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All about apples, pears, plums, and cherries - and orchards where they are grown

Beacon apple

Malus domestica

Beacon was one of the first apples released by the University of Minnesota, which has become a leading center for the development of apple varieties able to withstand extreme winter cold.  Beacon is cold-hardy down to USDA Zone 3.

It is an attractive red apple, and useful as one of the few cold-hardy early-season apples.  However the flavor is indifferent.

USDA identification images for Beacon

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: Beacon

Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Parents and other ancestors of this variety

Visitor reviews

  • 07 Jun 2019  MI, United States
    The Beacon apple is very good fresh eating and excellent for baking..The tree produces a large quantity of medium to large red apples.
  • 27 Sep 2013  WASHINGTON, United States
    Too bad Beacon seems to do poorly in the UK. I ate a bag of them grown in NE Washington state, USA, and picked fresh in September, 2013: flavor has nice sweet/tart balance with aromas of lilac and Sweet Allysum. Fascinating and delicious!
  • 01 Jan 2010  United Kingdom
    Starter post

Tree register

United States

United Kingdom


  • Ann in Manturovo, KOSTROMA OBLAST

Spring blossom records for this variety

2019 season

  • 11th June  2019  - tree owned by Steven in Skandia, United States

2018 season

  • 28th May  2018  - tree owned by Steven in Skandia, United States

2017 season

  • 6th June  2017  - tree owned by Steven in Skandia, United States

Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.

Harvest records for this variety

2018 season

  • 2nd week August  2018  - tree owned by Brooke in Madelia, United States


  • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
  • Parentage: (Malinda x Duchess of Oldenburg) x (Malinda x Tetofsky)
  • Originates from: Minnesota, United States
  • Introduced: 1936
  • Developed by: Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (University of Minnesota)
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1960-056


  • Country of origin: United States
  • Period of origin: 1900 - 1949
  • Fruit colour: Red
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous
  • Developer: University of Minnesota


  • Picking season: Early
  • Keeping (of fruit): 1 week
  • Flavour quality: Average
  • Flavour style (apples): Sharper
  • Cropping: Good
  • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening
  • Food uses: Eating fresh
  • Picking period: early September
  • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


  • Gardening skill: Average
  • Flowering group: 4
  • Pollinating others: Average
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Average vigour
  • Bearing regularity: Regular
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile


  • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 5 (-29C)
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 6 (-23C)
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 7 (-18C)
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 8 (-12C)
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 9 (-7C)
  • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 10 (-1C)
  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)

Other qualities

  • Disease resistance: Average
  • Cedar apple rust: Some susceptibility
  • Fire blight: Very susceptible

Where to buy fresh fruit

The following orchards grow Beacon:

United States


  • Cedar-Apple Rust  
    Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
    Rated as susceptible - control usually needed where CAR is prevalent.

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