Dorsett Golden Apple Tree Guide: Care, Planting & Harvesting

The Dorsett Golden apple tree was originally grown in the Bahamas in the 1950s and named after Irene Dorsett. Its delectable fruits quickly gained popularity and spread to farms throughout the United States.

How do you care for a Dorsett Golden apple tree? This cultivar prefers well-draining and moist soil, so water it regularly, and don’t let the soil dry. Choose a spot that gets 6 to 8 hours of sunlight during the spring and summer. Mulch regularly to lock the moisture in the soil. When the tree matures, prune it periodically during dormancy. 

Read more to find out how to grow and care for the Dorsett Golden apple tree.

There are so many wonderful different types of apple trees to choose from, and it can be hard to make a decision. Explore your options by reading my article Apple Tree Varieties today.

Dorsett Golden Apple Tree at a Glance

Although originally from the Bahamas, the Dorsett Golden apple tree has adapted to American soil and thrives without any persistent issues.

Dorsett Golden AppleDetails
Botanical nameMalus domestica ‘Dorsett Golden’
Best for Hardiness Zones6 – 9
Mature size18 – 20 feet
Growth habitModerate
Bloom timeJanuary to March
Flower colorWhite
Preferred soilWell-draining
Light requirementsFull sun
Watering needsRegular
FertilizationHigh-phosphorus fruit tree fertilizer

Dorsett Golden Apple Tree Appearance

The Dorsett Golden apple tree is an ornamental tree besides being a tree with delicious fruits. It has an upright trunk with a round canopy. The canopy can get dense. This requires pruning to allow sunlight and airflow inside.

How Tall Do Dorsett Golden Apple Trees Grow?

The Dorsett Golden apple tree is a small size tree that grows between 18 to 20 feet tall and the same in width. The tree has a moderate growth habit and doesn’t require much pruning until it’s mature enough to bear fruits.

Is Malus ‘Dorsett Golden’ Self-Pollinating?

This cultivar is not self-pollinating. You’ll need to plant another apple variety within a 50 feet radius to get the flowers pollinated. Otherwise, the tree will not bear fruit.

Dorsett Golden Apple Tree Chill Requirements

The Dorsett Golden apple tree requires at least 250 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If the tree doesn’t get enough chill hours during the winter, the chances of flowering are slim. Make sure your winter is cold enough for at least 20 consecutive nights.

Dorsett Golden Apple Tree Growth Rate

The Dorsett Golden apple tree has a moderate growth rate. Factors such as sunlight, fertilization, and pest issues will affect the rate and quality of growth.

When Does Malus ‘Dorsett Golden’ Bloom?

When the tree matures, it will start blooming in the early spring. It needs 250 chill hours to start blooming. The specific bloom time varies depending on the microclimate, but it can be as early as late January or as late as early March.

What Color Are Dorsett Golden Apple Flowers?

The flowers of the Dorsett golden apple tree are white.

Dorsett Golden Apple Fruit

The fruit of the Dorsett Golden apple tree is round and a little larger than a tennis ball. While developing, it will have green mottled skin, but as it matures, the fruit will turn into a lime-green or golden yellow color with red blushes.

The apples grow in clusters of six to eight. The flesh inside is white, sweet, and crunchy.

Is Dorsett Golden Apple’s Flavor Enhanced if Grown in Shade?

That’s an urban myth. The Dorsett Golden apple tree needs 6 to 8 hours of full sun during the flowering and fruiting seasons. If the tree doesn’t get enough sun, the fruits will not develop properly and most likely will not ripen at all.

Apples on a Dorsett Golden apple tree viewed from below.

Dorsett Golden Apple Tree Planting Guide

The key factors for the success of the Dorsett Golden apple tree are the soil, sunlight, and pruning. If you get the first two right, then you won’t have trouble with the blooming and the fruits. Make sure to have another apple variety nearby for cross-pollination.

Ideal Soil

The ideal soil for the Dorsett Golden apple tree is loamy, well-draining soil. Test the soil beforehand, and make sure the pH levels are neutral to slightly acidic. Amend clayish soil with coarse sand to make it loose and improve its draining. 

Light Requirements

Light is crucial for the success of this cultivar. In its native habitat in the Bahamas, it gets plenty of sunlight from the end of the winter until the late fall.

Choose a spot in the garden facing either the west or the south to get the most of the sunlight during the spring and summer. The tree should get at least 6 hours of sun during those two seasons.


Since the Dorsett Golden apple tree needs at least one other apple tree in the vicinity to ensure cross-pollination, you need to be aware of spacing the trees properly for ventilation and allowing the sun to penetrate the canopy of each tree.

The ideal spacing is 20 feet apart. This takes into account that the average mature tree grows to 18 or 20 feet wide.

Preparing the Planting Hole

Before digging a hole for the tree, try to estimate the height of the root ball of the sapling you’re going to plant. Remove any weeds or debris in the area, and make sure the tree is not near a wall and will not be in the shadow of a building or a larger tree.

Then dig a hole twice as wide as the diameter of the root ball and just as deep. You need plenty of room around the roots to spread them out every which way. 

Planting the Tree

Ease the sapling out of the wrapping it came in, or if it’s already in a pot, water the pot, and then gently pull the sapling out. Discard any soil attached to the roots, and examine the root ball. Trim off any rotten, damaged, or entangled roots.

Place the sapling in the middle of the hole, and spread the roots out to fill the bottom. Then backfill with soil, and firm it to push out air pockets. Water the sapling immediately.

Watering and Mulching

The Dorsett Golden apple tree needs moist soil at all times. Water the tree with about 1 inch of water a week. If the soil dries fast, water it twice a week to keep it moist.

Mulching is crucial for improving the soil’s retention of moisture. Cover the area around the base with a 3-inch layer of mulch, making sure the mulch doesn’t touch the trunk. 

Dorsett Golden Apple Tree Pruning Guide

The best time to prune the Dorsett Golden apple tree is in the late fall after harvest time. You can start pruning the tree once it matures and bears fruits.

Once the tree goes into dormancy, you can cut any damaged branches. Make inner pathways into the canopy to improve ventilation and allow sunlight in.

When & How To Harvest Dorsett Golden Apples

Once the Dorsett Golden apple tree starts producing fruits, wait for the color of the fruits to change to golden yellow before you harvest them. This usually happens in mid to late June. Hot summers can speed up the ripening of the apple. 

Pick the apple by hand, and give it a twist to snap the stem connecting it to the branch. Collect the apples when they’re just ripe.

Dorsett Golden Apple Uses & Nutritional Value

You can eat the Dorsett Golden apple raw or in a fruit salad. It makes a delicious and nutritious smoothie and is one of the best apples to bake an apple pie. If you’re cooking a pork loin, there’s no better way to stuff it than with this sliced apple and blue cheese.

When To Fertilize Malus ‘Dorsett Golden’

The best time to fertilize the Dorsett Golden apple is in the early spring before the first buds have emerged. Feed the tree with a phosphorus-high fertilizer to increase the blooms, which will turn into fruits after pollination.

Best Fertilizer for Dorsett Golden Apple Trees

Like most fruit trees, the Dorsett Golden apple tree needs a balanced fertilizer in the first years until it establishes. Once it starts producing flowers and fruits, switch to a phosphorus-high fertilizer such as Dr. Earth Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer in the early spring.

Can Dorsett Golden Apple Trees Grow in Pots?

Considering the height and girth of the Dorsett Golden apple tree, which exceeds 20 feet tall, planting the tree in a pot is not very practical. It also requires plenty of full sun and has a robust root system. All of that makes planting it outdoors a better option.

How To Propagate Dorsett Golden Apple

As a cultivar, it’s best to propagate the Dorsett Golden apple from a cutting. Starting the tree from seeds can produce a different tree. 

Best Place To Buy Dorsett Golden Apple Trees

The best place to buy these trees is online or at your local nursery. is known for their robust trees and excellent customer service. I’ve purchased several fruit trees from them in the past and was absolutely satisfied.

Common Problems With Dorsett Golden Apple Trees

Like many other apple species, the Dorsett Golden apple can suffer from apple scab, sooty blotch, flyspeck, and cedar rust, among other ailments.


The Dorsett Golden apple tree has a moderate growth rate and flowers between January and April. The fruits ripen in June and have golden yellow skin with a red blush.

If you’re looking for a relatively easy-care tree that will reward you with large, delicious fruits for years to come, this tree might be a great choice.

Before making a decision as to which apple tree is right for you, check out these productive apple trees: