Apple Variety suggestions for the Southeast zone 7b/8a

I’ve been reading a lot of great information here about a lot of different apple varieties, but was having a hard time finding out which varieties may be the best for our area.

Our climate can be a difficult one for growing apples, between the high temperatures and the high humidity.

Has anyone had any varieties that have been naturally disease and pest resistant for them in this area or close by?

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Let’s call attention to members in zone 7 and 8 who I know grow apples like @scottfsmith @hambone, @Auburn and @Merle_Hawggard

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I have had poor luck growing fall apples and have given up. Trying to keep an apple protected from bugs and mostly rot for 7 or 8 months did not work for me. It probably could be done with a lot of spraying.

I have had great results with summer apples like Anna. They taste great and are ready in June. The cons are low chill and early bloom and the fruit does not keep long term in storage like a fall apple.


Im on the 7b 8a line. My goldrush is still alive. I would reccomend spraying streptomycin at least for the first few years until there is plenty of 2 and naybe 3 yr old wood between your blooms and the main trunk. Fireblight tears right through 1 yr old wood very fast in my experience which makes ir hard to prune back to uninfected wood in time. A 2 or 3 yr old spur seems to slow it down.


@SteveThorn Where are you?

I live in zone 7b. I’m still learning which apples to grow but I would suggest going with the varieties that are reported to be highly resistant to FB. This is a few that I’m trying out. Goldrush, Liberty, Williams Pride, Empire, Pristine, Red Rebel, Enterprise, and Arkansas Black. I love my Pink Lady even if it is not suppose to be FB resistant and as of now it has not had any FB.


MonArk oughta work ok for you


Near Raleigh NC on the 7b/8a line

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I will second Monark. Suggest no North Carolina Orchard is complete without at least one Limbertwig, maybe Royal LT, Swiss LT or Myers Royal Limbertwig. MRLT is so far my my most blight resistant limbertwig . Swiss LT is the favorite of a friend who has tasted lots and lots of apples. I also like Freedom a lot:: easy to grow, fruits at a young age, good branch angles, pretty good blight resistance, mild tart taste.


contact Ron Joyner at Big Horse Creek Farm or David Vernon at Century Farms through their websites. They can recommend varieties for your location.


Check out the list produced by scottfsmith for some possible apple variety.

Unfortunately, apples are very difficult to grow in my zone 7B part of NC and will be in the Raleigh area too.

No variety is naturally disease or pest resistant in the southeast. The PRI apple varieties I have tried which are marketed as “disease resistant” have shown no more disease resistance than regular apple trees. Any variety produced from a Golden Delicious parent is very susceptible to bitter rot which is terrible during a wet seasons like the past 2 years.

Fuji and Winesap are better than most and early apples like Gala do well if you can avoid Fireblight.

Lots of rain during the bloom period produces a lot of fireblight which is very difficult to control even with a standard commercial spray program which includes copper sprayed delayed dormant, strep sprayed according to the Maryblyt prediction model and Apogee added to help control shoot blight.

Edit: Should have mentioned that Blueberries are very easy to grow in piedmont NC and peaches are easier to grow than apples in my opinion. Looks like apple growing is getting more difficult compared to the past in this area due to higher temperatures and lots of rain at the wrong time which may be random, but looks like a trend to me.


Thank you for all the great suggestions everyone! :slight_smile:

To my surprise, I haven’t had any problems with fireblight yet. I have a Fugi that is growing well so far and two Galas that succumbed to powdery mildew, which has been the main disease issue for my trees so far.

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The climate experts are expecting my region in the NE to continue to get hotter, but to be more prone to drought in the summer, although the last two seasons were like 5 months of monsoon.

I’m selfishly looking forward to some summer drought again so it’s possible to grow the highest quality of fruit. Last year was the worst for quality since I began growing fruit here 25 years ago.

Actually, last season’s monsoon hasn’t really stopped yet- but a wet grey spring is not unusual.


Same here. About 20 inches more rain than normal in 2018.

Very wet so far this year. I expect the many rains during this year’s apple bloom may produce a Fireblight epidemic.

A little drought during the hot months would be welcome.

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I’m in 7a but my orchard is on a steep south-facing hill so I feel like I am an honorary z8 member in the summer :smile: Heres a list of some proven bulletproof apples in my orchard.

  1. Hunge
  2. Blenheim Orange
  3. Swayzie
  4. GoldRush
  5. Fuji
  6. Gala or Kidds Orange Red (Gala is more reliable though)
  7. Reine des Reinettes
  8. Rambour d’Hiver
  9. Yates
  10. Cherryville Black (late summer)
  11. Ginger Gold (summer)

This is an overall perspective, some apples are great until you harvest them and then they go mealy or get skin problems in storage … thats not bulletproof!

@blueberrythrill I didn’t have problems with bitter rot on all of the Golden Delicious offspring I grow, but it has been a problem on some of them.


I’ve not tried growing apples except in zone 6 or maybe a bit of zone 7. But, old time apples did indeed grow in zone 8 in the Carolinas. Cherryville Black, Dula Beauty, Carolina Red June apple (despite the fireblight), Horse, Turner, are just some that come to mind. Winesaps too.


I’m outside Durham and I’ve just planted:

  • Goldrush
  • Hooples Antique Gold
  • Gala

I expect to have to manage cedar apple rust somehow, hopefully with just copper?

My other plan is that I will fruit sock (bag) each fruit with a sock soaked in Surround. I’m hoping that will help with both bugs and rot, but we will see. For me it helped a lot with peaches and bugs when I lived in Texas.


CAR is not really manageable with copper. But you don’t strictly have to control it if its not too strong, most of the infection is on the leaves. They will look ugly and will lose some vigor but overall not a super big hit. So, you can try that and also remove any cedars if you can. I removed one big one right in the middle of things and that helped a lot.

If you want to manage it synthetically, myclobutanil after petal drop (one spray) nearly always nails it for me. I switched to this route about five years ago, it was more needed for my quince rust which is much more damaging than CAR. This is the only non-organic spray my apples need.

Oh, Re: your apples list Hooples is almost-bulletproof, some years they are but other years they can get some skin issues. Still better than straight GD though, russet is always an aid for the grower. Gala can crack by the stem but usually its just a cosmetic thing. So I’d still call it bulletproof.


Thanks Scott! Luckily near my orchard I don’t have any cedars around, just pine and oak. But still you never know.

I bought my trees from Century Farms this last fall, I chose that list based on what you had posted before as well as a few others, and what CF suggested. Basically a cross reference of all lists and those 3 seemed to always come up.

I’m not totally against adding anything, we all know what it’s like when you see a tree you’ve invested a lot in starting to decline, but I hope I can manage it with few inputs.

Cosmetic things aren’t an issue to me, I know adding the fruit socks often affects color, but I care much less about blemishes/color than bugs and taste!

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Good you have avoided the problem so far with BR on some of the Golden offspring

Bitter Rot and Glomerella have been terrible here for the past 2 years. Even commercial orchards who have been growing apples for generations are having major problems. One orchard we are familiar with in central Virginia had to buy apples to keep his cider operation going because of bitter rot problems last year. If his apple quality was too bad to juice it must have been terrible!

The Bitter Rot problem is so bad in NC it has become the primary focus of extension research on apples. Just 4 small commercial apple orchards within an hours drive of me and every one lost all or a major portion of their apples last year.

We sold Goldrush, Fuji and Winesaps a little early last year in order to get ahead of the problem. The apples looked pretty good when they were picked but after sitting in the cooler for a week, bitter rot defects started to show up.