Set-It-And-Forget-It Late Apples

I located a overgrown field near me (not mine) that is filling in with Bradford Pear and Russian Olive. I plan to graft some late-maturing pears onto the Bradfords. As well, I want to drop some late-maturing apples in the area too, either through a Winter Banana intergraft to the pear or directly on M7 rootstock (union planted below the soil line for a taller tree). Needless to say, I will not be spending too much time on this property to care for the trees (spraying, pruning, or thinning). I am looking for late season apples that would give me the best chance of collecting fruit in October or November in Northeast Pennsylvania. I recognize that I may end up with a small fraction (if any) crop after the diseases and critters take their share. Below, I have done my best to categorize late apples by disease resistance. However, some of the varieties are obscure or new enough that there is not too much info available. I have not listed a few varieties that I already have in my backyard orchard (Newtown Pippin, Gold Rush, Arkansas Black, and Suncrisp). Please comment to agree or disagree with my disease classifications below:

Most Disease Resistant: Black Limbertwig, Black Oxford, Blue Pearmain, Belmac, Belle de Boskoop, Blushing Golden, Bramley Seedling, Brown Russett, Brushy Mtn. Limbertwig, Candy Crisp, Cannon Pearmain, Chieftain, Coconut Crunch, Criterion, Freedom, Galarina, Gilpin, Golden Reinette, Granite Beauty, Hardy Cumberland, Heliodor, Keener Seedling/Rusty Coat, Knobbed Russet, Liberty (Sept.), Macfree (Sept.), Milo Gibson, Myers’ Royal Limbertwig, Novamac (Sept.), NY Bonkers, Pilot, Pitmaston Pineapple, SnowSweet, Sundance (Co-op 29), Swaar, Tydeman’s Late Orange, White Winter Pearmain, Winecrisp (Co-op 31), Winston, Yates

Moderate Disease Resistance: Arlet/Swiss Gourmet (Scab, PM), Ashmead’s Kernel (PM), Baldwin (Scab), Batul/Patul (Scab), Ben Davis (FB, CAR, PM, poor flavor), Bentley Sweet (rot), Black Twig/Paragon (FB), Calville Blanc d’Hiver (Scab, PM), Canada Reinette (canker), Claygate Pearmain (rot), Connell Red (FB), CrimsonCrisp (CAR, FB, PM), Crimson Gold/Svatava (Sept., PM, FB), Crimson Topaz (FB, PM, Canker), Egremont Russet (FB), Empire (Scab, PM), Enterprise (PM), Fameuse (Scab), Fireside (Scab), Florina (CAR), Gideon Sweet (FB), Golden Russet (FB, tip bearing), Haralson (Scab), Haralred (Scab), Hauer Pippin (CAR, no CM), Holstein (Canker, PM), Honeycrisp (CAR, PM), Honeygold (Scab), Hoover (FB), Hubbardston Nonsuch (collar rot), Keepsake (Scab), King David (FB), Magnum Bonum (CAR, codling resistant?), Melrose (Scab, Canker), Nova Easygro (CAR), Nova Spy (CAR), Pinova (FB, PM), Prairie Spy (FB, Scab), Ralls (Scab, FB), Razor Russet (FB), Regent (Scab, FB), Roxbury Russet (CAR, FB, needs more fertility), Shockley (CAR, rots), Spartan (Scab, Canker), Spokane Beauty (Scab, PM), Stayman (Scab), Wagener (FB), Winesap (Scab, FB), Wolf River (FB)

Disease Susceptible: Braeburn, Cameo, Cripps Pink/Barnsby/Maslin, Esopus Spitzenburg, Idared, Mutsu, Northern Spy, RI Greening, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Winter Banana, Yellow Bellflower, York Imperial

Unknown-To-Me Disease Resistance: Waltana, Father Abraham, Brysons Seedling, Gray Pearmain, Nodhead, Winn Russet, Ingram, Sierra Beauty, Red Fuji BC#2

My backyard orchard is in similar area to this abandoned field and I would suspect similar disease and insect pressures: Scab, powdery mildew, curculio, and codling moth being the prime offenders. I do not think there are many cedars close to this field and I have not yet had an episode with fireblight after 6 years.

Thanks in advance for your collective wisdom.


First I’d cull out of consideration; Cripps Pink, Claygate Pearmain, Razor Russett Y. D.

Most of the others, especially the later ripening, I’d consider. Stayman, Bellflower, Rome, Braeburn, York I don’t believe are as disease susceptible as some in your larger group.
Most fight off fireblight, if the rootstock is resistant. M7 is acceptable, but B-118 might be better, especially if deer are an issue as M7 gets about 10 feet, maybe a dozen.


Thank you for the suggestions! The M7 rootstock is simply a convenience factor as I have 10-20 suckers per year. I am hoping that burying the union would allow growth beyond 10 feet (but I have no idea if this happens in reality).

1 Like

Keep by my first-hand experience: Black Limbertwig, Brushy Mtn. Limbertwig, Gilpin, Myers’ Royal Limbertwig, White Winter Pearmain, Yates

Remove by my first-hand experience: Belle de Boskoop, Pitmaston Pineapple, Tydeman’s Late Orange

Other bulletproof ones in my experience: Hunge, Hawaii, Rambour d’Hiver, Campfield

My guess is the main thing you will get is curculio damage on these tough apples. There will be some codling moth as well but the later apples tend not to get as much of it. Very few apples are really tough, we had a bad disease year this year and only the strong survived. New this year for me was Campfield, it is truly bulletproof and very late… a perfect apple in my book!


easiest apple in my orchard is Arkansas Black


From what I can see from a quick search, Hunge may mature a little earlier than what I am aiming for. Hawaii and Rambour d’Hiver sound like great options. What was your source for Rambour d’Hiver? I did not see any sellers of the tree or scionwood.

I am pretty sure that I had Campfield on my list but scratched it off the list because the Cummin’s nursery site scared me away with their description: “Campfield is a very large and vigorous tree with an upright-spreading habit and average resistance to major diseases. It is cold hardy and healthy but prone to overbearing and biennialism. This variety should be well pruned and thinned. Campfield is a cider apple; it is not suitable for fresh eating.”

Others to consider for the plant and forget orchard–
Burford Redflesh, Johnson Keeper, Terry, winter Sweet, Anders, or May Queen.

Hunge is best picked early October… pretty late. I think Hawaii has a similar ripening period. I think the listed date is too early on it. It is very unusual in taste, apple plus sharp cheddar cheese. It needs storage to get the cheddar.

Rambour d’Hiver is not very common, I got my wood from USDA many years ago. Ask me this winter if you can’t find it.

Campfield is a cider apple but I also enjoy eating them. Very sweet, with an unusual flavor that is very fruity. The only downside is that the texture is hard but not crisp or breaking… you more knaw at them than rip a chunk off.


Great info lists.


How is the Rambour d’ Hiver taste? I have the Calville D’ Hiver in my orchard. First good apple harvest this year. Still on the tree, so far.

Fuji should go on that list. Good apple with minimal damage.

1 Like

Good recommendations. Do you grow these apples? If so, which is your most reliable?

1 Like

I did have a Fuji sport (Red Fuji BC#2) listed under the unknown disease list. Under the Cornell Apple Disease Susceptibility Blog, the disease characterisitcs of Fuji are:

I thought that it may be difficult to grow based on this. Do you have success with a low or no spray with Fuji? I would think that the sports would have a similar profile with disease resistance as the original. The maturity date is where I would like it to be and the storage properties look superb. My interest is piqued.

1 Like

I love cheddar cheese, but I have a difficult time picturing the flavor in an apple. I guess I am going to have to try it out.

1 Like

It is your standard apple mostly. It has a bit more savory type flavors in it. It is considered best as a cooking apple but I like to eat them too.

It is one of the oldest known varieties, from the 1500s, and it seems like some of the heirloom red apples in the US are descendants of it. There are few really old apples that are red-skinned which is why it seems like it could have been a source of the red skin of Jonathan etc.


I have 6 trees 30 plus years old. Arkansas Black wins in the dependability under no-spray conditions.
(At least for late apples it does).


Winesaps have been my second best over the years for a dependable late apple.

Braeburn and Fuji are hit or miss.

Most of the other apples I refer to I do have but they are young trees and I don’t have enough years to draw conclusions yet based on personal experiences.

1 Like

Tempted on attempting a Liberty or Freedom graft on one of my crabapples. I think I’m going to try it in the spring.

While Liberty is a disease-resistant rock-star, it is also said to be an insect magnet- to the extent that some people consider it a “trap-crop” tree for insects. Beware if you are planning to go no-spray.

1 Like

Thank you for this advice. Is there any variety that you would recommend instead?