Apples with thick or otherwise insect-resistant skin

I’ve heard people say that Enterprise fits into this category. Are there others?

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Russets, like Keener Seedling, show some insect resistance. Arkansas Black is very, very hard which am pretty sure deters bugs. Tom Burford’s father told him to never throw an Ark Black at anyone because it might kill them.


Codling moth completely ignore my yellow delicious even as the hammer every other variety on the same frankentree.


Co-op 17 was a parent of Goldrush, and was supposedly very insect resistant. So insect resistant, in fact, that someone published part of a study about it.

It was discarded by PRI for having problems (whatever that means) . But the release suggests up to 16 Brix and the ARS GRIN description suggests bitterness.

So one wonders if it might be a relatively useful curc-free cider apple.


I just attemped to eat a store bought Lady Alice apple that had the thickest skin I’ve ever seen. It was absolutely terrible. I hope all Lady Alice apples aren’t like that. It’s the first time I’ve tried it.

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Was the Lady Alice terrible apart from the skin? In other words, if you had peeled it would you have had any complaints?

Terrible all around. Tough skin, dry, no flavor. One of the worst apples I’ve eaten.


A few years ago I thought Lady Alice was the best thing going. It may have been a good year, because they haven’t always been great since then, but they can be really good with some cherry flavor, lots of sugar, and tartness to go with it.

I didn’t notice the skin one way or another, but I may not be very sensitive to the skin as long as the flesh is firm.

I never peel apples unless I’m making a pie. In the varieties I like for fresh eating, the flavor of the skin is an important component.

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Keener Seedling is moth resistant but not curc resistant, it got hit bad this year with curc. My GoldRush do pretty well perhaps due to hard flesh, and Rambour d’Hiver always does very well. Some other apples doing well for me bug-wise but with less experience include Hubbardston Nonesuch, Yates, and Hunge. Yates I didn’t spray this year as it was in a new stand with no other apples fruiting, and they came out nearly clean. I think lateness may be as or more important than skin, the late apples are harder in the earlier periods of high insect activity.


Or it could just be that the apple I ate was poor quality and not representative of the “REAL Lady Alice”. If I ever see them at a different time and different place maybe I’ll give it another shot.

There is this, which suggests the reports of moth resistance might be over-stated:

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That study has few apple varieties in it, I would like to see them do a couple hundred. In my orchard few apples show significant resistance. Note that some other species of malus they tested proved to be much more resistant, so there is definitely variation.

In general this is a really hard effect to measure. I’m not 100% sure I am observing a strong variety correlation in my orchard even after fruiting some of these apples for 10 years – it could be more related to where the tree is located in my orchard for example. This study was a lab not field study and there are many factors missed in that.


Yes my Enterprises are thick skinned also I think my Arkansas Black.

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I’m inclined to have similar thoughts about laboratory studies, Scott. In other words, if the variable for insect resistance can be isolated in the laboratory, great, but I certainly wouldn’t want to dismiss whatever other variables may be out there. If, for example, “insect-resistance” amounts to nothing more than reaching the stage of susceptibility to insects at a time of year when insects are less populous or active, if the end result is the same, what do I care if it’s true “insect resistance” or not?

@marknmt Very interesting. I used to own a 30 yr old standard GD that rarely had any insect damage (or fire blight).

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Good point, that wasn’t tested in this study. Since CM and OFM follow somewhat definite developmental stages, it could very well be that certain varieties would avoid much damage by either being too hard, having too thick of skin, or just not attractive at about the same times each year.

Coconut Crunch is supposed to have thick skin but I haven’t eaten one myself so I can’t vouch for it.

I haven’t had a Lady Alice recently, but when had it in 2013 it was very good:

The best had a brix of ~17 and reminded me of a Fuji (a good one, not the bland ones), mixed with a Orleans Reinette (which I’ve only had one batch of, but were very good), with a bit of Braeburn thrown in.

The 2nd link lists the problems:

Bland, insufficient flavor, tough skin; tough flesh texture; undesirable growth habit

This post from almost exactly a year ago (good topic to talk about in January…) may also be of interest. It links to a paper where they tested a lot of the “resistant” apples, including the PRI varieties.

It is still early to say, but the Kazakhstan apples seem promising.

As to thick skin/insect resistance, I have read someone describe Pomme Grise as “bulletproof.” Would sure like to try it out.
On the other hand, things living take the path of least resistance, and Liberty attracted more coddling moth damage than anything I’ve tried here - makes me think that growing one Liberty in a stand of apples would do all the others a favor!
Another variable to throw into the mix?

Pomme Gris is not bulletproof but it does pretty well. It gets a fair number of curcs but it way oversets and you can thin out all the bad ones and still have too much left. It also gets moths but not as much as most.

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