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Zestar!® apple, a.k.a. ‘Minnewasheta’, with its sweet red and yellow fruits that ripen in late August, lets you kick off the apple season early. Well before the local growers are stocking the shelves, you’ll be enjoying crisp, juicy, zesty Zestars right off your own tree. This relatively new introduction, from the same folks who brought us the wildly popular Honeycrisp, delivers the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity and adds a unique twist of its own—just a hint of brown sugar flavor. You’ll love Zestar!® fresh with cheese or peanut butter or all by itself, and you’ll also be able to make the first locally sourced apple pie, sauce, or cider of the season when you harvest these precocious beauties.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
- Spacing: 12-15'
- Exposure: Full Sun
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Researchers at the University of Minnesota have grown thousands of fruit trees over a period of many decades in order to come up with a few exemplary selections. Honeycrisp is one standout, and Zestar!® is another. The motivation behind Zestar!® was to create an apple that was not only early ripening, but also firm, crisp, flavorful, and a “keeper.” Early-ripening apples until that time were rather mushy and didn’t store well. The cross that produced Zestar!® was made in 1972. The fruit turned out to be everything you could want in an apple, AND it ripened in August and could be stored for two months—even without refrigeration! After further evaluation, it was finally introduced in 1999.
Zestar!® will grace your garden with pretty, fragrant Apple blossoms in spring that are pink in bud and open to white. It is among the first Apple Trees to flower in spring and should be paired with another variety of early-blooming Apple such as Braeburn or an early-flowering Crabapple like Louisa to ensure good pollination and fruit set. Zestar!® in turn will pollinate Braeburn or any other Apple Tree that blooms at the same time.
How to Grow
Born and bred in Minnesota, the hardy Zestar!® Apple Tree is a smart choice for homeowners in cold climates. It sails through harsh winters, and with proper care it will set moderately heavy crops of fruit year after year. Site your Zestar!® Apple Tree in a sunny location where air flows freely all around (to discourage the diseases that can afflict Apples). Regular water and fertilizer will help your tree grow strong and sturdy. Our expert growers are happy to answer any questions you have about growing fruit trees at firstname.lastname@example.org, so don’t be afraid to get that backyard orchard started!
Questions & Answers
Q: How big will the Zestar!® be when mature?
A: We grow the Zestar!® Apple on a semi-dwarfing rootstock (S-M7). This will give you an apple that will grow 12-15' in height and width before pruning to form. You can expect a substantial harvest in 3 to 5 years using this rootstock, or about 3 years after planted at your home.
Q: Do I need another apple tree to pollinate the Zestar!® Apple?
A: Yes - you do need another variety of Apple Tree in order to get fruit on the Zestar!® Apple. There are quite a few varieties that will get the job done for you - McIntosh, Yellow Transparent, Cortland, Rubinette and Granny Smith are just a few of the possibilities!
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