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Northern Spy Apple on G.214 (Spring 2025)


An excellent all-purpose, late-season apple, now popular with cider makers. Also known as Northern Spice, Northern Pie Apple.

The tree is large and hardy to zone 4, perhaps even zone 3. It is an upright tip bearer with long, gangly branches that tend to curve downward from fruit weight. It is somewhat slow to bear–about four years on dwarfing stock and up to ten years on standard–and will overcrop once it becomes productive; thinning is necessary to avoid biennialism. Northern Spy is immune to wooly apple aphid, slightly resistant to fireblight, but otherwise susceptible to major apple diseases and bitter pit. The natural vigor of the tree tends to see it through however. Care should be taken when choosing a pollenizer as Northern Spy has a late bloom time.

Large, round, and often slightly flattened, the greenish-yellow fruit is striped and flushed with a delicate bloom of pinkish red. The yellowish flesh is fine grained, rather firm, very tender, crisp, and juicy. The intensely tart, aromatic, and acidic flavor is balanced with syrupy sweetness. Northern Spy is an excellent all-purpose apple, except it does not dry well. It ferments into a crisp, clean cider that is described as minerally. 

The original tree grew in East Bloomfield, NY around 1800, and a plaque marks the site today. It has been claimed that the name "Northern Spy" came from a dime-store novel, The Northern Spy, which was concerned with the adventures of an abolitionist hero who posed as a slave catcher in order to hunt and kill true slave catchers.

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$37.25

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The tree is large and hardy to zone 4, perhaps even zone 3. It is an upright tip bearer with long, gangly branches that tend to curve downward from fruit weight. It is somewhat slow to bear–about four years on dwarfing stock and up to ten years on standard–and will overcrop once it becomes productive; thinning is necessary to avoid biennialism. Northern Spy is immune to wooly apple aphid, slightly resistant to fireblight, but otherwise susceptible to major apple diseases and bitter pit. The natural vigor of the tree tends to see it through however. Care should be taken when choosing a pollenizer as Northern Spy has a late bloom time.

Large, round, and often slightly flattened, the greenish-yellow fruit is striped and flushed with a delicate bloom of pinkish red. The yellowish flesh is fine grained, rather firm, very tender, crisp, and juicy. The intensely tart, aromatic, and acidic flavor is balanced with syrupy sweetness. Northern Spy is an excellent all-purpose apple, except it does not dry well. It ferments into a crisp, clean cider that is described as minerally. 

The original tree grew in East Bloomfield, NY around 1800, and a plaque marks the site today. It has been claimed that the name "Northern Spy" came from a dime-store novel, The Northern Spy, which was concerned with the adventures of an abolitionist hero who posed as a slave catcher in order to hunt and kill true slave catchers.


The Fruit

Fruit Type

Category: Apple
Subcategory: Heirloom, Cider, Cold-Hardy

Fruit Uses & Storage

Uses: fresh eating, cider, baking, storage, jelly, sauce
Cider classification: sharp
Storage duration: three plus months (approximate, depending on storage conditions)

Fruit Appearance

Skin color: red
Flesh color: yellow

Fruit Origins

Parentage: unknown
Origin: East Bloomfield, New York
Introduced in: 1840s
Introduced by:

The Environment

Calendar & Geography

USDA zones: 4 - 7
Chill hours: 1000
Ripening date: Oct 27 (approximate, in New York State) + 42 days after McIntosh

Tree Height & Spacing

Rootstock: G.214 Rootstock
Rootstock size class: Dwarf (30% of Standard)
Tree spacing (natural spread of tree): 8'
Good for wildlife planting? N

Diseases & Pests

Fireblight: Resistant
Woolly Apple Aphid: Immune
Powdery Mildew: Susceptible
Apple Scab: Susceptible
Cedar-Apple Rust: Susceptible
Bitter Pit: Very Susceptible

Pollination

Pollination Factors

Bloom group: 4
Is it self-fertile? N
Is it fertile? Y
Ploidy: Diploid
Rootstock size class: Dwarf (30% of Standard)

Pollination Partners

This table shows the first few results from a full search for pollenizers of Northern Spy Apple on G.214. Please see our Pollenizer Search to run other queries and read how the application uses various factors. Also read more about fruit tree pollination.

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See all pollination matches for Northern Spy Apple on G.214






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