Zestar!® Apple Tree Overview
The Zestar!® apple tree is well known not only for its cold hardiness, but also for its beautiful apples with a unique zesty flavor. In fact, unlike other early season apple trees which are more soft, the Zestar!® apple tree produces crispy juicy apples which will ripen in late August in Minnesota. When you bite into them you’ll taste the well balanced sweet-tart flavor with a hint of brown sugar, which is what makes their apples so unique. The University of Minnesota’s Horticultural Research Center, which also has developed other famous cold hardy varieties such as Honeycrisp, Sweet 16, Haralson, and Honeygold, introduced this apple tree in 1999 by combining State Fair x MN 1691.
Just like any other apple tree, the Zestar!® apple tree grows the best when it’s planted in full sun in well drained soil. Because it was developed in a cold climate, it also grows best in cold climates. Additionally, the first two years, it will be very vigorous and then as it matures, will become moderately vigorous. Once they are ready early in the season, you can pick them and eat them fresh or start cooking with them! If there are too many to enjoy at once, you can store them for up to two months in a cold storage.
- Uses: Eating fresh and cooking
- Taste: Sweet-tart taste with a hint of brown sugar and a light crispy, juicy texture
- Size: Large
- Color: Red blush over a green base
- Hardiness Zones: 3b-8
- Disease resistance
- Scab – Very susceptible
- Mildew – Some resistance
- Fireblight – Some resistance
- Cedar apple rust – Some resistance
- Harvest period: late August, early
- Flowering Group: 1
- Cross Pollinates with: Dolgo, Duchess of Oldenburg, Wickson, and McIntosh to name a few.
- Cultivation: This apple tree is precocious and has good cropping. It is also vigorous and does especially well on dwarf rootstock.
- Storage: You can store the apples for up to 2 months without the apple losing its flavor.