Apples are one of the most reliable fruit trees we can grow in Kansas. We often get asked what varieties are worth checking into – especially for home gardeners looking for disease resistant trees that will require less spraying. If you are planning to plant any new trees this spring, the varieties below are great options to consider for those who want to minimize spray applications. These varieties are considered for their relative ease of maintenance.
Don’t forget that apple trees need to be pollinated by a second tree. Be sure that you have at least two trees that will bloom at similar times in order to cross pollinate. A crabapple tree can also serve as a pollinator for a fruiting apple if it blooms at the same time.
Check out this publication for a helpful chart covering apple varieties that serve as pollinizers for each other. https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g6001
Trees listed below generally have good resistance to the most common apple diseases. The trees are listed in order of ripening time.
‘Pristine’ Apple: This is a selection from (Purdue, Rutgers, and Illinois Universities). Pristine ripens early and producing large crops of yellow apples that are crisp and tasty. The apples are mildly tart and excellent for fresh eating, baking, or in applesauce. The trees are highly resistant to apple scab and cedar apple rust, and somewhat resistant to powdery mildew and fireblight. (Needs a mid/late season flowering pollinizer)
‘Redfree’ Apple: This is also a selection from Purdue, Rutgers, and Illinois Universities. ‘Redfree’ is a nice summer apple with a high level of disease resistance. It has excellent resistance to scab, it also has good resistance to fire blight and cedar apple rust. This variety also ripens early in the season. (Needs a mid/late season flowering pollinizer)
‘Williams Pride’ Apple: This selection ripens in early to mid-season. The apples are dark red and have excellent tart fruit quality. The trees are resistant to apple scab and cedar apple rust. This variety also has a high level of resistance to fire blight and good resistance to powdery mildew. (Needs an early-mid flowering pollinizer)
‘Liberty’ Apple: I have grown ‘Liberty’ for several years with very good production. Liberty is similar in appearance to McIntosh but its flavor is a bit more tart. It has a good flavor that is all its own. ‘Liberty’ is a good, dependable choice because it is highly productive, stores well, and is resistant to all the major apple diseases. It ripens mid-season. (Needs an early-mid season pollinizer)
‘Enterprise’ Apple: This is a glossy red apple with wonderful flavor that improves in proper storage. The tree is productive and vigorous. The fruit ripens late in the season. It is an excellent choice due to its disease resistance (immune to scab and resistant to fire blight, cedar apple rust and mildew), and it stores well. (Needs a mid to late season flowering pollinizer)
‘Sundance’ Apple: This is a pale yellow apple variety with sweet flavor. The fruit is very juicy as well and ripens late in the season. This variety is resistant to apple scab, fireblight, and cedar apple rust . It has moderate resistance to powdery mildew. (Needs a mid-season flowering pollinizer)
K-State Research and Extension apple/fruit resources
Don’t forget a few other resources that will help you plan and care for your apple planting.