Golden Delicious probably needs no introduction - it is one the biggest selling supermarket apples of all time and can be found in school lunch boxes, cafeterias and office fruit bowls across the world. However, any fruit produced on such a massive scale and then shipped across the world is going to have a tough time competing with the quality of a home grown specimen. The difference can be chalk and cheese - if you've never found a really good one of these apples in the shops, then you will get a nice surprise when you bite into one that you grew yourself - they really do deserve the name Delicious (they're not always very golden though - some of your crop might turn slightly pink). The light, chewily crisp flesh is bursting with sweet juice and a great aroma. Although they are famous as eating apples, they are also great for sauces, apple butter, fruit sorbets and are good to use in salads because the cut fruit takes a long time to turn brown. Your apples are ready to pick in late October and store extremely well (this is why they are so popular commercially) - up to about 8 months in ideally cool and dry conditions.
Golden Delicious' History & Parentage: In the 1890's, Mr L.L Mullins sent his teenage son out to scythe down the weeds around their farm in the hills of Porter's Creek in West Virginia. The boy's careful work is the reason that we have this apple today - he spotted the sapling tree and mowed around it, year after year, ensuring that it grew well. By the time the tree was mature, the farm had passed into the hands of Mr Mullins' brother Anderson, who sent some of the fruit to the Stark Brothers nursery - a large nursery that was already producing the famous American apple, Red Delicious (Red and Golden Delicious are not closely related). The Stark Brothers saw its value straight away and bought both the tree and about 10 square metres of the land around it. The first orchard of grafted Golden Delicious trees came into production in 1914 and the original tree died in the 1950's. Since it is a discovered tree, we may never know what its parents are, but a cross between Grimes Golden and Golden Reinette would be a good guess, as both trees were common in the area at the time.
Pollination Partners for Malus Golden Delicious: Your trees require a pollination partner to crop well. They are in flower throughout the mid-season, so they can be cross-pollinated with any apple tree, except those few varieties that are in flower very early or very late. If you are uncertain about pollination, please have a look at our Apple Tree Pollination guide. The surest way to pollinate a group of apple trees is with a crabapple tree - they are in flower for ages, produce masses of pollen and look great while they are doing it.
Rootstocks, Growing Notes and Pruning & Planting Advice:
Golden Delicious is a hardy tree with lovely flowers that can withstand late frosts - another reason that farmers love them. They have a spreading growth habit and are heavy croppers, with a bit of a biennial tendency. They are very resistant to most common diseases, except Cedar Rust (this needs a cedar tree as a host, so it shouldn't be a problem unless you have lots of cedars in your area). Like most apple trees, they are spur-bearers and should be pruned normally.
All of our Golden Delicious sizes are grown on MM106 rootstocks - the "all-round" rootstock for both restricted shapes, like cordons and espaliers, and for medium sized mature trees, up to 4-5 metres tall.
If you are unclear about fruit tree sizes, please take a look at our Guide to Fruit Tree Sizing.
Back to the main apple trees page.