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Apple Tree Life Span – Averages and Affecting Factors

Apple Tree Life Span – Averages and Affecting Factors

If you have opted to cultivate apple trees but are uncertain about their life expectancy and the elements that influence their development, there are crucial details that you should be aware of.

How long do apple trees live? The average life span of apple trees ranges from as little as 15 years to well over 50 years, though this can vary depending on the tree’s overall health and the specific variety of the tree. Dwarf apple trees have around one-third to half the lifespan of larger apple tree species.

In the following you’ll learn all about the average lifespan of apple trees and the most significant factors that affect their longevity. 

Apple Tree Life Span

The average life of a typical apple tree is between 25 and 50 years. Large and healthy trees with excellent root systems may last upwards of 100 years.

On the other hand, small and spindly trees in overcrowded orchards, dwarf varieties, and other ornamental apple trees, such as cordons, may be lucky to reach 15 years of age.

Standard Apple Tree Life Span

Basic apple tree life span ranges between 25 to 50 years with the real average of standard apple trees being approximately 40 years.

The difference between smaller trees, such as dwarfs, and ornamental apple trees is that the root systems of standard apple tree species get much large and stronger.

Thus, the larger trees may support themselves for a significantly longer lifetime.

Dwarf Apple Tree Life Span

Dwarf variety apple trees tend to have at least a 15- to 30-year shorter life span than their larger apple-bearing counterparts, who have much deeper and wider root systems than dwarves and ornamentals.

Factors That Affect Apple Tree Life Span

A close look at the ripening fruits of an organically grown apple tree.

The above-mentioned life spans are based on apple trees that are well cared for and more or less unaffected by the following factors that can inhibit their growth:

Competition With Other Trees

Apple trees that are in constant competition with other trees, such as the ones that grow in orchards and tightly planted clusters in backyards, are not likely to reach their expected life span.

That’s because they are forced to use up vital energy on competing to stay alive rather than on thriving and producing fruitful harvests.

Not Enough Sun

When fruit trees don’t receive enough sunlight throughout each season, it’s safe to say they may not reach a fully mature age.

Apple trees are no exception to the rule. A location with full sun or at least partial sun is crucial for apple trees to stay healthy and thrive.

Too Little Moisture (or Too Much)

Aside from too little sun and too many trees to compete with, too little or too much water is the next most common factor that affects an apple tree’s expected life span.

If they receive too much water, the roots will rot, bacteria and disease with spread, and the tree will eventually be beyond saving.

Likewise, too little water will leave it weak, dried up, and unable to produce fruit.

Wrong Type of Soil/Climate

Planting your apple trees in a soil that works for their root systems and in a location where the climate is to their liking is absolutely essential in growing healthy and fruitful apple trees.

The best soil is rich, organic, loamy, and well draining. The best climate zones are the US Grow Zones 4 through 7.

Average Life Span of Popular Apple Trees

How Long Does It Take for an Apple Tree To Bear Fruit?

Standard apple trees require around 5 to 10 years, with the average taking 8 years, to bear fruit.

Dwarf apple tree varieties start beating fruit in about a third of the time – just 2 to 3 years. That said, dwarf species also live a third of the time a standard size apple tree lives.

Factors That Affect Fruit Production

There are numerous factors that affect an apple tree’s fruit production, everything from bees to disease.

A few of the most common factors are poor pollination, lack of cold temperatures in the wintertime (chilling hours), severe weather, lack of sun, lack of water, and poor maintenance in general.

Lack of proper fertilization is another consideration.

How Many Years Will an Apple Tree Remain Productive?

Apples trees, generally speaking, produce fruit for anywhere between 10 and 40 or more years.

So long as the tree is healthy, thriving, and well cared for each season, most apple trees begin producing fruit within 5 to 8 years and continue to do so for the remaining length of their life span.

Tips for Ensuring Good Apple Tree Productivity

A few tips for ensuring the best apple tree productivity possible include:

  • Add nitrogen directly into the soil near the roots.
  • Add phosphorus into the soil at the base of the trees.
  • Add potassium to the soil the trees grow in.
  • Protect the trees from pests.
  • Use extra precautions when pruning the trees.
  • Avoid heavy pruning on any one tree at any one time.
  • Fertilize the trees regularly in the spring and fall.
  • Plant trees in the right location, where it is sunny.
  • Aerate the soil around the trees for better airflow.

Related Questions: 

How Long Do Peach Trees Live?

Peach trees have one of the shortest lifespans of fruit trees, living just 8 to 10 years on average.

Sometimes, however, well-cared-for peach trees may reach the ripe old age of 15 or even 20 years old.

How Long Do Cherry Trees Live?

Most cherry trees live for approximately 20 to 25 years. That said, some smaller species live only 10 to 15 years, while larger species reach ages of 25 to 30 more regularly.

Black cherries live the longest, with some living for several hundred years.


Now that you know all about the averages and affecting factors of the apple tree’s life span, hopefully, your planting decision is an easier one!

Just remember that, generally speaking, the larger the species of the apple tree, the longer they may live (25 to 50 years).

The smaller the species, on the other hand, the less time they have to live (10 to 15 years).