Northern Spy Apple

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A must-have for northern gardens. Tree blooms late to avoid late spring frost zaps. Fruit is large, bright red, and exceptionally juicy, with a crisp tender texture. One of the best apples ever to grace a pie, yet delightful when eaten fresh. In proper storage, fruit can keep up to 5 months. Originates from East Bloomfield, New York in the early 1800s. Cold-hardy. Ripens in October.

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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 White
Bloom Time Late
Fruit Color Yellow Green
Fruit Size Large
Ripens/Harvest October
Shade/Sun Full Sun
Soil Composition Loamy
Soil Moisture Well Drained
Soil pH Level 6.0 - 7.0
Taste Crisp, Juicy
Texture Firm, Tender, Fine, Crisp
Years to Bear 2 - 5
Zone Range 4 - 8

Zone Compatibility

This Variety's Zone Range 4 - 8
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

When your tree matures, it will be approximately 12 - 15' tall x 12 - 15' wide.

Recommended Spacing

We recommend spacing these trees 12 - 15' apart to ensure room for growth.


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 9 questions Browse 9 questions and 68 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
My favorite apple
Miranda S on Mar 17, 2021
Variety in the orchard
Stephen H on Feb 9, 2021
My favorite apple
Miranda S on Mar 17, 2021
My Mom's favorite apple and I love the sweet flavor, makes great applesauce! We have been unable to find it here locally (been looking for years!).
Maria M on Mar 12, 2021
Variety in the orchard
Stephen H on Feb 9, 2021
Almost as good as a bramley apple for pies
Veronica S on Feb 3, 2021
late bloom and fruit drop, suitable for northern michigan, excellent eating apple
stephen p on Jan 31, 2021
I like this apple
Christina C on Jan 25, 2021
My husband had this apple as a child. We wanted to plant one at our new home.
Gregory H on Jan 25, 2021
Hoping it will work better in MI for me than my other trees.
Bethann R on Jan 17, 2021
Supposedly long shelve life
MICHAEL T on Jan 7, 2021
Great for cider and does well in my NY location
Paul C on Jan 4, 2021
As a child I helped my grandparents with their cider business. Northern spys and macintosh blended made a great cider.
David W on Apr 23, 2020
It's my favorite apple since I was a child in NY. MAKES SUPERIOR SAUCE AND PIES!
Rosemary F on Apr 21, 2020
It sounded interesting and we wanted a cross pollinator for our yellow/golden delicious apple tree.
Daniel S on Apr 21, 2020
baking of any sort/sauce
Barbara H on Apr 20, 2020
I like full dwarf trees for ease of care and picking. It was my housemate's mother's favorite apple, and I have been very pleased by prairie spy so wanted to try this
alicia l on Apr 15, 2020
Northern Spy is a variety that we have had for years that we like for baking. I purchased these trees to replace some old trees that have died.
John S on Apr 14, 2020
remember this variety from childhood and it is delicious
elise h on Apr 11, 2020
I want to espalier this tree.
Craig F on Mar 30, 2020
Family tradition to use spys in baking always wanted one of these trees and the one I bought last year didn't take
Jennifer H on Mar 16, 2020
Best pie and all around apple for me
Jim K on Mar 14, 2020
Late spring freezes
Jacob O on Feb 14, 2020
My favorite
Dale K on Feb 13, 2020
try something new
PETER G on Feb 12, 2020
Grandparents always had these apples and the pies we're beyond delicious.
Gregory B on Feb 12, 2020
Trying new variety.
DAVID D on Jan 7, 2020
CARY B on Dec 16, 2019
I just love this meaty apple for eating and even more for sauce and pies.
Kirby S on Dec 6, 2019
We used to have two of this variety on the farm and they lasted over 100 years!
Dennis on May 30, 2019
We are setting up a small homestead and looking for a hardy good producing apple. This seems to be a good choice.
Cheryl C on May 13, 2019
I love this apple for all kinds of baking pies crisps and carmel apples
deb on Oct 10, 2018
No better all around apple.
Craig E on Apr 3, 2017
Is the best apple in the world!!!
Robert B on Mar 24, 2017
Old family favorite!
Deanna R on Mar 12, 2017
Best pie apple!
Gale S on Feb 19, 2017
Northern Spy and Granny Smith apples make the very best pies.
Alan G on Feb 14, 2017
My 90 year old grandmother... SHE grew up harvesting these apples and I am so glad I found it! I wasn't sure they were still around! This is in honor of her. Upstate NY.
Terri D on Feb 9, 2017
I grew up in New York state. This is the best baking apple for pies as endorsed by my grandmother, aunts and mother. I can't find these apples in Montana, and hope it will grow well here in the Bitterroot Valley. This valley was divided into 10 acre orchard tracts back in the 1920s and is good apple growing country.
OliveP on Feb 8, 2017
Apples keep very well and make great pies!
FRED W on Jan 31, 2017
Makes the best pie I have ever eaten
Christina N on Jan 24, 2017
Best for pies and cooking. Back up for a tree that is about 20 years old purchased from Miller Bros. which I believed you have purchased.
daniel s on Jan 13, 2017
I chose this to add to my backyard orchard, for cider mostly.
John Paul C on Jan 5, 2017
My grandmother had this apple on her New Hampshire farm- the apples are good for pies.
Laurie G on Jan 1, 2017
spy's are best for pies
tom m on Jun 12, 2016
Has to be the most cold hardy of all apples. Blossoms late, misses the early spring frost, apples hang on the tree, keep well and are excellent for cooking. Hold their shape well, don't go to mush.
Diane S on Jun 4, 2016
Tastes great!! large apple
TIMOTHY O on Jun 1, 2016
They make excellent apple pies
Christopher C on May 24, 2016
it bloomes later than others
steve on May 22, 2016
My grandma only used Spy's for her apple pies and she made the best!
Susan M on May 20, 2016
My favorite for pie! A legendary apple in Amish cookbooks, yet rare to find in area orchards, so it's time to grow my own.
Laura N on May 12, 2016
storage length
Lucia S on May 3, 2016
My Mom's favorite apple and I love the sweet flavor, makes great applesauce! We have been unable to find it here locally (been looking for years!).
Maria M on Mar 12, 2021
Almost as good as a bramley apple for pies
Veronica S on Feb 3, 2021
will 2 northern spies pollinate each other?
leslie s on Mar 1, 2017
BEST ANSWER: No, you will need another apple variety with a similar bloom time. Enterprise or Fuji would be great pollinators.
will honey crisp apple tree pollinate a northern spy apple tree?
Hugh D on Nov 25, 2019
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. The Honeycrisp is a mid-late season bloomer and it should help pollinate the late blooming Norther Spy.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
how many chill hours are required for this tree?
cjames82 on Feb 3, 2021
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Northern Spy Apple. Estimated Chilling Requirement 1000 hours below 45??F

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
How do I get free shipping?
Judyy on Jan 13, 2021
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Currently the only free shipping promo being offered is to spend 150.00 or more.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Will a honey crisp apple tree make a good pollinators for a northern spy apple tree?
Kevin M on Jun 24, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Yes these have similar late bloom times and should work for pollination.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
I have an apple tree( older well established) of unknown species. I wonder if it will do for cross pollination for a northern spy apple tree. I know it is not a northern spy?
Kevin M on Apr 21, 2020

Customer Reviews

4.5 / 5.0
15 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
They're sort of odd.
The Northern Spy trees I have always keep me guessing. They are about the last to bud, and took a long time to bud when I first bought them. Sometimes their foliage looks underdeveloped to the other varieties, but by fall they always have the most healthy looking foliage. I think it's just the way they are.

Both of mine are very well formed, but grew branches at a quite narrow angle up. The limb spreaders I bought at Stark made quick work of that, and now these are some of the best looking young trees in the orchard.

I've also heard that Spys are several years behind in producing fruit too. Mine are a few years old, but I have patience...I KNOW they do!
May 2, 2017
over 6 years ago
Very Happy with my order.
Very satisfied with the trees I orders. They arrived in good condition and I followed the directions included in the package for my bare root trees. I did add a bucket of compost to the holes while planting the 2 trees I orders. Then aged wood chips over the soil when complete. Both trees grew very well last year and stayed healthy over the winter. We are just now getting new buds for this year here in zone 4 Michigan. Thanks so much for providing a good quality product.
May 4, 2017
over 5 years ago
a little disappointed
I'm writing this review after 1 year of having this Apple tree. It started out strong last spring, and this year is the puniest of the 4 apple trees I purchased. I'm going to do some reading and see if I can't give it a boost, but my other trees put on an additional 1 to 2 feet of growth and this one has 3 to 4 inches.I will update down the line. So sad as I love these apples
June 12, 2016
over 6 years ago
A very good apple for baking! Makes the best apple pies and baked apples.
September 10, 2016
over 5 years ago
I planted the northern spy in spring 2017 with a couple other trees. It has grown the best putting on 30 inches of growth to the main trunk this summer.
September 2, 2017
Healthy Trees
I ordered 4 Northern Spy Apple Trees, 2 semi dwarf and 2 standard. They were delivered in good shape and they have been growing very nicely. I would recommend to all my friends, that they order from Stark Bros.
May 14, 2017
over 5 years ago
Spring apple planting
All the trees I received from you are alive, well and leafing out. The roots were well formed and I expect them to do well.
June 4, 2017
over 4 years ago
Northern Spy Apple
Fast growing tree so far and very health looking too!! Maybe another year and I'll have apples!!!
September 11, 2016
over 5 years ago
Another great product from Stark
My tree came in great shape and survived a very dry summer. It wintered well and has leafed out nicely.
We live in a frost prone area and needed an apple tree that blossomed late and the Northern Spy looks like a good choice. Looking forward to picking apples in a few years.
May 12, 2017
over 4 years ago
Northern Spy Apple Tree
My Northern Spy Apple tree survived the first winter, unfortunately the top part of the tree has not budded out, the lower branches are fine. I kept it surrounded by wire to keep the deer and rabbits from chewing on it which worked well. I hope the top of the tree will return. I have had good luck with Stark Bros products otherwise.
May 22, 2017
over 4 years ago