh'
Mature Height Semi-Dwarf Height: 12 - 18 feet | Standard Height: 18 - 25 feet
Mature Spread Semi-Dwarf Spread: 10 - 15 feet | Standard Spread: 15 - 18 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Widely Adaptable
Moisture Low Once Established
Growth Rate Medium
Foliage Color Green
Harvest Time Early Season
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Fruiting Time Early Season
Pruning Time When Dormant