Zestar Apple Close Up
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Zestar Apple Tree

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Early-Season Apple with Outstanding Flavor

Zestar Apple (Malus 'Zestar') is a relative newcomer; first being introduced in 1999 in Minnesota. With an exceptional balance of spicy-sweet flavor against the slight tang of its crisp, juicy flesh, Zestar has quickly established itself as a must-have for the apple enthusiast.

Zestar is not only delicious, but also beautiful, with a bright red skin enhanced by delicate yellow/green highlights. It has good storage life, lasting as long as 2 months with proper refrigeration.

Zestar apple trees are cold hardy and one of the earliest to ripen. You'll be picking apples as early as August!. Cortland is a recommended pollinator for your Zestar apple trees as well as any white blossoming crab apples.

This early-ripening and long-storing apple will be a lovely addition to your home, and offer you a harvest of delectable fruit for years to come. You'll rarely find these in grocery stores and we have a hard time keeping them in stock. Order yours today!

  • Incredible flavor
  • Early harvest
  • Cold hardy
  • Excellent fresh or used in baking

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.

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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

Long-Storing, Early Ripening Fresh Eating and Cooking Apple

The Zestar® apple is another heavy hitter of the introductions coming out of the University of Minnesota under the direction of David Bedford and his team. Bedford and his team have focused on varieties that taste good, are adapted to the colder northern climates with early production, and deliver a firm, crisp texture. Their successes have been tremendous.

David Bedford grew up in North Carolina but always dreamed of living in the northern climates. After receiving his master's degree from Colorado State University, Bedford took a job at the University of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Center in 1979. The assignment was timely, as Bedford's first notable decision in 1980 was to save seedling selections slated to be destroyed. This decision would later result in the Honeycrisp apple. Good save!

Zestar® originated from a cross of State Fair x MN 1691, done in 1972. As with all plant breeding, it has undergone intense observation and wasn't introduced until 1999. The outstanding flavor and texture of this early ripening variety was immediately recognized. The flavor is described as Sweet Tart with a brown sugar overtone.

Adapted to all typical apple growing regions the Zestar® can also be grown in colder climates in Zones 3b, 4a and b climates, giving it a huge boost of additional appeal.

The standout quality comes in the Zestar's® storage. Unlike most early apples, Zestar® stores for a considerably long time, up to 2 months when picked at peak ripeness. The excellent fresh eating quality and its firmness, along with extended storage season and being a great cooking apple add to its valuable commercial qualities.

Zestar® is only one of David Bedford and his team's introductions. Other exciting selections continue to be introduced from the impactful University of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Program. Since 1878 varieties such as Haralson, Fireside, Sweet 16 and State Fair have delighted the apple loving world. Today's introductions such as Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango®, SnowSweet® and Zestar®, continues this long productive history.


Zestar Apple Tree Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-8
Growing Zones 4-8
More Information
Botanical Name Malus 'Zestar'
Mature Height 15 - 20 feet
Mature Spread 14 - 16 feet
Soil Type Widely Adaptable
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Growth Rate Medium
Fruiting Time 3 - 5 years