University of Illinois Extension


ApplesApples are the most popular backyard tree fruit for northern Illinois and other parts of the state. Apples grafted on dwarfing rootstocks occupy less space as compared to trees grafted on semi-dwarf and seedling rootstocks. Plant apples on a site with full sun and well-drained soil. Dig a hole that will accommodate all the roots. Plant at a proper depth based on the type of rootstock (graft union 3-4 inches above soil line for trees grafted on dwarfing rootstocks and below soil line for standard trees). Prune the plant by heading it back to 30 inches tall immediately after planting. A number of varieties are available (see following table), with variation in time of ripening and best use (cooking, eating, or both). Scab immune (SI) varieties are resistant to apple scab disease. Plant at least two varieties to assure cross-pollination. 'Winesap' and 'Turley' have sterile pollen, however, so don't include it as a pollinating variety in the plan.

Tree Fruit Suggestions for Northern Illinois


Summer eating & cooking:
'Stark Earliest,' 'Viking Transparent', 'Redfree', 'Pristine (SI)'

Early fall eating & cooking:
'Prima' (SI), 'Gala,' 'Empire,' 'Ginger Gold', 'Mollies Delicious', 'Ozark Gold', 'Sansa', 'Williams Pride'

Fall eating & cooking:
'Jonathan,' 'Golden Delicious', 'Red Delicious,' 'McIntosh', 'Honeycrisp', 'Cortland', 'Liberty', 'Jonagold'

Winter eating & cooking:
'Winesap,' 'Turley,' 'Fuji,' 'Rome', 'Enterprise', 'Braeburn', 'Mutsu', 'Cameo', 'Goldrush (SI)'

Plant any two except 'Winesap' and 'Turley' (both have sterile pollen) for cross-pollination

For more information on apples, please visit our Apples & More website.

Small Fruit Crops for the Backyard - University of Illinois Extension