While answering questions about rootstock at the HOS Spring Event, several people asked if they could have but one apple tree. I thought I knew of a few apple trees that were self-fertile. So I went to the literature and much to my surprise, I found that there are more than a “few” self-fertile apples. The self-fertile varieties will set fruit but another variety will cause more fruit to set.
Varieties marked with a * are only partially self fertile. If you want only one apple tree, do not selected a variety marked with a * as you will get better fruit set.
Apples – Edible Landscaping
Crawford, Martin, Directory of Apple Cultivars, 1994 Agroforestry Research Trust
Growing Cider Apples