Approximately 7,500 varieties make up the list of apple cultivars. American growers plant only about 25 of these for commercial purposes. They include the Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and McIntosh varieties. In addition to offering different tastes, the cultivars also showcase a number of other differences.
Tart vs. Sweet Tasting
Taste greatly differentiates numerous cultivars. Redfree, Priscilla and Nova Easygro are cultivars that grow sweet tasting apples. All these apples are excellent for eating fresh off the tree. In addition, Redfrees and Nova Easygros also make good cooking apples. Dayton, Jonafree, Liberty and Pristine are tart apples. The Jonafree and Pristine cultivars grow apples that you best enjoy fresh, while the Dayton and Liberty make good fresh and cooking varieties.
Highly Susceptible vs. Very Resistant to Cedar Apple Rust
Cedar apple rust is caused by the fungus gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae. It affects fruits, stems and also leaves of cedars and apple trees within North America. Once infected, the trees prematurely drop their leaves and any fruit produced is of low quality. Application of fungicides helps protect trees, but the best method of avoiding cedar apple rust is planting very resistant apple cultivars. Such cultivars include the Baldwin, McIntosh, Milton, Delicious, Redfree and Liberty. Avoid planting Braeburn, Cameo, Fuji, Gala or Rome Beauty, all of which are highly susceptible to the fungus.
Early vs. Late Ripening Season
Several apple cultivars ripen as early as August. They include the Centennial, Sunrise, William's Pride, Pristine and Redfree cultivars. The Pristine, Redfree and Williams' Pride effectively resist common apple diseases, such as apple scab and apple rusts. These cultivars may be grown in the same orchard to achieve cross pollination. Other cultivars bloom and ripen as late as October; these include the Goldrush, Boskoop, Melrose, Enterprise and Gold Star. The Enterprise cultivar resists apple scabs and cedar apple rust. Consider planting Goldrush for a cultivar that withstands fire blight.
Break down the long list of apple cultivars by growing regions. In some cases, these cultivars are specifically grown in one country. For example, the Cavan Sugarcane and Brown Crofton are exclusively Irish dessert apple cultivars. Cultivars that grow well in Ohio are the Pristine, Williams' Pride, Jonafree and Liberty. The Ballarat, Belle De Boskoop and Discovery grow well in Australia, while the Edith Smith, Gravenstein and Heyer 20 grow primarily in Canada. In some cases a cultivar adapts to more than one growing region. For example, the Honey Crisp grows in the US and in Canada; the Kidds Orange Red does well in the US, Great Britain and New Zealand orchards.