What are you looking for in an apple tree?


Here are my priorities:

Rootstock - I have chosen B-118 & M-111 I advise anyone considering growing fruit trees to first read Native Hunters thread
titled, "Forbidden Apple Tree
Knowledge" .

Disease Resistance- with the main focus being resistance to fire bilght
Drop Times
Taste and Texture-
I haven't tasted everything we are trying to grow, but I want good tasting apples. We do not grow Red Delicious for this reason.
Storage- I want apples that can store well without refrigeration.

It should also be noted to anyone that is considering to grow fruit trees, there is a big difference between being disease resistant and immunity.
With proper thought and planning you can have your own fruit trees producing fruit in under five years. With a little work and research, land managers can improve their properties with fruit trees that will produce fruit, for home and wildlife use, for decades into the future. My grandfather planted apple trees at the Hillfarm in the 1960's, and one still stands and produces today.
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I like the way you worded "...with the main focus being resistance to fire blight...." Of all the diseases of apples and pears, nothing can be more devastating. Several pear varieties are close to being totally immune and there are a few good apples not far behind.

I've seen a lot of apples that got juniper rusts (such as CAR) to where the trees looked bad, but many were able to go ahead and produce a good crop of apples and not suffer long term health affects. Scab will ruin the chances of an orchardist being able to sell his crop, but minor Scab isn't that serious on apples for deer or for humans who don't mind peeling away a few ugly spots.

As for Red Delicious, keep in mind that there are more than 50 variations of it out there due to "sport propagation." In doing this, people were putting more emphasis on looks than taste. I am told that the original tree grown by Hiatt in Iowa (know as the Hawkeye Delicious) is outstanding taste wise. You can still find this tree available from a few sources, but I don't have one myself.

Also, a Red Delicious allowed to ripen properly (and not picked too early - like they have to do for supermarket apples) has a much better taste. I can't speak for every "sport variety" but as a general rule, Red Delicious has good resistance to both CAR and FB. To produce supermarket quality apples, it has to be sprayed for Scab in area where Scab will affect them.

PS: I'm looking for most of the same things you are looking for in apples.
I have read about the many sports of the Red Delicious apples. I still can't get the memory of those mushy grainy school lunch apples, out of my head. :eek: Both of my sons claimed they didn't like red apples because of those apple quarters they got at school. They changed their minds this past fall, with trips to the local apple orchards.
A few of the apple and pear trees we planted in 2017, have several fruiting spurs this winter. I can't wait to taste our own fruit. The deer may not get many of our Hillfarm grown apples next season, at least until, the caretakers get a share first.