I am wondering if folks can chime in and tell us, out of all their varieties, which have they seen the least FB problems with (or no FB)?
Sweet Sixteen is the only apple I grow that has never had fireblight going on 15 years now.
Let’s see…Arkansas Black, Niedzwetzkyana, Liberty, wolf river…
Killed by fire blight at my location east of Dallas, Texas.
Sundance. Last year Sweet Sixteen got clobbered by blight, had to cut out half the tree.
My Ark Black got fireblight bad. Probably the worst of any apple I have grown. Jonalicious right next to it would only get touch when the AB was hit hard.
Have to put Novamac in here somewhere. I haven’t grown it, but will be grafting soon.
I do not think there is such a thing as a fireblight resistant apple. Best way to avoid it is keeping your tree ding free and watching the spurs for infection for quick removal. It is also why I tend to wax over wounds.
Sorry to hear that.
I have lost several young grafts to fireblight…or even 3rd leaf trees (such as Hudson’s Golden Gem, Hoover, and others, especially some golden or russets).
But, I placed my first order from Gurney’s around 1967 or 1968 I think…I’m not
the best, I’ve been around and seen some things.
Trees such as Jonathan, Braeburn, get fireblight, but it’s never killed the tree.
Ditto for Bartlett pears, for instance.
I suppose Texas is tough…especially the humid parts of the state.
For what it’s worth, this is Tom Burford’s list. I think most of his experience was in the hills of upland VA. He was the orchard keeper at Monticello for many years and did quite a bit of work as a consultant, especially for wealthy non-commercial fruit growers.
He only says these varieties have some resistance. Ark Black, Ben Davis, Black Twig, Detroit Red, Empire, Fameuse, Grimes Golden, Kidd’s Orange Red, King David, Kinnard’s Choice, Liberty, Maiden Blush, McIntosh, Smokehouse, Spartan, old strain Stayman, Summer Rambo, Virginia Beauty, Wickson Crab, and old strain Winesap.
Of course there are new and improved strains bred for resistance. Here is the best list I could find. It includes some of Tom’s varieties and seems to concur with his judgements, based on my quick glance. Fire blight Susceptibility of Common Apple Varieties | Khan Lab: Mechanisms of Fruit Diseases and Resistance
In my yard, William’s Pride is resistant to fire blight.
Did it kill the tree? FB strikes have not killed a single apple tree I manage here, or even caused the loss of any big scaffolds.
It seems as though no varieties are listed as immune, so the seriousness of strikes probably should be noted. It seems many of the resistant varieties are less vigorous growers and that vigorous growth may help FB penetrate deeper into big wood.
It was a graft (4-5 yrs old) on a Honey Crisp. It produced fruit for 2 years and in 2023, the whole graft was blackened to where the graft union was. It was easy to remove the graft.
In 2002 i planted 2 apples 2 pears, 2 peaches 2 plums in a small new orchard at our (then new home location).
In year 2 3 4… one of my first apples (red del) and both pears died of fire blight.
When they started blooming good… boom FB showed up … i whacked them back, did what i could… but they eventually died.
For many years… i replanted other varieties of pear and apple (remember trying a fuji, and and one other variety of apple)…
But every pear i tried and all 3 apple varieties i tried… did the same thing… once they started blooming good… boom FB eventually ending in death.
The one original Apple that lived and thrived and today is still producing fruit is my Early Mcintosh.
I have a crab apple in my back yard that was the only other pollinator for it for many years… and it fruited well.
I dont know that Early Mcintosh is known to be super FB resistent… but mine lived and thrived bloomed and fruited and never got FB… when several other apple and pear trees within 30 ft of it died of FB.
It does not get scab and is quite resistent to CAR as well.
Ps… at my future new home loction… i have 2 apple trees planted… Early Mcintosh and NovaMac.
I grafted those to M7 rootstock a couple springs ago. Novamac is reported to be Very Resistent to FB, Scab, CAR and Rots.
Once those get big enough… going to add some grafts of pristine, red royal lt, black lt, myers royal lt.
I’ve never had a graft struck with shoot blight, but I’ve never had shoot blight in an orchard with recent grafts on trees. In your case, FB killed very small wood so it is interesting, but not clear evidence that Ark Black is not resistant to FB as a whole tree. In our region, the main thing is that FB not spread from small wood to big wood.
TNHunter obviously faces a higher level of pressure there than I do in my area. In the last 30 years what I’ve consistently seen is later season FB that starts on fresh shoots well after petal fall. His is the classic description of the disease.
I’ve seen shoot blight lead to a lot of cankers in bigger wood at a few sites and without cutting those cankers out (client’s decision, not mine) seen zero FB the following season and seasons. In fact, I don’t recall shoot blight ever appearing on subsequent seasons at any given site.
TNHunter- I would expect early Mac to be resistant given that Mac itself is. Macintosh has extremely hard wood so I wonder if that isn’t related. Here, early Mac types tend to be less vigorous than Mac, so that might help as well. With pears, at least, greater vigor is associated with higher susceptibility which is why the advice is given to go easy on nitrogen with pears.
Circassian Apple. The Deadpool of apple trees.
Here’s an interesting article from 2023 about researching a novel approach of fighting FB from the inside of tree. Also a good overview of the disease.
Years ago I wrote to Lee Calhoun asking for blight resistant apple recommendations. He replied he was sad to say he could not name one. A few days later he amended that to say slow growing varieties might have some resistance and he named a few rare, obscure heirlooms.