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APPLE Granny Smith

An Australian classic
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Granny Smith produces a large green fruit with a tart, well balanced flavour and crisp, juicy white flesh. A red blush appears on the skin when grown in colder areas. It crops late in the season and has a long picking period. Fruit has excellent keeping qualities. Tree is self fertile and a regular bearer that is suited to most climates. Tip bearing.  Granny Smith is an excellent pollinator for other apple varieties. 

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Granny Smith is a self fertile variety.  If you are having trouble with pollination, try planting the following varieties. 

Pollinators include mid-flowering varieties such as:

Adore®, Gala, Peasgood Nonsuch, Ariane, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady®, Baujade, Priscilla, Blenheim Orange, Hetlina, Red Delicious, Bramley's Seedling, Initial, Royal Gala, Dayton, Kidd's Orange Red, Divine®, Laxton's Fortune, Freyberg, Monty's Surprise, Winter Banana, Telstar & Tentation™ (Delblush*).



Waimea Nurseries, a premier tree grower for commercial orchardists, has one of the best selections of apple rootstocks available. Different rootstocks may be used to control mature tree size, fruiting age, soil conditions and disease resistance.  The following rootstocks are available for Granny Smith:

M9 Dwarf

Tree height: 3m

Starts to fruit in its second to third year. 
Requires permanent staking and attention to soil condition, fertilization and watering. Spacing required - 2.5m between trees. 
Resistant to phytophthora.

Suits well drained, fertile soils. Not suitable for heavy clay soils. Requires tree support such as post and wires due to its shallow and weak root system.


MM106 Semi Dwarf

Tree height: 4.5m

Starts to fruit in its third to fourth year. 
Requires temporary staking. 
Spacing required - 3m+ between trees. 
Resistant to woolly apple aphid.

Good on most soils, except poorly drained sites.


Not all rootstock and variety combinations are available every year.



Soil preference depends on the rootstock that the variety is grafted onto. Dwarf rootstocks require fertile, well draining soils. M116 & M793 types are suitable for heavy clay soils. 


Sunny sheltered sites are best. 


Apples are best in a temperate environment. Some varieties with ‘low chill requirements’ can be grown in warmer northern areas. 


Water well during the early stages, during long dry periods and when the fruit is developing.


Some varieties require a spray program to control pests and diseases that affect the tree, leaves and fruit. The Rezista range of varieties are resistant to some diseases. 


Apple trees can be espalier trained against a wall or fence. Ballerina® columnar varieties are fantastic planted in rows or in pots as garden or entry features. 


Harvest time is from February to April. Trees on dwarf rootstocks will produce fruit within 2 years, others may take 3-4 years to produce  significant numbers of fruit. 


In most residential areas Apples will often be pollinated by bees from nearby Apple and Crabapple trees. Some varieties are self fertile. 


The ultimate size of the tree depends on the rootstock the variety is grafted onto, the site, pruning and training of the tree. Dwarf trees can be kept to 1.5m, while more vigorous trees can grow to 5-6m.

General Apple tree information:

Apple trees will start to produce fruit between its second to fifth year depending on rootstock (please refer to rootstock tab).

Fruit will produce on either tips or spurs. Some varieties produces fruit on both (please refer to description above).

Fruit is ripe when the shaded side turns from green to a green/yellow colour.

The later the fruit ripens, the longer the storage life.


Apple trees perform best in temperate areas. Most varieties need plenty of winter chill, but there are low chill varieties available for warmer climates (please refer to description above).

Apple trees like planting sites that are sunny and sheltered. Soil preferences depend on rootstocks (please refer to rootstock tab).

General Care:

Water apples well during early planting stages, in long dry periods and when fruit is developing.

Some apple varieties require a spray program to control pests and diseases that affect the tree, leaves and fruit.

To ensure large apples each year and prevent biennial bearing, thin apple bunches by half.

Pruning and Training:

It is best to prune apple trees in late winter so that cuts will heal faster with spring flush. To minimise disease entering the tree, paint cuts with pruning paste.

  • Spur bearing: Reduce growth made the year before by a third. Cut just after a good strong bud that points in the direction you want the new branch to go.
  • Tip bearing: All of the last years growth on main shoots should be pruned off to the first/second strong and healthy bud (unless new shoots are less than 12 inches long).

Prune into a modified central leader or vase shaped tree, or espalier against a wall or fence in triple horizontal cordon, candelabra or double-U shape.

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