Growing Triploid Apple Trees

Most apple trees are diploids, meaning they have 2 sets of chromosomes. Some are triploids – with 3 sets. See what that means for fruit production.

Triploid Apple trees are often referred to as "pollen sterile". Without getting too into the nitty-gritty science of it, what's important to remember is that triploid apple trees are unreliable pollinators for other apple varieties. They are receptive of pollen from other apple trees that bloom at the same time, but they are not good sources for providing viable pollen to other varieties for fruit production.

Jonagold and Winesap apple trees are two examples of triploid apple trees.

Other triploid apple varieties:

  • Spigold Apple
  • Baldwin Apple
  • Tompkins County King Apple
  • Roxbury Russet Apple
  • Summer Rambo Apple
  • Gravenstein Apple
  • Rhode Island Greening Apple
  • Mutsu Apple
  • Red Stayman Winesap Apple

We make note of triploid apple varieties on our website in the product descriptions.

Growing Triploid Apple Trees in Your Fruit Garden

Make no mistake – triploid apple trees aren't "bad guys". You may notice that many well-loved, long-lived antique apple varieties also happen to be triploids. Pollination complexities aside, triploid apple trees tend to be quite vigorous and produce large-size fruit. They are also fairly disease-resistant by nature.

You can read more about triploid apple trees from Orange Pippin Trees and The Fruit Blog.

If you know your favorite apple variety happens to be a triploid, don't be discouraged! If you have the space, plant it near two other non-triploid apple trees that bloom around the same time. That way, the bases for pollination of all trees are covered. Or, if you’re limited on space, simply plant your triploid apple tree along with a self-pollinating apple tree. The self-pollinating variety will cover its own pollination needs as well as the needs of the triploid tree. And, if in doubt, plant a crabapple tree to pollinate your triploid apple tree. Crabapple trees are self-pollinating, some bear a sweet and edible fruit (like the Chestnut and Whitney varieties), and they are prolific pollinators for other apple trees.

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