Apple Tree Size vs. Cider Yield
April 15, 2010
“How many trees do you need [to make cider]?” Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols ask in their book Cider: Making, Using, and Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider on page 128. Giving caution to the weather and breed of apples, both affecting crop size, they give the following approximations:
1 bushel of apples = 45 lbs of apples
1 dwarf tree = 1 bushel of apples
1 semidwarf tree = 4-5 bushels
1 bushel of apples = 2-3 gallons of cider
Therefore, it would take 25 dwarf trees to make 50-75 gallons of cider.
Due to tree spacing and size vs. crop size, I put the question to the Cider Workshop of what size tree yielded the most fruit per land unit. The group did not feel comfortable answering my question head on, but there was a general consensus that they liked working with smaller trees.
Going back to the “small” orchard of Gene Yale in Chicago, IL, who had 97 mini-dwarf apple trees growing on a small 2500 square foot lot. Yale estimates that each tree produces one quarter to one third of a bushel small 2500 square foot lot in Chicago but has 97 apple trees.
1 mini-dwarf tree = 1/4 to 1/3 bushel of apples
97 trees, assuming annual production, would then yield about 25 bushels of apples
25 bushels of apples = 50-75 gallons of cider
This is the same amount as 25 dwarf trees that would require more space!
Too read more on apple tree size and crop yield, read Oregon State University’s free paper on Growing Tree Fruits and Nuts in Your Home Orchard.