Ben Davis Apple

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Also called mortgage lifter apple

One of the first commercially popular apple varieties! A dependable producer, this tree bears medium-size fruit that is firm and delicately aromatic. The skin is yellow with splashes of bright red. The fruit keeps well and is used for fresh eating, baking, and sauce making. Antique variety, originates from the United States, circa 1800s. Cold-hardy. Ripens in late September. Pollinator required: Choose another apple variety. See Recommended Pollinators below.

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Since 1816, Stark Bro’s has promised to provide customers with the very best fruit trees and plants. It’s just that simple. If your trees or plants do not survive, please let us know within one year of delivery. We will issue a one-time merchandise credit to your account equaling 125% of the original product purchase price. Read more about our warranty policy.


Bloom Color Pink, Red, White
Bloom Time Mid
Fruit Color Red
Fruit Size Medium - Large
Ripens/Harvest Late September-early October
Shade/Sun Full Sun
Soil Composition Loamy
Soil Moisture Well Drained
Soil pH Level 6.0 - 7.0
Taste Mildly Subacid
Texture Firm, Coarse
Years to Bear 2 - 5
Zone Range 3 - 7

Zone Compatibility

This Variety's Zone Range 3 - 7
My Hardiness Zone ?
The USDA hardiness zones offer a guide to varieties that will grow well in certain climates. Each zone corresponds to the minimum winter temperatures experienced in a given area. Make sure that your hardiness zone lies within the zone compatability range of this variety before ordering.

Size & Spacing

Mature Size

The mature size of this variety depends on the version you choose to plant:
Standard 18 - 20' tall x 18 - 20' wide
Semi-Dwarf 12 - 15' tall x 12 - 15' wide

Recommended Spacing

The space needed for this variety to grow depends on the size you plant:
Standard 18 - 20'
Semi-Dwarf 12 - 15'


This variety requires another one for adequate pollination.

Cross-pollination by a different variety is key to its growing and bearing success. Plant one of these varieties within 50' for best pollination.

Tools & Supplies

Having the proper tools and supplies when growing your own can make the difference between a good harvest and a great harvest! Here's a list that our experts recommend for this variety.

Planting & Care

Learn all about how to grow apple trees in The Growing Guide. An entire section of our website dedicated to your growing success.

Shipping Information

Estimated Delivery Date

This item is currently out of stock.

Arrives when it's time to plant

Your success is our priority. We work hard to make sure that your order arrives at the ideal time for planting in your location based on your local climate conditions.


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Questions & Answers

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Browse 7 questions Browse 7 questions and 41 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
Great reviews and a pollinator for my Courtland apple tree
Ian S on Apr 4, 2021
It sounded like I would like these apples
Jens Ingemann J on Mar 12, 2021
Great reviews and a pollinator for my Courtland apple tree
Ian S on Apr 4, 2021
me and my brothers are named after apple trees and the ben Davis is imposable to fined in northern Virginia. so I will plant my own.
benjamin l on Apr 1, 2021
It sounded like I would like these apples
Jens Ingemann J on Mar 12, 2021
An heirloom, good for our cold Wisconsin climate and more disease resistant than hybrids.
Anne M on Feb 22, 2021
cold hardy and firm texture stores well
Jeffrey D on Feb 18, 2021
Trying new variety.
DAVID D on Jan 7, 2020
A good choice for my soil type and colder climate
DAVID N on Jun 20, 2019
so far every tree is doing good , packing is great
Anthony D on May 19, 2019
Tree size time to bear and flavor.
Darren E on Mar 1, 2019
Maureen S on Feb 22, 2019
I like to grow some of the older varieties as well as some of the new.
joseph West on May 2, 2018
Classic Apple, great storage apple
Vee K on Apr 25, 2018
We are so happy to see this Ben Davis apple offered. Love this apple for pies. We have an old orchard on our farm and it has one Ben Davis apple tree left in it that is almost dead. Glad to be able to replace it.
DEBORAH L on Jan 10, 2018
Because this is the apple my aunt had on her farm & my Dad would get apples from her to be canned, every yr. Good pie apple. Doesn't cook up to applesauce.
Beverly D on Jun 1, 2017
One of my Daddy's favorite - Virginia farmer
JADA U on Feb 18, 2017
Liked the idea of the old heirloom tree
CARLIE F on Sep 17, 2016
I love heirloom vegtables and plants....going to try this apple tree!
Jeri R on Sep 6, 2016
Antique variety
Christopher D on Jun 20, 2016
Good for fresh eating, and heirloom variety.
David on Jun 5, 2016
Love the flavor of this great apple.
KATHRYN W on Jun 2, 2016
Climate zone compatibility 3A
Chris Y on Apr 27, 2016
me and my brothers are named after apple trees and the ben Davis is imposable to fined in northern Virginia. so I will plant my own.
benjamin l on Apr 1, 2021
An heirloom, good for our cold Wisconsin climate and more disease resistant than hybrids.
Anne M on Feb 22, 2021
I understand the Ben Davis is a rare apple. Where did you find the genetics?
Michele on Jan 31, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Re: the origin ... this is from "A Life of Apples": Although the origin of the Ben Davis is somewhat murky, the most commonly accepted history is that its story began in Kentucky in the year 1799. That year, William Davis and John Hills left Virgina for Kentucky and settled near Davis' brother, Cpt. Ben Davis in Berry's Lick, Kentucky. Shortly after, Hills traveled back east to either Virginia or Carolina and returned with some young apple seedlings. Some of these were planted on the land of Cpt. Ben Davis and root shoots from one of these trees was later used to plant a small orchard. The apples in this orchard began to draw attention and as they gained recognition as a noteworthy variety, suckers from the original Davis orchard were planted around Kentucky and Tennessee. The apple found its way further north when the Hill Family moved to Illinois, taking trees with them to plant at their new home. By 1865 millions of Ben Davis trees could be found throughout the United States, especially in its southern reaches. By 1893, Stark Bro's was looking for something to replace it because it just plain didn't taste that great, despite its cold-hardiness and keeping ability, so we solicited samples for an International New Fruit Fair and discovered the Red Delicious apple. The rest, they say, is history. :-)
Am I to understand this is crossed with a Red Delicious? (re_Ben Davis is a rare apple tree)
Bonita B on May 6, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I think you might have your stories mixed up. Ben Davis originated way back in the 1800s, before Red Delicious was ever discovered. It is not a rare apple tree; it is less common than it used to be, when it was the most widely grown apple in America, but it can still be found in a number of places, including at Stark Bro's.
What are other good pollinators for the Ben Davis apple tree besides Granny Smith and Red Delicious?
Ben D on May 11, 2019
BEST ANSWER: There are dozens - the better among them are: Blondee, Braeburn, Cortland, Freedom, Cox's Orange Pippin, Gala, Jonafree ... make sure your choice is suitable for your growing zone.
what apple tree grows best in clay soil?
barrzee on Mar 10, 2021
BEST ANSWER: There is no variety that does better with clay soil over the other because it is a harder soil to grow in. We suggest using a semi dwarf as the root stock will cope with heavier clay soils. However amending your soil is always best.

Customer Reviews

4.6 / 5.0
16 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Very prolific growth on Ben Davis
Of all the trees I have purchased from Stark's, both Ben Davis trees have won the race in creating new growth the most quickly. Other trees have bloomed, but these little guys just shot for the moon! I anticipate apples on them in a year or two.
May 2, 2017
over 5 years ago
Second year for bare root tree
I received my bare root tree early in the summer of 2015. It is now thriving and 7 to 8 feet tall. I will have my first apples (3) this fall and can't wait to try them.
August 14, 2016
over 5 years ago
So far so good
The tree is only 2 years old, but it was loaded with blossoms this spring despite a hard winter with a long period of ice and a very late snow. I've pinched off most of the flowers, but hope to try at least one or two apples this fall. I can't give it 5 stars yet because I haven't had it long, nor do I know the taste.
June 3, 2019
over 3 years ago
Ben Davis Apple
The Ben Davis is a favorite of mine due to its heritage as an all purpose apple that served many farm families well.
July 13, 2017
over 4 years ago
Hreat quality.
Rowing over head high in their first summer. Looking forward to fruit soon.
June 11, 2017
over 4 years ago
Trees for Alaska.
Growing great the first 1year. Living on Kodiak island. We don't get a super harsh winter. But so far so good.
June 16, 2016
over 5 years ago
Growing faster than Gala and Red Delicious
Planted two semi-dwarf, along with a Gala and a Red Delicious. They were all the same size when planted, but the Ben Davis are crushing the other two as far as growth - way way bigger in their second year of growing, and they are all in similar spots as far as light, soil, etc. I'm hoping to get the first (small) crop of apples starting next year.
August 23, 2016
Ben Davis Apple
I planted the Ben Davis Apple tree last season. It bloomed this spring and has about 3 dozen apples on it. It appears to be very healthy so far.
May 8, 2016
over 6 years ago
Growing Great in Zone 8b
I purchased and planted this tree from Stark Brothers 5 years ago. It has been thriving in my climate of north central Arizona at 4,000 ft elevation in zone 8b. It has been a great addition to my orchard.
April 15, 2018
Nice looking little tree
lt was doing very good but sadly a deer ate it all the way down to the numb so don’t know if it will make it or not. But the tree was in good shape will consider buying another after I take care of my deer problem.
May 6, 2019
over 3 years ago