Cortland Apple Tree Truth

Apples (Malus domestica) are precious not only for eating out of hand, however for making apple products like apple juice, cider, applesauce, baked goods, dried apples and apple butter. Not all apple varieties are suited to all purposes, since cultivars differ in fruit texture, tartness, taste and keeping qualities. Cortland apples are a long time general purpose favored, with delicious white flesh for eating and cooking and lots of juice for cider.


The Cortland apple resulted out of a breeding program at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1898, the apple number Ben Davis, known for its cold-hardiness, was crossed with the McIntosh apple, valued because of its taste. Cortland combines the resistance to cold with the taste and flavor of McIntosh. It was spread in 1915. It is adapted to grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8.

Tree Attributes

Cortland apple trees are extremely similar in size and growth features to McIntosh apples. The tree is propagating with an upright, vase-shaped form, medium in vigor and medium in stature, with semi-dwarf trees growing 15 to 20 feet tall and spreading 10 to 15 feet wide. The growing period length is approximately 153 days. The trees have moderate resistance to fire blight and apple scab.


Cortland apples possess mid-season blossom starting in April with pink bows followed by abundant white blooms. Trees are partially self-fertile, needing a pollinating cultivar for good fruit set. The following varieties can function as pollinators: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Cripp’s Pink, Burgundy, Florina, Grimes Golden, Redfree, Hewe’s Crab, and Wickson Crab. Cortland serves as a pollinator for other apple varieties that bloom before, mid-season, as well as later.


Unlike most apple trees, which bear fruit on branch spurs, Cortland apples create fruit on the conclusion of slender branches which are approximately 6 inches long. Preferred pruning for this fruiting style is the open-center or altered central-leader form, leaving terminal fruit-bearing branches unshortened. Trees usually start to bear after 4 to 6 decades. Big red fruits are ready to pick in September. They’ve a sweet flavor with some tartness. Cortlands are reliable annual bearers.

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