Which disease resistant apples are you growing?

Which disease resistant apples do you grow?

I’m especially interested to hear about the less popular varieties.

Today I had a Dayton apple from an apple CSA. Dayton is a PRI breeding program variety. It was very juicy, but the flavor was just OK. It reminded me of Enterprise in appearance, but wasn’t as good. Less acid and only decent brix. Very juicy though. RedFree is a better apple, and it isn’t as good as Williams’ Pride or Pristine.

I am growing the fairly common Liberty and Enterprise. And I have a branch grafted to Williams’ Pride. I will have to get some GoldRush this fall and try them.

1 Like

Drew, I’m growing Chieftain, 3rd leaf, nice load of pretty red, disease free fruit. Leaves are all clean and it got one spray this year. It’s not a new apple and I haven’t tasted much of it, but it sure gets high reviews for taste and without much spray, it looks real good at this time.

Well, I do have Pristine, Liberty and Goldrush, so those are fairly common DR varieties, but they’re newly planted, as are all my other fruit trees. So, no opinion on any of their characteristics.

Of the more obscure DR varieties, I do have a Novaspy, which is a “new and improved” Northern Spy (NS x Gold Del cross) out of Canada. And, we have a Winecrisp, which is another PRI offering. It has Rome, Cox, and Jonathan in its parentage. I’ve asked opinions about these two apples on this forum, but haven’t heard much about them.

When I was pondering which DR trees I wanted, I had considered Enterprise, but changed to something else. I read something about Enterprise having a rather thick, chewy skin, and that kind of moved me in another direction. Maybe it’s fine for some folks, but I just don’t like a thick skinned apple.

The orchard we went to a couple weeks ago has WC, Liberty, Enterprise, and GR, but they’re not ready yet. I’m looking forward to see what they really taste like.

Phil, I’ve read a lot of good reviews about Chieftain on various sites. Folks say it doesn’t get the praise it deserves. Since it’s an Iowa State offering, is it real popular in your area?

BTW, Drew, if you’re interested in maybe getting one, Cummins has them in stock on G11 and G935.

Interesting to hear that that variety does well for you and is disease resistant. It is one of the few that has come from Iowa, and the only one besides Delicious that I know of that isn’t nearly lost. I have come across some old literature on ISU apple and pear varieties. Bartlett pears

I believe I purchased a few Chieftain last year. I don’t recall how they tasted.

Williams’ Pride
Myers Royal Limbertwig
Stayman Winesap
Roxbury Russet

… to name a few.

… and I forgot about:

Cherryville Black
Red Gravenstein
Magnum Bonum

Among these, only Lodi, Red Gravenstein, and Goldrush have ripened fruit for me. Lodi comes in on the Fourth of July, the timing of which I really like, even if its eating quality is only fair. Gravenstein and Goldrush are top tier apples.

I’ve also fruited some flawless-looking Gingergolds, which I really enjoy.

I’m growing two disease resistant, summer “sleepers” out of the now defunct Arkansas breeding project: MonArk and ArkCharm. My grafts aren’t fruiting yet but I tasted MonArk once and it’s Really Good- crisp, tart, very disease resistant, summer apple. Vintage Virginia Apples sells both trees. Feel MonArk is way under-appreciated, under- planted.

Enterprise’s thick skin is a turnoff here as an eating apple - as a cooking apple, it’s OK

I am OK with the skin on Enterprise, but I definitely see why people wouldn’t like it. The second downside to its thick skin is that the natural wax on the skin tends to get greasy as stores.

With that thick skin, maybe it’s a bit more resistant to burrowing insects? Probably doesn’t get much scab or spots on it, either.


My opinion of the few Winecrisp I’ve had is that it is definitely best if you store it for eating later. I think I must have eaten most of the couple pounds I got right away and left a few in the bottom of the crisper. I think those ones that got stored for a while were better. They are an very hard/dense apple when first picked.

1 Like

Chieftain is a very popular commercial variety in the midwest, mostly in Ia. Flavor in taste tests has been rated very good to excellent. Mine are about 2.5-3" now and bright red. Should be ready in 3-4 wks.

I’m going to try to find those apples and pears and get them grafted. We Iowans need to save our heritage. Thanks for the article.

Just checked Hocking Hills web site and he didn’t have these varieties.

Mr/Ms moderator, could you start a new thread on this please?

Empire, Arkansas Black, Pristine, Williams Pride, Enterprise, Goldrush, Red Rebel, and Liberty. Several of these are recent grafts.

1 Like

I started another topic on these Iowa varieties. I would be interested in propagating some of them as branches on other trees, also. I find it interesting that most of these were storage varieties.

These are all second leaf so take with appropriate skepticism on disease claims:
williams pride on g890 - no disease problems so far
priscilla on g41 - Got fireblight on a new shoot and got into the trunk, but seems to be fine after I cut out the canker
king david on g222 - I removed one of the branches after fireblight struck but no problems since then.
liberty on g-41 -No blight or other diseases. Very leggy tree with long limber limbs.
goldrush on g-30 - Only a tiny bit of CAR. This tree is very tall and has short limbs. It wants to go vertical.
Arkansas black on g-41 - Got blight on a new shoot and it got into the trunk and almost girdled it. I left the canker on there and the tree is kicking the canker’s tail as far as I can tell. The tree has sealed off he wound and almost healed over completely already.


I am growing Pristine, Gold Rush, Liberty, and Rebella. Many of the other apples show resistance to scab.

Thanks, yours might be the first opinion of this apple I’ve seen on this site. What kind of flavors are we talking about with Winecrisp? Tart, sweet, juicy? Is there another apple it’s similar to in flavor, texture, etc?