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Empire Apple Tree

As low as $139.72 was $232.86
Availability: In stock
Only %1 left
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Crisp Red Apples From Empire Apple Tree

  • Rich Red Fruit with Crisp White Flesh
  • Easy Care
  • Compact Tree
  • Delicious Taste and Smell

With the Empire Apple Tree (Malus 'Empire'), you get the best two of the world's most beloved apple varieties: the Red Delicious and the Macintosh. Because it offers the best characteristics of both of its parents, you know this is an apple that won't remain in your bowl for long.

Empire is an easy-to-grow apple tree that remains a steadfast favorite among growers. It offers longer-lasting fruit and a super sweet taste with a crisp snap of firm flesh inside.

You'll praise the Empire's crimson red skin and its dove white flesh, two of the attributes that make it a favorite among apple lovers. The taste is the one you remember from your childhood, sweet and desert-like, easily preferable to the snacks that you might reach for in the vending machine. Some fans say that the taste and its timeless scent beat out that of its parent, the McIntosh.

This all-purpose apple is good for everything. It's excellent as a snack for fresh eating, in fruit salads, minced into sauces, ciders, baking and it even freezes well.

At maturity, this compact tree is sized just right for the suburban or urban garden, but you can keep it even smaller with a simple summer prune. Like most Macintosh offspring, it is happy to set many, many little apples for you if you let it. You'll want to thin out the crop each year to get bigger and better apples.

The Empire requires full sun and cool autumn nights for optimal growth. While it is partially self-fertile, you'll want to give it a pollination parnter to increase your fall yield.

Nothing is better than the taste of apples picked fresh from the tree. When you grow your own Empire Apples, you also get the added benefit of knowing what does or does not go into your apples before they made their way into your family's hands. Planting an Empire Apple tree in your yard is also a great investment in your family's health and culinary pleasure for years or even generations to come.

We are proud to deliver the highest quality plants. Empire Apple Tress are no exception. Order yours now and plant this heirloom-quality apple in your ground this season!

Recommended Pollinators: Gala, GoldRush, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, SnowSweet

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

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' Choice
Botanical Name Malus 'Empire'
Mature Height 12-15 feet
Mature Spread 12-15 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Type Widely Adaptable
Moisture Low Once Established
Growth Rate Medium
Flower Color White
Foliage Color Green
Fall Color Yellow
Harvest Time Mid Season
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Fruiting Time Mid Season
When To Prune When Dormant