How Much Do Apple Trees Cost to Buy and Grow? (A Helpful Guide)

As a small home farmer, growing apple trees can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to produce fresh, delicious fruit. 

Growing apple trees comes with a cost. Whether you are planning on a small orchard of only 1 or 2 trees, or a larger backyard farm to produce apples for commercial gain, it is important to know more or less what the costs will be. Also, keep in mind that unless you are lucky enough to have a neighbor with a flowering apple tree, you will have to buy at least 2 trees to ensure pollination. 

The initial costs of purchasing an apple tree can range from $25 to $150 or more per tree, depending on the type, age, and variety. Ongoing maintenance costs for planting, fertilizing, pesticides, irrigation, pruning, harvesting, tools, and hired labor can add up to several hundred dollars per year.

It’s worth noting that the prices for trees will vary depending on the variety of the tree, the location and time of purchase, and the retailer or supplier. 

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Let’s look a bit closer at the costs to consider.

Cost of apple tree saplings vs mature apple trees

When shopping at your local nursery or online, the cost of the tree you are purchasing will vary depending on whether it is a sapling or a mature tree. 

The cost difference can be significant. Sapling apple trees, which are typically around two to three years old, can cost anywhere from $25 to $80.

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On the other hand, mature apple trees, which are typically around six to eight years old, can cost anywhere from $100 upwards. The additional cost of a mature apple tree is because it already has a developed root system and will produce fruit sooner than a sapling tree. 

However, buying a sapling tree might be a good option for a small home farmer who is looking to save money and have the satisfaction of watching the tree grow.

Cost of different types of rootstock 

Another factor to consider is the type of rootstock you are buying. Generally, you can choose from 3 types: Dwarf, Semi-dwarf, and Standard.

The rootstock determines how big your tree will grow. Dwarf trees can grow up to 10 feet tall and wide. Semi-dwarf will reach sizes of 12 to 15 feet tall and wide, and standard trees can grow to 15 feet or more. 

As you can imagine, dwarf trees will cost less than standard trees. The cost of a 2-year-old dwarf apple tree can be anywhere from $20 to $40 or more. Standard apple trees at age 2 years can cost anywhere from $30 to $50 or more. As trees get older and larger, the cost will increase due to the size and the decreased time for them to bear fruit for you. 

The variety of the tree will affect the cost 

More common varieties like Granny Smith and Gala Apples are cheaper than other hybrids and cultivars. Anna Apples and Arkansas Black Apples will cost more. Natural apple species are cheaper than heirloom cultivars.

Where you buy your tree affects the cost 

Online purchasing is generally cheaper as these companies deal in large volumes and do not need large premises for shoppers to walk around. 

A nursery that grows trees will be cheaper than a nursery that buys from a grower, as they have to pay for the costs of the tree and the transportation to their premises. 

Bare-rooted trees are vs potted trees 

Bare-rooted trees are typically cheaper to plant than potted trees for a few reasons.

– They are less expensive to produce. They are not grown in pots, so there are no additional costs for pots and potting soil.

– They are cheaper to transport as they are less heavy and bulky than potted trees. These trees can be shipped in large numbers, which helps to reduce the cost per tree.

– They are planted while they are dormant, which means they do not need to be kept under the same conditions as potted trees, and they don’t need to be watered or fertilized while they are dormant.

– They are hardier and more adaptable to the local climate and soil, leading to a higher survival rate.

One con when buying bare-rooted trees is that they must be planted as soon as possible after purchase, and the soil surrounding the roots should be kept consistently moist until the tree becomes established.

Cost of various types of apple tree

Here is a list of some popular apple tree varieties and their approximate cost ranges for small 2-year saplings:

VarietyAverage lowAverage high
Cripps Pink$30.00$50.00
Golden Delicious$20.00$30.00
Granny Smith$20.00$30.00
Jonathan Gold$30.00$40.00
Pink Lady$30.00$50.00
Red Delicious$20.00$30.00

To give you an idea of real-world prices, take a look at this table of options from some well-known nurseries 

NurseryType of Apple Tree InfoPrice
Nature HillsMelrose Apple Tree3-4 ft$89
Arbor Day FoundationAnna Apple 1-3 ft$50
Plant me Green Dorsett Gold1-2 ft$35
Plant me GreenEin Shemer1-2 ft$35
Grow Organic Braeburn AppleSemi-dwarf$50
Grow OrganicFuji Red Apple Semi-dwarf$50
Chief River NurseryHoneycrisp AppleBare-root$32
Fast Growing Trees.comHoneycrisp Apple4-5 ft$140
Fast Growing Trees.comPink Lady4-5 ft$110
Stark BrosBen Davis Apple 4-5 ft$48
Stark BrosCortland Apple 1.5 – 3 ft with advanced root system $86
This table was updated in early 2023

The ongoing cost of growing apple trees

Once your trees are purchased, you will have ongoing maintenance costs and possibly once-off costs for tools. Again, prices vary greatly between suppliers and products. 

Your initial cost may be for planting. If you have bought a small tree, you can plant it yourself. Planting a larger 6 – 8 ft tree may require the help of the nursery or other professional service which will come at a cost. 

Tools are usually a once-off and only need to be purchased in the first year.

ItemApproximate cost
10-foot ladder$130.00
Fertilizer packs (minimum)$35.00
Garden gloves$10.00
Hand pruning shears$25.00
Hand saw for pruning$30.00
Hand sprayer$20.00
Hand trowel$20.00
Hose pipe$50.00
Pesticide packs (minimum)$45.00
Powered sprayer \(optional)$100.00
Watering can$20.00

Labor to help with pruning, harvesting, and caring for your tree can be $20 upwards per hour

If you don’t receive enough natural rainfall or you don’t have a natural borehole, you will have to take into account the cost of using tap water on your property to irrigate the trees. 

Final thoughts

The first year of establishing your trees will be the most costly since you’ll be buying new tools. Subsequent years will average around $100- $200 depending on many varying factors like –

The amount of fertilization and soil enhancement you need

The amount of natural rainfall will determine water costs

Climate conditions that will determine whether trees need added protection in winter

Possible paid labor for pruning, maintenance, and harvesting

Whether your trees need extra disease control

Overall, while there are costs associated with growing apple trees, the benefits of fresh, home-grown fruit make it a fun and worthwhile investment for any home farmer.


Sam is an outdoor enthusiast, who loves spending time in the garden and learning about animals. His motivating forces are his wife and 5 beautiful children. When he doesn't get it right, he will go and try again!

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