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Apple Tree Varieties

Many different varieties of apples are sold by local nurserymen and mail order seed companies. Some of these are completely unsuitable for fruit production in the Red River Valley area. The limiting factors include hardiness, disease resistance and the length of our growing season. Most of the apple varieties have been developed further south in areas with a longer growing season. These varieties are very susceptible to damage from the extreme cold of our winters and very seldom ripen in our short season. Fireblight is a major disease problem and can kill trees which are susceptible.

When considering these factors several well known varieties can not be recommended for this area. These varieties include: Red and Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Jonathan, Wealthy and Beacon. Dwarf trees are not recommended for our area because of the tenderness of their rootstocks. Unless these rootstocks have very good winter protection, they will be killed by severe winter temperatures.

Haralson or Haralred (red fruit sport of Haralson) is the most commonly grown apple in this area. It is a tart, juicy apple which is good for both fresh eating and cooking. The tree is very hardy, moderately resistant to fireblight and bears fruit at an early age. The fruit matures about the first of October and stores for four to six months.

Hazen, a variety introduced by North Dakota State University has large dark red fruit which normally matures in late August or early September. The fruit has a milder taste than Haralson and is good for cooking and eating. The tree is a natural semi-dwarf which bears fruit at a young age. Hazen is moderately resistant to fireblight.

If you want an early cooking apple, I would recommend Duchess or Red Duchess. It is a popular variety for pie, sauce and jelly, but too tart for eating. The tree is very hardy and moderately resistant to fireblight. The fruit is moderately resistant to fireblight. The fruit matures in late August and will store for about two weeks.

Other varieties which would do well in our area include: Sweet Sixteen and State Fair, introductions from Minnesota which are moderately resistant to fireblight, but have some susceptibility to apple scab; and Honeycrisp, another Minnesota introduction which is highly recommended but hasn't been fully tested for this area.

Todd Weinmann, Extension Horticulturist & Master Gardener Coordinator
Phone: (701) 241-5707

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