Liabilities of Jonathan Apple in VA?

Hello! Looking for some advice - I LOVE Jonathan apples and want to grow one at my place. I have over 30 varieties that I am planting or have planted and my concern is adding a highly fireblight susceptible tree in the mix. All of my other trees have been chosen for high disease resistance (I know they can still all get disease). I don’t want to spray my trees, but I love Jonathan apples enough to spray just that tree to make it work.

Is it that much of a liability to the other trees to add Jonathan? Does anyone have any experience growing Jonathan, especially in Virginia, and can attest to its problems? As usual, ive read very mixed reviews online. Thanks for any help/advice

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No apples yet, but I’ve got a big tree that I encourage constantly. I’ll be interested in the answer as well.

Shenandoah Valley here

If fire blight shows up in force it will randomly infect even the resistant trees regardless if you have Jonathan. Usually the weakest trees first. I’m at the northern most part of Va. and I don’t have Jonathan, but I do have several Jonathan crosses that have so far not had any issues.

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I have a 7yr old Jonathan on M111 (in northeast Tennessee). Knock on wood no fireblight on any of my trees so far. I bag apples to avoid use of much insecticide and what I do spray is “organic”. Spinosad or Pyrethrins if something stronger is needed. Otherwise I just try to keep the trees healthy and strong. I do spray EM-1 “beneficial microbes” though and that perhaps helps to prevent the fireblight bacterium from gaining a foothold.

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I had it for ten years and was not in the most highly susceptible category. So at least for me fireblight was not a major issue with the apple.

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What Jonathan crosses do you have and which one is your favorite?

Jona-Gold and Jona-Mac. No real favorite.

@scottfsmith Hey Scott, what was the reason for you going away from the Jonathan?

I ordered a Jonafree scion for this Spring. It’s supposed to be smaller on average, slightly sharper flavor, and resistant to most of the major diseases. My mom likes them, so I’m planting it for her. Jonathan is prone to everything plus Jonathan spot, and I’d like to stick to at least resistant to some diseases.

I have both Jonafree and Jonagold grafted on the same tree. Jonafree is definitely smaller and, I think, less tasty than Jonagold; but it resists scab a lot better. However, both are susceptible to Apple Maggots here in the Pacific Northwest.

I liked the spiciness of the Jonagold I had recently. I assume it inherited that from Gold Delicious, but I haven’t had a Jonathan in quite a long time.

Here Jonathon can be very good and is usually at least good and it’s known for being an excellent baker. However, it softens quickly in storage so is an unimportant variety for me at this point. I expect it’s quality would go up a notch there because of your more intense sun- it’s been a few years since we’ve had much drought during the last few weeks of ripening for Jonathon, but that is when it can be exceptionally good here.

This year rain was relentless which made most varieties at least a bit blander than usual but huge. Strangely, my Jonathons were quite small, but still relatively bland.

It is a low vigor variety with a kind of weepy and unruly growth habit. I’d say it is about average as far as difficulty in growing.