Giving up on apple trees, maybe

Over the last 3 years, I’ve lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 to 8 apple trees for a variety of reasons. May have been more. I sort of stopped keeping track it got to be depressing each time I had to take another one out, especially when I looked at all the grafts I lost… Most recent was a Joy apple I bought early last year from JF&E. The losses I would expect is due in large part to the amount of rain we’ve had this year. The amazing thing is that the pear and peach trees I have that were planted in close proximity seem to be thriving…I do have one apple tree left, a dorsett golden. It was one of the first trees I planted and it seems to be doing well, but we’ll see.

Not giving up entirely, planning to experiment with some pink lady seedlings I’ve grown and put them in a drier part of the yard. Hopefully that will give them a better chance for success…only time will tell…

I understand your pain and frustration with apple trees. I have about reached the breaking point with apples too.

They are a lot more difficult to grow than I expected in my zone 7b climate so they must be really hard to grow in your Z9 climate.

I’m fascinated with the history of apple varieties but I can’t grow most of them without spraying more often than I’m willing to.

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the trees I got from JF&E were on malus domestica, common seedling apple root stock.

I still feel like there is a right apple variety for my area, and maybe root stock is part of the problem. If I can find some inexpensive trees, I’ll keep experimenting…

Did fireblight kill any of them? If yes, do you know varieties?

I think fire blight got at least 3 of them, 2 I’m sure were Anna apples.

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@jeremymillrood I have not had much success with Apples either. With what success I have had I found the rootstock makes all of the difference. MM106 and G41, G935 work well in Zone 7A. MM111 the most common rootstock seems to runt a lot or if the tree does grow it doesn’t bloom or has a very limited bloom. I just planted 5 more on MM111 in a better location, this is my last attempt on MM111.

I would strongly suggest you order a different rootstock than standard - it takes a long time to produce and it is not woolly aphid resistant. In my area that makes standard a no go. I have had good luck ordering apple trees from Cummins nursery.

I would think that JF&E would have taken into account the downside/limitations of certain root stocks in this area, but maybe not…

Checked out the Cummins site…they’re based up in NY, I’d wouldn’t think the varieties they carry would be well suited to NE Florida

these guys have some unique heirloom varieties…

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Hello, I agree, Stone fruit and berries sell for more money than apples. Here in Vt. apples grow well and there are many farms devoted to growing them, but with the competition, extra spray needed and short harvest season we only grow a few apple trees for people who want them and mainly early varieties which don’t overlap as much with the “Big Boys” .


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I’d do King David on M111, it will bear anywhere and is pretty disease-resistant. I’d also plant on a raised bed like this guy in Mumbai, India.


funny you mention the raised bed…I’ve been toying with that for a while, just never did it…I think now would be a good time to give it a try.

I have had a horrible time with G series rootstocks.

The MM106 might be fine for Jacksonville…if you have sand to plant in as I suspect you do.

And just because the Geneva roots are grown up north doesn’t mean they won’t work in warmer areas.
Most are fireblight and wooly aphid resistant, among other things.

Gardening in Florida is a challenge…period. But, there should be lots of apples that will work in zone 9, including Arkansas Black and King David just two of several, come to mind. bb

You my be right about the G series rootstocks working in other areas. Mine have split rootstocks, and have grown into scraggly looking trees. Not the picture of health ones I have seen displayed. All my other rootstocks look fine and are growing well. I am so glad I did not pick the G series rootstocks to be on all my trees.

If we had the perfect rootstock already for everybody, there would be no need to waste money breeding more!

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I used to live in Jax and grew apples on M111. Try
buying your trees from Century Farm Orchards.
They sell a variety of apples that do well in the South.


Thanks @rayrose…what kind of apples were you growing when you lived here?? will definitely check out Century Farms. appreciate the tip.

i live in las vegas and gave up growing apples a long time ago considering the hassles, high cost-to-food value ratio, and uncertainties/sudden- death-syndromes.

Have to agree though that of all varieties, pink lady is worth dabbling with, and every now and then have this urge to re-try growing it (just one more time…) Haven’t done it yet, but the urge persists despite the anticipatedly futile endeavor, lol

Well, I’m not that far from you, and my G trees have been for the most part pretty vigorous. I have three G30 trees, and they grow better than any of my other rootstocks. I also have three G16, a dwarf RS, and they seemed to have done well so far.

One tree each on G222, G202 and G210 have been struggling, though I think it’s because of them being in an area that pools water after a period of heavy rains. I’m thinking of moving them next spring to better soil.

Haven’t seen any split rootstocks on them. And, none of them have produced, but should do so next year, that will be their 4th season.