Disease resistant apples?

I’ve noticed some apples are resistant to more of the basic diseases than others. What is your experience with your favorite most disease resistant apple? I’m experimenting growing the Christmas apple aka hauer pippin, gold rush, Arkansas black, williams pride, pristine to name a few. I’m looking for something with very complexed flavors like wickson is known to have. Hauers is a very late apple and late apples with the parents it has will almost certainly be a winner.


Liberty has been good to me. Enterprise does well for most diseases, but it doesn’t resist the disease of deer very well. I hear good things about William’s Pride, but don’tbhave it yet. Goldrush should be very good but lacks CAR resistance, I just planted one yesterday.

There are many others, but these ones seem to come up a lot. Others…Pristine, Freedom, Redfree, Sweet 16, Arkansas Black, etc etc


My liberty has very nice foliage, but whatever advantages it has in terms of disease resistance seem to be lost to insect trouble. I get hardly any usable apples from my liberty tree. Pristine, on the other hand, has provided me with very nice apples, although I’ve had a touch of fireblight with Pristine. In my very limited and novice experience, Goldrush seems to be a little bit trickier tree to manage in terms of pruning and thinning. I think I made some beginner mistakes with Goldrush but I’ve finally started getting some usable (but far from perfect, nothing like Pristine) apples from my Goldrush tree. I haven’t had William’s Pride as long, but it seems like a promising producer, although it ripens early like Pristine, and I’d rather eat a Pristine.


My trees are still fairly young, so not much production yet.

Lodi has given me one unblemished apple. They are quite tart, and do not keep well, but it’s nice to have an apple that seems to ripen annually on the Fourth of July here. I like to eat these early-- fresh off the tree. If you wait until Lodi’s seeds are brown, or if the skin turns yellow, they are past their prime for eating. These apples crack or go mealy really fast, but sometimes you get a good one, and they are quite refreshing, especially since one has gone all spring without any fresh local apples.

Goldrush is awesome. The leaves get a little rust on them. So far, that has not been a problem. The apples are fantastic-- strong on flavor. It ripened a few apples two years ago. This year, it tried to fruit, but they all fell with the June Drop. Here was the 2015 batch. (My wife’s panty-hose kept the bugs off the apples all summer long!)


I am sorry to have to agree, to a degree, with that. Nothing seems to attract codling moth more than Liberty apples. Spinosad may do the trick if done enough and at the right time.

Now to my mind this simply proves that codling moth has excellent taste in apples.

I’ve noticed that even in years when the Liberties are badly affected by cm yellow delicious growing on the same tree can be completely ignored by them. I won’t jump to the conclusion that all yellow apples are safe- seems like the much-neglected old transparent down the street gets hit pretty hard every year.


I have not grown Liberty but have found this with many other apples - the label of “disease resistant” means less spraying for commercial growers, the main customer of the various breeding programs. In the backyard there are lots of other problems when you are using fewer sprays.

Some apples that have been coming through well for me recently include Ginger Gold, Pristine, Hoople’s Antique Gold, Abbondanza, Rambour d.Hiver, Hubbardston Nonesuch, Reine des Reinettes, Pomme Gris, Keener Seedling, Suncrisp, GoldRush. Most of these are later apples, they tend to fare better since apples finishing their ripening in heat are very prone to rots, other diseases, and bugs. I thought American Golden Russet (Bullock) was going to be better than Golden Russet which is a real rotter, but this year AGR mostly rotted. In its defense it was a really bad rot year for me. Most of the old southern apples also tend to hold up well, I have not had enough years on them to make strong claims but Hunge, Black Limbertwig, Cherryville Black, Magnum Bonum are looking to be good ones on the disease/bug front.


I’ve had great luck with Ginger Gold too. Not specifically touted as one of the most disease-resistant varieties, it has nonetheless produced flawless fruit for me two years in a row.

It also comes in early, unlike many other varieties. I have eaten really good Ginger Golds as early as July and as late as Sept when kept in the fridge. They sometimes keep well even beyond that.

I’ve had minor Japanese Beetle and other bug damage on the leaves, but that’s it.

My 2015 Ginger Gold

My Ginger Gold in 2016


I’m always excited to get Ginger Gold in the store, several local orchards grow it.

In south central Ia., Chieftain has been very disease resistant for me., carried a nice crop on 3rd leaf, G30 tree.

1 Like

I think @alan believes it is the light airy texture of Liberty that makes them a codling moth magnet. I bagged about 6-7 lbs of them with the nylon footie things this year and only have had one partial loss to earwigs so far. I still have about 10 apples that refuse to come off the tree.


Yes, its surprising how perfect they turn out for me. The bugs don’t seem to like them much, either.

I am going to be removing a bunch of non-resistant ones this winter, even some really tasty ones like Mother I will have to let go of.

BTW I recently revised my list of overall favorite apples which takes into account taste, texture, looks, keeping ability including lack of mealiness etc, flexibility of use, disease and bug resistance, reliability year to year, and production:

  1. Hooples Antique Gold
    1. Gold Rush (but prone to biennial)
    2. Rubinette (but somewhat prone to rots)
    3. Blenheim Orange
    4. Suncrisp
    5. Reine des Reinettes (but prone to biennial)
    6. Rambour d’Hiver
    7. Abbondanza
  2. Kidd’s Orange Red (but is always biennial for me)
  3. Pomme Gris

There are several apples I will probably be adding here but I have not had enough experience with in terms of years. Ginger Gold is one example.


I have some biennial issues on my property with Goldrush, but at sites with dawn to dusk sun I can manage them for annual cropping with reasonable thinning.

Have you grown Pink Lady?- I find it to be very reliable cropping for a late great keeping apple and reasonably disease resistant. It tastes different as grown here than in CA or other western locations where the store ones come from.


Hi Scott,
What are the downside of Pomme Gris and Kidd’s Orange Red, please? I’d like to be prepared.

Kidd’s is fantastic on every front except that it has been completely biennial. Pomme Gris is not a particularly good keeper for a later apple but other than its its very good. I will edit the above to put them at 9 and 10, they are both excellent overall.

Alan, I grew Pink Lady at one point and it was very good. But I never cropped it enough.

1 Like

Thanks for the good news. I hope my Kidd’s OR will go biennial in the opposite year to my Honey Crisp :grin:


Kidd’s is reliably annual cropping for me.

Another strong endorsement for Goldrush. Mine started dropping a couple of days ago, and even though they aren’t really gold yet, they still have a great flavor. That’s a surprise considering previously they were extremely acidic with little complexity until they were really yellow.

I’ve also grown Enterprise, which I seem to like better than most people. It does store pretty well and the flavor gets more complex in storage. Though many of my trees seem to get disease despite sprays, Enterprise has never had any disease problems even without sprays. The only thing I used this year was one spray of dormant oil to combat a bad aphid infestation the previous two seasons. It does indeed have that thick skin, but the fruit will get very large if thinned, which reduces the skin to fruit ratio, so the skin doesn’t bother me.


I’ve never eaten Enterprise out of storage. It is the thick leathery skin that turns me off- does that change?

No, the skin stays about the same, but I wouldn’t call it leathery. At least it’s a very fine leather, if so. Really, I don’t think there’s any particular reason to grow this apple unless you are looking for a good tasting highly disease resistant one. It’s not great tasting, even at its best.

1 Like

Scott, how has Reine des Reinettes been with fireblight? I had been planning on grafting that, but I had a lot of trouble with fireblight this year and revised my plans to cut out very susceptible varieties. I recall seeing RdR described as such someplace… but I’d trust someones recent and geographically relevant direct experience over that.

1 Like