Empire Apple Tree Branch
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Empire Apple Tree

As low as $74.95
Availability: In stock
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Nature Hills Root Booster - 4 oz. bag- Only: $9.95

Pick Your Very Own Deliciously Crisp Red Apples

You've probably heard that nothing beats the taste of homegrown apples. "It's just all hype", you probably say to yourself.

Well, isn't it about time that you give in to the hype and see for yourself?

Empire Apple Trees are easy to grow, easy to care for and especially easy to enjoy. This cross between a classic Macintosh and a flavorful Red Delicious was first developed in the 1940's and then brought to mass production in the 1960's. Empire has the best characteristics of both apples and has delighted generations of backyard gardeners.

Besides the longer lasting fruit and sweeter taste you get from growing your own apples, you also get the added comfort of knowing just what did (or didn't) go into that apple before it found its way to your family's table. Getting an Empire apple tree from Nature Hills is an investment in your family's healthy future.

Some of the benefits of this tree are the crimson red skin and dove-white flesh that makes an apple so desirable. And let's not forget "that taste". You know the one we mean. That sweet, desserty taste that you long for when eating an apple fresh out of hand. Many people will argue that Empire even improves on the dessert-wine taste and scent that Macintosh's are so famous for.

It is the perfect size for an urban or suburban garden. It is ideal for planting under power lines or other tough-to-plant locations.

It needs full sun and cool autumn nights for optimal growth and you can increase your fall yield if you plant another apple variety close by to help pollination. Also plan to thin out the crop each year to get bigger and better apples. (Like most Macintosh offspring, it is happy to set many, many little apples for you if you let it.)

We are proud to deliver the highest quality plants. Empire Apple Tress are no exception. Order yours now before they sell out!

  • Rich red fruit with crisp white flesh
  • Easy care and problem-free
  • Compact Tree
  • Delicious taste and smell

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 .655 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
3.5" Container Equal to .67 dry quart / .74 dry liter in volume
4" Container Equal to .87 dry quart / .96 dry liter 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 NatureHills.com and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

click Here to learn more


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.
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, the table above will highlight your zone.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
4 Spring 2019
5 Spring 2019
6 Spring 2019
7 Spring 2019
8 Now
9 Now
10 Now
11 Now

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

Dedication to the Delicious Empire Apple

The Empire Apple is a classic example of natural selection and how long it takes to get a great new variety to market. The Empire apple is named after the Empire State of New York and was originally a project started by a Cornell University fruit nutritionist, Lester C. Anderson.

Anderson conducted his own research on different personal orchards, one being an orchard of Red Delicious and McIntosh apples. He was looking for the best attributes of these two successful varieties and made seed available to the University. His effort would result in one of the most successful apple varieties to come out of Cornell University Apple research program.

In 1945, A.J. Heinicke, the director of Cornell's acclaimed Agricultural Experimental Station in Geneva, went to Lester's orchard that was solely Red Delicious and McIntosh Apples. Heinicke had been the director of the Geneva research station since 1921 and was a noted pomology researcher whose work in how to maintain healthy apple trees would go on to influence generations of apple scientists.

From this orchard Heinicke harvested a large quantity of fruit, removed the seed, ran tests to determine the viability and planted out thousands of seedlings. In 1947, about 1200 of the seedlings were selected for further review and planted out at the Geneva station. Then another review and selection done in 1954 with these selections being reviewed for another 12 years.

Finally, a contemporary of Heinicke, Roger Way, who had been with the Geneva program since 1949, made another selection in 1966 and from this selection, seedling #45500-5, became the Empire Apple that was to be released at the New York State Fair in 1966.

Cornell introduced the Empire Apple for the first time, six years after A.J. Heinicke retired. He did however remain active with the University during his retirement and saw the introduction of what would be hailed as the most successful apple introduction to come out of Cornell's Geneva research program; taking 20 years from conception to introduction. No information is found to say if Lester Anderson would see his cross go into production. Heinicke would pass in February of 1971.


Empire Apple Tree Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-9
Growing Zones 4-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills Nursery
Botanical Name Malus 'Empire'
Mature Height 12 - 15 feet
Mature Spread 12 - 20 feet
Soil Type Well Drained
Moisture Moderate
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Growth Rate Medium
Flower Color White
Foliage Color Green
Fall Color Yellow
Fruiting Time Mid- September