Low/No Spray Cider Apples

Hey all,

So I am going to be grafting over a few trees, this year and I was looking for some input on cider apples.

I am trying to go with a no/minimum spray program. I was thinking dormant oil, and then maybe a copper spray. During the season I’d really like to avoid most things, however if I find I’m losing a lot of fruit to PC or CM, I’ll make a few sprays. The trouble is that I live 2.5 hours away from where these trees are, so I really wouldn’t be able to keep up with a rigorous spray schedule, and to be honest I don’t really care if my fruit is clean… I just like it no TOO scabby.

If you were fairly limited on the varieties that you could grow, and wanted to limit your spraying, what would you choose?

As of now I’ve basically only decided on GoldRush and Arkansas Black. This is because they can be used for cider, and they can stored and eaten.

Tom Burford’s book Apples of N.America has a list of about 40 cider apples in appendix.
Some that I recognize as having some disease resistance (some of the time, in some places under some conditions (smile)): In addition to your GR and AB; Black Twig; King David; Liberty; Smokehouse; Yates.

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I’ve been reading that book and a few others on varieties. I’d heard mixed things about Yates and King David, although I know King David is supposedly wonderful for cider.

A year or two ago a well known Va cider maker was searching for large quantities of Yates. King David is a fabulous eating apple, way up there on my list of fav’s. Internet sources differ on whether King David resists fire blight or just tolerates it well. I don’t know.

Fireblight is my main concern. I know that with good sanitation, it shouldn’t be a problem, but from everything I’ve read, it is something that can just kill your orchard. Scab, CAR, etc… can be treated, but for the most part fireblight is hard to deal with. I just figure that I may as well use varieties that can deal with it.

I grafted some Yates this spring on a friend’s old tree I’m topworking. The Yates got FB and I had to cut it off. The tree did not get all day sun nor good air circulation, so factor that in. It’s doing fine on two other properties where i grafted it, full sun, good air circulation.

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I only have two categories for fireblight susceptivity in my head - highly susceptible and tolerable. Nearly all varieties are in the tolerable category, just focus on avoiding the highly susceptible category. Then make sure there is plenty of morning sun and having a well-thinned tree with good air circulation. Also note that any tree with straggler late blooms is automatically in the highly susceptible category, as are all medlar and quince.

For bugs just get later harder and more rough- or thick-skinned. Campfield is late, and it made nice fruits for me with no spray this year (its in a new planting I was not hitting). Black Limbertwig would be good.