Gardeners are so used to spraying apples (Malus pumila) over and over with all kinds of pesticides (commercial nurseries spray ‘Macintosh’ apples 10 to 20 times a year!) that it is difficult to believe that there may be cultivars that don’t need spraying. Yet apples without major disease problems do exist. Here are some examples:
- ‘Crimson Topaz’
- ‘Nova Easygro’
- ‘Nova Spy’
- ‘Sir Prize’
- ‘William’s Pride’
- ‘Wolf River’
All the above varieties are highly resistant or even immune to apple scab, which is by far the most common and most serious apple disease and the only one that really directly affects the quality of the fruit itself. Also, they are at least moderately resistant to three other major apple diseases: powdery mildew, fireblight and rust*.
*Rust is really only a problem when there are junipers growing nearby.
Have a Ball!
So much for diseases, but there are not yet any apple trees truly resistant to insect damage. Might I therefore suggest adding a red ball trap to your arsenal to at least stop apple maggot, the most common and damaging apple pest in most areas? Many people are finding they no longer have any need to spray their apple trees with when they combine disease-resistant apples with red ball traps.