Plz advise, apple scions for Tenn

Last spring I ordered 40 rootstocks, half Geneva 890, half G210. I’m on heavy clay surrounded by forest, but most of these will go to other people on heavy clay. My previous batch I grafted on Micromalus to avoid having them eaten by voles. That worked out fine, and the smooth trunks mean less borer trouble, tho I have lost one now and think another one is affected. They don’t grow very well or bloom much, but I think that’s something to do with me not fertilizing them. I have good intentions, but then can’t find the dang bag in the shed somewhere… Anyway, the squirrels get them all. It’s terribly discouraging, but my neighbors can grow fruit pretty well so I think a few trees will go to them.
Scott’s observations so blew my mind that I called up David Lockwood, UT’s fruit expert, and he verified that scab is no big deal here. I have Kidds, Horse, Wm’s Pride, and Hardy Cumberland already, so can graft some from them. I have Monark from Lucky, which gets more CAR than anything else I have and supposedly blooms a little early.
Last year I hit up the Home Orchard Society for what I could get in what turned out to be their last year. I got a few takes, Junaluska, VA Winesap, Smokehouse, Grimes, Roxbury, Wheelers, & Red Astrachan, plus my son insisted on sending me Tompkins King from where he lives in WA.
So my first question is, what out of that last list should I regraft? There’s no loss to correct last years mistakes at this early stage. I notice that blurbs for Roxbury say “productive on fertile soil” which I think is code for wimpy. It might not be, as catalog-speak for sand is “poor soil”. What we have could not be mistaken for either fertile soil or sandy soil, but it’s sure not droughty.
Next, going by Scott’s experience and what I like, I’m most interested in Jefferis, Myers Royal L’twig, and Blenheim Orange. Hooples sounds great except for CAR. In fact, I would probably really, really, really like Hooples, and come to think of it there’s not many cedars around the neighbor’s house. I picked a few King David’s locally one dry sunny fall and was crazy about the first one, but didn’t like the way they tasted after a couple weeks. Think I’d be happier with plain Winesap.
Any advice would be very much appreciated!!! Varieties, sources, etc. I see Maple Valley had scions for Early Harvest, Jefferis and Victoria L’twig.


I am in Tennessee as well. I believe many different apples will grow here. Where about are you located? Perhaps we can trade scions next year. PM me if you want and we can work on some details. I have some of the same varieties growing as you already but perhaps we both have some that one or the other of us are growing.

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Carter’s Blue might be one to consider. It’s a southern apple that’s described to have a flavor like rose water.

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I’m much more concerned about what NOT to grow, hence that list of new grafts, of which Tompkins King, Wheelers and Roxbury are the most iffy.
I have over the last 30 years tried to make it a policy to taste apples before I graft them, but often I just can’t. Like, I have something that grows like a Limbertwig and doesn’t get CAR, and 20 years ago I ate one off the parent tree and liked it. But neither of my small grafted trees have grown, it doesn’t like something, the clay or the Micromalus rootstock. The parent tree was on bottomland, while we are on ridge. Hmmm… might just graft that to one of my new rootstocks and see if it takes off, especially with some fertilizer. I have seen a little WAA on one of those trees, so maybe the mystery Limbertwig gets WAA. I never did look into WAA re Micromalus. My theory was that the taproots of seedling pear stock may explain why pears are so much more successful than modern apples on heavy clay, so seedling rootstocks might work better for apples too. Actually, that was my elderly neighbor’s theory, I just used my observations on seedling pears to back it up. The Micromalus resistance to voles was a plus.

The Roxbury russet isn’t whimpy. Vigor is good. I think what you red is trying to say is that it isn’t as productive on low nutrient soils in other words sandy soils. Clay soil is usually highly fertile but it’s problem is that it’s often low in oxygen and roots struggle to deal with it. The soil texture is bad if no organic matter is present.

Alas, we are on laterite clay, meaning low nutrients. And down past about 12" there’s no organic matter. But I can ADD nutrients and it will hold them pretty well. Sand can’t hold nutrients, period. Nor does it hold water, so I thought that might be a factor too. So does Roxbury resist summer rots?

I have Roxbury Russet but I have had only one year of a small crop not enough really to judge how well it resists summer rots. But it is the earliest known russet of North America. And was widely grown before spraying trees was common.

You might do a search of the forum for Roxbury Russet and see what comes up in the results. Also I suspect Scott has grown it at one time or another so you might check the thread on his growing experiences. He is in a climate where summer rots are a real problem for him.

From Cummins catalog re Roxbury:
**[Powdery Mildew] Susceptible
**[Apple Scab]Susceptible
**[Cedar-Apple Rust] Susceptible

This is quite a handy little detail they have at the end of every variety listing,

I don’t think Cummins nursery listing is accurate.

Purdue lists Roxbury as resistant to fireblight and susceptible to the others. I think for scab that is taking in account that the leaves don’t have high resistance although the fruit probably does since it’s a russet.

From orange pippin they list it as resistant to fireblight, scab and cedar apple rust.

From my experience I would place it’s overall disease resistance a tad below Ashmead’s Kernel which from the chart from Purdue is rated as resistant to scab, fireblight and rust.

I find it’s usually good to look at several references when it comes to disease resistance since disease pressure varies a lot through out the country. What might be rated as good resistance for cedar apple rust in New York maybe marginal in Arkansas. Plus resistance studies are done using different methods which lead to different conclusions.

My cleanest tree leaves are on my Enterprise but that’s a highly resistant tree like William’s Pride. Of course that is for my climate in Illinois. We have scab, fireblight, and cedar rust here for sure. Although the cedar apple rust is no where as intense as I would expect it to be in the South.

Years ago I lost Roxbury to blight in Maryland. My Junaluska branch has gotten blight every year, plan to cut it off, which pains me as I know its history.

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Put it on blight resistant rootstock?

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