After acquiring our first home and a healthy chunk of land, my husband and I were on a mission to have as many fruit trees as we could get to survive in this fickle Alaskan climate. The first step was to research, research, research. Once I dug into this task, I found there was little easily available for Alaskan growers as resource. I choose to share my research in a series of articles. The first is apples trees that grow well in Alaska.
I choose apples first, because apples are the fruit tree with the highest success rate in Alaska as a whole. As a result, the number of apple tree types capable of surviving here is much higher than many other fruit varieties. I spent a good deal of time combing the web to find forums, gardening groups, and fruit growth trials to sort out which apple varieties fared the best in Alaskan climates.
Apples good in zones 2-4 are plausible depending on your area. The time required for fruit to ripen must also be short enough to accommodate the shorter growing season Alaskan summer’s provide.
The best apple trees to grow in Alaska included:
(determined by most commonly recommended by growers, being listed as a high survival rate, or being suggested by highly qualified sources. These six apple types fell under all three categories. Carrol and Parkland were the top runners.)
-Carrol: Carrol apples are a small to medium greenish-yellow to red apple with a tart, crisp flavor. They work well for desserts, cooking, and juicing.
-Parkland: Parkland apples are medium sized and red with a tart, crisp flavor. They work well for any apple application.
-Norland: Norland apples are a medium red apple with a tart, crisp flavor. They work well for pretty much everything, however do keep longer in storage if picked before ripe.
-Prairie Magic: Prairie Magic apples are a large yellow to red apple with a sweet, crisp flavor. They are great straight off the tree and in desserts.
-Rescue: Rescue is a type of crab apple that is red in color and has a tart, but sweet crisp flavor. They are great for jellies, but also work well for other apple uses. Rescue apple trees are often noted for being especially attractive trees.
-Zestar: Zestar is a medium, yellow to red apple with a crisp, sweet flavor. They are best for desserts and jams.
The second best apple tree varieties for Alaska included:
(These apples met a minimum of two categories)
-Adams Crabapple: Adams apples make a very attractive tree bearing crab-apple sized sweet, red fruit.
-Columbia Crabapple: While listed in two Alaskan fruit growing trials in the Fairbanks area with a high survival rate, nothing could be found on this apple’s appearance and taste.
-Heyer 12: Heyer 12 apples are crisp, small and yellow, but have a neutral flavor not tart or sweet. They work well as a texture-based cooking apple.
-September Rudy: September Rudy Apples are medium-sized, red apples with a sweet, crisp flavor many consider to be close to red delicious but better. They are excellent for desserts and jams, but also keep well in storage.
State Fair- State Fair is a medium, red apple with a tart flavor. These apples keep well and are good for desserts.
-Trailman Crabapple: The Trailman crabapple is typical size for a crab-apple variety. They are yellow to red in color with a tart flavor and are good in preserves, jams and desserts. Trailman apples are noted for growing rapidly in Alaska.
-Yellow Transparent: Yellow transparent apples are a medium to large, yellow variety with a crisp texture. They excellent for apple sauce but also work well in jams and desserts.
Acceptable apple varieties for Alaska:
(These apples met one category. Descriptions will be skipped for time’s sake, this is simply a list of varieties.)
18-10-32, 8919, Adamic, Altaiski Sweet, Anderson, Arctic Red, Ariole, Beacon, Brookland, Centennial Crabapple, Chinese Golden Early, Dawn, Gertrude, Ginger Gold, Golden Uralian, Goodland, Gravenstein, Heyer 14, Heyer 20, Jacques Crabapple, Lee 17, Lodi, Nova Novisibirski, Osmond, Patterson, Prairie Sun, Paula Sun, Red Dolphin, Red Heart, Rosthern 8, Simonet, Summer Red, Sylvia Crabapple, Tydeman’s Early, Ukalskojoe Nalivnoje, Westland, and William’s Pride.
Other apple varieties mentioned as capable of survival and fruit production in Alaska:
(These species were simply mentioned, had lower survival rates, or weren’t recommended but could survive and grow fruit.)
9.22, Adanac Sask, Advance, Alexander, Alma Sweet, Almata, Antonovka, Ardor Dale, Avernarius, Battleford, Breakey, Chestnut Crab, Collet, Crimson Beauty, Dakota Gold, Dakota, Dauphin, Dearborn, Diebel, Discovery, Dolgo Crab, Duchess, Duchess Red, Dudley, Early Harvest Harvest, Early Joe, Edith Smith, Erickson, Fameuse(snow),Francis, Garland, Geneva, Early Geneva, Golden Egg, Gravenstein Red, Harcourt, Hazen, Heyer, Heyer 6, Hibernal Russia, Iowa Beauty, Irish Peach, Jerseymac, Joyce, Julyred, Kelsey Crab Crab, Kerr Mani, Lee 21, Lindel, Livland Rasberry, Lobo, Lubsk Queen, Malinda, Mantet, Mclean, Melba, Morden 347, Morden 359, Morden 363, Norcue, Norda, Noret, Norhey, Norjuice, Norkent, Norlove, Norson, Nova Easy Grow, Oriole, Osman, PF 21, Quinte, Red Astrachan, Red June, Rosthern 15, Rosthern, Rosybrook, Shafer, Sofstaholm, Sunnybrook, Sweet Sixteen, Tetovsky, Valentine, Viking, Vista Bella, Wellington, Whitney, Winekist, Yellow Jay, and Yellow Sweet.
Apple varieties which are hardy enough for Alaska, but require too long of a growing season:
(These may be possible in unheated greenhouses to lengthen the ripening time allowed.)
Haralred, Haralson, Honey Crisp, Noran, Wealthy, and Wolf River