Apples are among the healthiest and the most popular fruits consumed globally. Whether you’re in the habit of starting your morning with a fresh apple, love making apple pie, or are a fan of apple sauce, one thing is for sure – you need an apple tree in the yard.
If you don’t have a lot of time to spare tending to the plant and keeping it safe from pests and diseases, below is a list of the most disease resistant apple trees to grow in your yard. Growing disease resistant apple cultivars also limits the need to use fungicides in the garden, which aren’t just damaging to the environment, but also to the wildlife in your yard.
Released in 1978, Liberty has long since been a popular choice among gardeners for the low maintenance and disease resistance that the cultivar offers. It grows easily in USDA growing zones 4 to 7, producing delicious, bright fruits with a natural resistance against cedar apple rust and fire blight. The chances for apple scab and powdery mildew are also noticeably low with this cultivar. Growing Liberty limits the use of pesticides and fungicides while still enjoying sweet, crisp fruits in the fall.
Pristine is a disease resistant hybrid of two domesticated varieties, descending from ‘McIntosh’ and ‘Starking Delicious’ apples. It produces bright yellow apples, with a pleasing tart, juicy flavor. The fruit is equally delicious whether consumed fresh or used in recipes. It is harvested early in the season, but won’t keep fresh for very long. The cultivar offers a high resistance against apple scab, and medium resistance against powdery mildew. However, since there’s some susceptibility to fire blight and cedar apple rust, you may still need to keep an eye on it throughout the growing season.
This thin-skinned apple variety produces bright, crisp fruits with a beautiful blend of sweet and tart flavor that’s best enjoyed fresh. It also produces one of the best fresh cider. With a size between that of an apple and crabapple, it holds up well when cooked. It grows vigorously producing an upright canopy in just a few years and offers a good resistance against apple scab. However, it’s susceptible to fire blight and only slightly susceptible to powdery mildew.
Freedom is a hardy apple cultivar that’s easy to grow and produces a reliable yield for years. It’s resistant to juniper rusts, powdery mildew and also offers a moderate resistance against fire blight and apple scab. However, since it’s susceptible to black rot, you’ll need to monitor the tree during the wet season. Since the fruit does not have a very smooth finish and does not store well, it’s recommended for home growers only.
Though small in size, the fruits are very sweet and juicy and perfect for snacking off the hand. It’s a hybrid cultivar released by Purdue, Rutgers, Illinois Co Op, Apple Breeding Program and grows ideally in USDA growing zones 5 to 8. You can start harvesting from mid season and continue picking fruit to late mid season depending on the climate you’re growing it in. Pixie Crunch offers excellent resistance to apple scab, but is susceptible to fire blight and powdery mildew, so it will need some supervision through the season.
Released in Czech Republic, Crimson Topaz produces medium-sized apples with yellow skin and orange-red stripes. The cream-colored flesh is crisp and juicy, making it an excellent choice for eating fresh off the tree. The tree grows vigorously, blooming in midseason and producing fruit that ripens around mid-October. The cultivar offers excellent resistance to apple scab and is moderately resistant to fire blight and powdery mildew.
William’s Pride is another excellent apple cultivar you can grow if you don’t want the hassle of dealing with pests and diseases. It’s one of the earliest cultivars to ripen in summer, and since it offers a long harvest season, you can continue enjoying it through the fall. The tree is easy to grow and offers strong resistance against juniper rust, apple scab, fire blight and powdery mildew. Besides the impressive disease resistance profile, it offers excellent quality medium-large apples with a semi-tart and crisp flesh.
Producing medium-sized, attractive red fruits, Crimson Crisp is another low-maintenance apple cultivar you’ll love having in your garden. It comes to harvest around midseason, producing crisp, flavorful fruit with a hint of tartness. The fruit stores for as long as 6 months. The cultivar offers good resistance to apple scab and moderate resistance to leaf rust and powdery mildew. However, you’ll still need to keep an eye out for fire blight, which is one problem it’s susceptible to.
With a moderately vigorous growing habit, Goldrush is a reliable cultivar to grow in most gardens. Though the fruit ripens late, the quality is excellent, with storage of about 7 months. Medium to large sized yellow fruits are slightly acidic at the time of harvest, but tend to grow sweeter in storage. Goldrush is resistant to apple scab, fire blight and powdery mildew, but you’ll still need to keep a watch out for cedar apple rust.
Enterprise is also an excellent choice for gardeners who don’t want to deal with diseases. It offers good resistance to apple scab, fire blight and rust and moderate resistance to powdery mildew. The tree grows vigorously and produces medium to large sized fruits that have a red, tough skin that holds up well in storage.
Now that you’re familiar with some of the most disease resistant apple trees, pick one that suits your climate and garden well and start growing!