What are some disease resistant apple cultivars to grow in Iowa?


What are some disease resistant apple cultivars to grow in Iowa?


Disease issues are a primary limiting factor to producing high-quality apples in the home garden.  Without regular fungicide applications, most apple cultivars will develop serious issues with diseases like apple scab, fire blight, cedar apple rust, and powdery mildew among other diseases that will limit the size and edibility of the apple crop.

One of the best ways to grow high-quality apples at home with fewer inputs in fungicides is to plant cultivars that are naturally resistant to common apple diseases.  Select one of these cultivars for your Iowa home garden to get good apples with fewer inputs.

Disease Resistant Apple Cultivars  |  Common High-Maintenance Apple Cultivars

Disease-Resistant Apple Cultivars to Consider for the Home Garden

Key: VR=Very Resistant; MR=Moderately Resistant; R=Resistant; S=Susceptible; MS=Moderately Susceptible; VS=Very Susceptible; ND=No Data

Cultivar Description  Resistance to Apple Scab Resistance to Fire Blight Resistance to Cedar-Apple Rust Resistance to Powdery Mildew
Crimson Crisp™  Small to medium apples with bright mid-range red over yellow. Extremely crisp. Very good, rich flavor. Sweet/sharp flavor, spicy. VR MR  S MR
Dayton Fruit is medium-large, full red and sweet. VR R MR MR
Enterprise Glossy red, with a thick skin and tart flavor.   Good for fresh eating and cooking. VR R R S
Florina Medium to large. Very attractive, purple-red over yellow. Medium firm. Aromatic. Keeps well. R MR  VS MR
Freedom Good multi-use apple. Medium to large red fruit on almost invisible yellow skin. Crisp, juicy, sweet, good-tasting flesh. Subacid, vibrant flavor. VR VR R R
Galarina Small to medium size. Variable reddish coloring over green-yellow (when not fully colored). Some ribbing. Five-pointed calyx end. Smooth, thick, tough skin. Stores well. VR ND ND VR
Goldrush Similar to Golden Delicious but with a bit more acidity.  Smooth-skin, dessert apple good for fresh eating, cooking, juicing, and it stores well. VR MR S S
Jonafree Medium size, bright red, fully or nearly fully colored. Flavor is Jonathan-like, but less acid. Keeps 10 weeks. VR S S R
Liberty McIntosh-style apple, with red skin and juicy flesh VR R VR R
Macfree Medium red apple similar to McIntosh.   R MR R MR
Novamac Red fruit is similar to McIntosh.  Sweet, wine-like flavor with mild acidity.  Firm, crisp, and juicy.   VR VR VR VR
NovaSpy Red apples are sweet and are good for fresh eating and baking. R ND S MR
Pixie Crunch™  Red fruit is extremely crisp, medium to fine-grained, juicy, moderately to mildly acid, rich, spicy, full-flavored.  Excellent for up to one month after harvest. R S S ND
Pristine™  Lemon-yellow apple. Trees are very productive and is a good keeper for an early apple. VR R S R
Redfree Moderate sized fruit is firm, crisp, mildly acid to sweet, slightly rich and pleasant flavor, juicy, and very mild.  Good dessert quality. R MR VR MR
RubyRush Red apples are juicy and aromatic with a crisp texture. VR R R ND
Scarlett O-Hara™  Extremely firm, very crisp, and breaking flesh; sweet to mildly sub-acid, slightly spicy, fruity, rich, pleasant flavor, juicy.  VR S R MR
Sir Prize Large greenish-yellow fruit. High quality, but very thin tender skin that bruises easily. Very sweet, scented taste, crisp & juicy. VR S S MR
Spartan Small sweet apple with bright crimson skin and bright white flesh. Crisp and juicy, especially immediately after picking.  Good for fresh eating and juicing. MR MR R R
Sundance™  Medium-sized fruit with a sweet, tart flavor. Yellow fruit with some russet. VR R R MR
William’s Pride  Fruit is medium in size and slightly conic in shape with a rich aromatic flavor. Apples are 70-80% red with excellent eating quality. VR R VR R

Common High Maintenance Apple Cultivars

When shopping for apples, several cultivars are readily found in garden centers but are highly susceptible to common apple diseases.  While these trees can produce tasty apples, they require weekly fungicide applications for a high-quality crop.

  • Cortland
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Golden Delicious
  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Jonathan



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