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McIntosh Apple Tree

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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 its snap. From the first bite, the classic MacIntosh 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, these delicious apples 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 makes 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, 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.

#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 great start, In any soil, the Fertilome Root Stimulator will aide 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!

Recommended pollinators: Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith

Chilling Requirements: Moderate to High 500 to 1000 hours

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

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
#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.

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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.

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 14.95
20 - 49.99 17.95
50 - 69.99 19.95
70 - 99.99 24.95
100 - 129.99 29.95
130 - 130+ Approx 25%

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 4-11
Growing Zones 4-11
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 Type Widely Adaptable
Moisture Low Once Established
Growth Rate Medium
Flower Color White
Foliage Green
Harvest Time Early Season
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Fruiting Time Early Season
When To Prune When Dormant