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Disease-Resistant Apple Trees in the Southeast

apples image by green308 from

Apple growers in the Southeast should be familiar with the diseases that commonly strike apple trees in this region. Fire blight begins with wilting twigs, cedar apple rust with a fungus on the tree's leaves, apple scab appears as raised black spots on new apples, and powdery mildew causes a powdery substance to appear on the leaves. The best course of action is to plant apple trees that are resistant to these diseases. There are several varieties resistant to these diseases that will do well in the Southeast.


Liberty apples ripen in early September. They are common in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. They are resistant to fire blight, cedar apple rust, powdery mildew and apple scab. This tree will grow from 15 to 30 feet tall with a spread of 15 to 20 feet. It grows well in sandy or clay soil. The fruit has a yellow base with deep red stripes. The apple of this tree is juicy, with the flesh being slightly yellowish and acidic.


Freedom apples are resistant to fire blight and cedar apple rust. This apple tree is commonly found in South Carolina and Georgia. It is semi-resistant to powdery mildew. The fruit is a bright red color with yellow background. The flesh of this apple is cream-colored. The skin is very firm. This apple is ready for harvest in early September.

Arkansas Black

The Arkansas Black apple originated in Benton County, Arkansas. This tree is found mainly in Arkansas but also in Louisiana and Mississippi. It is resistant to fire blight, apple scab and cedar apple rust. It ripens in late October. The fruit is large with reddish-black skin. The fruit is extremely hard when first picked but softens during storage. It keeps well when refrigerated. This variety of apple tree does not need spraying.

Ben Davis

The Ben Davis apple is hardy and resistant to most common apple tree diseases. This tree will be a consistent high-producer of quality fruit. These apples ripen in late September. It has a large fruit which is red over yellow. The fruits are known to be very uniform in size and shape. The flesh of this apple is very firm. This tree's fruit will keep for a long period of time, usually over an entire winter.

Black Limbertwig

The Black Limbertwig apple is resistant to apple scab, fire blight, cedar apple rust and powdery mildew. This tree is common in Arkansas and Tennessee. The fruit of this tree is deep red and very fragrant. Black Limbertwig ripens in early to mid October. It is an excellent choice for brewing apple cider or making apple butter.


The Gala apple tree is a cross between Golden Delicious and Kidd's Orange Red. This tree is found in all areas of the southeastern United States. Gala apples are resistant to apple scab and fire blight. The fruit of this tree is medium-size and light red in color with a yellow blush near the top of the fruit. It has a strong aroma even after being sent to market. It is a very sweet apple, making it a good choice for fresh eating or drying.

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