Apples for a southern yard

I’m copying this over from GW to see if I can some better activity!
I don’t know if I’m addicted yet, but I definitely have some strong issues with impulse control! My yard is a little unfortunately oriented with regards to the sun and all the tall trees in our area, but I’ve been making do with the little plot of land I’ve got. I’ve run two rows of apple trees as a future living fence row up one side of my property, and scattered stone fruit in clusters all around. It’s only the end of the second year, so right now the trees are in various sizes from bench cut to get started, to large T’s, and a few slightly older trees. The goal is pleached four tiered rows of apples. None of the apples kept any fruit this year. I’m only really trying to get a bucket or so of apples of any given tree, and the hope is just meet our needs eventually. I started off with the apples trying to get varieties from local growers and popular “Southern Apples”. I impulsively bought a wide variety, and since I haven’t really gotten to the apple stage, I was wondering if anyone could help me spot gaps in my lineup “style” wise, and suggest types to look for.
I have:
Lazarus Apple (Unknown variety name, this is a selection found by Reported to be a white skin “Canning” apple, medium
sized, tart
Oat Apple - Oat apple (medium large, elongated/conical, firm light yellow, good for eating and apple
sauce & cider, ripe early fall).
Summer Banana - Yellow green cooking apple, noted for frying and banana aroma Yellow Green, August/Sep
Horse Apple - Yellow-Russet Sub acid and tart, good for cider, July/Aug
Aunt Rachel - Red Striped with white smooth flesh, eating and cooking apple, July/Aug
William’s Favorite - Disease Resistant, White Firm smooth eating apple, July
Carolina Red June - Red with white smooth flesh, eating apple, June/July
Rusty Coat - Russet Apple, crisp and tender eating or cooking apple, Sep/Oct
Betsy Deaton- Red Skin, yellowish flesh, tangy eatiing apple, Sep/Oct
Razor Russet - Russet “spicy” flesh, mutation of Golden Delicious. Sep
Winter Banana- Red, white flesh, smells of banana, known for being a good interstem graft due to excellent compatability, Sep/Oct

I know that’s kind of a lot and kind of random, but does anyone spot a potential gap in categories? I’m aiming for at least one eating apple going through the year if possible, and we love apple sauce and apple desserts.

I’ve got about eight bare rootstocks going out there, and I’d like to find some scions for them this year. Any one have any kind of regionally specific suggestions for Southern Apples that would complement what I’ve already got? I was intrigued by “spice” apples because honestly, I’m not sure what that means taste wise.

I would say late/keeper apples is your biggest gap. They give you apples not just during apple season but through most of the winter if you have a good storage spot. If you count the months of apple eating you should have a large percent of keepers. I personally found I had too many earlier apples and have been replacing them with keepers. Another plus side of keepers is they tend to be easier to grow in the south since they ripen in cooler weather. Hot weather ripening wrecks many varieties. They also tend to be more bug-resistant due to harder flesh during bug season.

Some keepers I like myself include GoldRush, Black Limbertwig, Newtown Pippin, Hubbardston Nonesuch, Keener Seedling, and Suncrisp. Arkansas Black is another classic long keeper.

By the way there are indeed many great southern apples, but GoldRush and Suncrisp are better than nearly all the old southern ones and are well worth growing.


It’s funny, but here in my Northeast orchard Suncrisp is a bit of a bland version of Goldrush. It has a nice spiciness off the tree but it doesn’t seem to hold either its flavor or texture as well as Goldrush in storage. They look so much alike that one year I got confused and thought it was Goldrush that tasted so bland in March.

I’d add Terry Winter, King David, and Dixie Red Delight in there for your winter apples.


Applenut- do you have any fire blight experience with Dixie Red Delight? Not sure if you get ANY blight on anything where you are.

We have some dandy fire blight if the hot weather is delayed in the spring. We’ll have cool foggy mornings burning off to hazy days in the 80’s, and I’ll notice that first cluster of blossoms drooping. Since we have such an extended blossom period, it goes gangbusters unless I’m diligent to cut it out. I’ve heard Dixie Red Delight is prone to it, but mine hasn’t suffered any while the Bramley right next to it gets hammered.

Late spring heat of 104F usually knocks it out for the season, but a couple years this didn’t happen until July and I got a good taste of what you guys go through. I lost a pear tree to FB, but for the most part its limited to branches.

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Alan, I have yet to store Suncrisp for a long period, I am only going by a month or so. So, I was only referencing how it keeps together really well, not the flavor. I will try to store some next winter to see how they do.

I really like Black Limbertwig because it just keeps getting more flavor the longer it sits - thats the kind of storage apple I am after!


I want some of that wood Scott. I want more hard fleshed, full flavored heirlooms.

Albermarleciderworks website say Black Limbertwig is the same apple as Old Fashion Limbertwig, Century Farm website say Red Limbertwig is the same as Old Fashion Limbertwig. Seems to be plenty of confusion on some of the Limbertwig varieties.

@derekamills am sure you can clear up whether either Red or Black Limbertwig is same as Old Fashioned Limbertwig?

Just put an @ with his name - @derekamills - then he gets a notice.

Hey Alan, I think I saw Santa out in my orchard grabbing you some Black Limbertwig scions :smile:


Thank you for the suggestions. The Rusty Coat I have listed is referenced a few places as “probably the same as the Keener Seedling”. I do have an Arkansas Black, maybe, in the front yard. It had a pretty rough year and I think I may have killed it, but if it comes back, it’ll be a nice little tree. Two of the spots I’m looking for are going to be to run crosses up the side of my east facing chimney. Are any of the varieties mentioned particular vigorous growers? I like the idea of hanging apples hanging on the tree like ornaments late into the year.

Goldrush looks like an interesting variety, especially with the resistances listed, but if I didn’t give myself SOME kind of arbitrary restrictions, I don’t know if I’d have any control at all. I may put a Goldrush my mom’s front yard instead :smile:

The Black Limbertwig sounds like an excellent choice for my yard. The King David and Dixie Red sound intriguing as well.

Hello Hambone,

I am fortunate to grow 18 varieties of Limbertwigs that have fruited and have 3 new Limbertwig varieties I am adding this year. For me here is SE Ohio Black, Red and Old Fashioned are different from each other. Slightly different ripening times and skin colors.

The all time Limbertwig expert was the late Rev Henry Morton who rescued many of the varieties from with Great Smokey Mountain Nat’l Park.

When I started grafting apple trees in the early 1980’s I read about Henry and his collection of apples and started ordering scions or trees from him every year until he passed away.

According to a letter Henry wrote me one time, and somewhere I still have it along with a few of his old catalogs, the variety called Red Limbertwig was originally just called Limbertwig and is the original Limbertwig. Every other Limbertwig is either a seedling or sport of it.

Red Limbertwig has true “limber” or spindly limbs that droop. And once you eat Limbertwig apples there is a flavor you come to recognize.

My two favorite limbertwigs are Red and Kentucky. The latter because it has that distinctive limbertwig flavor and is a prolific bearer.


Some great apples for the South are Cullasaga, Cauley and since you said spice then Moyer’s Spice.

Cullasaga ripens in October, Cauley and Moyer’s Spice are both August.

I know you said later ripening but Cauley has great fireblight resistance and has huge apples.

Moyer’s Spice is a variety where the taste fits the name, bite into one on a warm August afternoon picked from the sunny side of the tree and it is like biting into warm apple pie.

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Thanks Derek! You got your information from Rev. Limbertwig, the best possible source. I had one phone conversation with Rev. Morton and wished I’d had more. If you ever come across one of his catalogs I’d be happy to scan a copy and post it where folks could see it.

Do you believe some of Rev. Morton’s varieties were lost with his death or had he distributed scions of everything he had to others for safekeeping?

Old Fashioned Limbertwig is definitely a Georgia Apple. Black Limbertwig precedes it and hails from Tennessee. Not sure about the mess with Red/ Red Royal/Royal Limbertwigs comes from. They seem to have an identity crisis with even many nurseries not exactly what they have…lol.