Southern apple growers - Outside of Liberty and William's Pride, what apples/crabapples do you recommend?

Thanks for the update, Vault. I’m in the top of the hill country but I’m up on a rocky hill. I’ve read about the horrors of cotton root rot on Texas apples. I’m wondering if there is any correlation between low spots like yours and the bacteria that causes cotton root rot. Maybe that’s my wishful thinking kicking in. My oldest apples are going on year three, so I don’t have much data to go off of yet.

Watched a fascinating video from the Heritage Orchard group about fireblight. Covered why some varieties are more sensitive (genetics), the advantage of Geneva rootstocks, and the work going on to provide fireblight resistant but also tasty apples

March 15th, 2023
Genetics & Breeding for Fire Blight Resistance
Gennaro Fazio - USDA-ARS - Geneva, NY & Awais Kahn - Cornell University

Kahn showed data that suggested, all things being equal, rootstocks with bigger root systems were more resistant. He showed the chromosomes on crab apples that contribute to their excellent overall resistance to disease. Also a new study which allows for fruit production in less than a year to speed up testing of apple varieties.

Very interesting! Worthwhile to join and have access to all the webinars.


Thanks for posting this info. Looks like a great site.

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Hey @BlueBerry … found this vid of someone eating… taste test report for HGG last night.

He was impressed.

Mine is 4 yr old this year… will be glad when i get to try some.

Ps… my apples most are on M7 which is reported to be very resistent to FB.

I do have one novamac on b9… and another i grafted to M7. M7 does well here.

But my Gold Rush on M7… several hits of FB last year.

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Thanks. Sounds great.

I grafted it among my first dozen or 2 some 5 or more years ago. But, I didn’t nurture it, and I think it died from drought…at lest the top is dead. Might sprout from older trunk but odds not good. So, I’ve got one on order on B-9 rootstock. Should get me a bloom next year maybe.

Yes and no. So the extension experts say you can get cotton root rot anywhere (fungus, not bacteria), that it’s not limited to old fields. It’s natively in the soil. But…my orchard is in an old field. And in my area, alot of the grape planing (gets cotton root rot too) or other orchard plantings, are going into spots that were probably farmed at once time. And I have seen scattered trees in peoples yards survive, where when planted in mass, they are more likely to perish. So you should be safer up there on that rocky hill unless it comes in with introduced soil.
Cotton root rot is not supposed to flourish in dry soils. Soils high in organic matter are supposed to keep it at bay. Acidic soils too. Mulch for several years unfortunately wasn’t enough.
With that orchard planting, I planted the apple trees far apart, with two pomegranates between them, at least fifteen feet between each tree. Pomegranates are not supposed to get cotton root rot (they are fine, just keep freezing to the ground except one Russian 18). The goal was for it to hit a pomegranate area and then stop, but unfortunately that did not work, or I have multiple hot spots throughout the field.

Have you ever heard of root shield and root shield plus? Apparently they are beneficial fungi that deter destructive soil borne fungi. I’ve heard people say that it works but I have no experience with it myself. Another thing I’m looking into is using the native Blanco crabapple as a rootstock. It’s from the alkaline soils of the hill country and may help with the PH and drought tolerance.