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This spray schedule is a compromise between benign neglect (wormy, deformed, scabby fruit) and compulsion (14 sprays). It'll do a reasonable job of managing the main critter pests, the most troubling spring disease (Scab), and several summer diseases.

Materials: Dormant Oil
Home Orchard Spray (one that contains Malathion, Methoxychlor, and Captan)

#1. Dormant Oil Spray. Anytime the apple fruit buds are dormant to quarter-inch green and the temperature will not drop below 32° F for 24 hours. Six Tablespoons per gallon or 2 pints per ten gallons. The point of this spray is to suppress three critters: San Jose Scale, Aphids, and European Red Mites.

#2. Half-inch green to pink. Home Orchard Spray following label instructions. This spray should follow the first spray by ten days to two weeks because the Captan component is incompatible with the dormant oil spray. Get this spray on before the blossoms open, else you'll murder the pollinating insects.

#3. Petal fall. Home Orchard Spray.

#4. Ten to Fourteen Days Later. Home Orchard Spray.

It would be nice if you'd mark on your calendar to spray your orchard twice more with Home Orchard Spray three and six weeks after spray #4. The most critical sprays are sprays #3 and #4. They are the ones that nail Plum Curculio and the first generation of Codling Moth. The next most important spray is #2. You want to get at least one fungicide spray on the foliage before bloom.

I think the best choice of sprayers for most home growers is a hose end sprayer designed for fruit trees. The Gilmour All-Purpose Sprayer is the leading brand. One mail order source is NASCO (800-588-9595), for $19.00 plus shipping.

I believe in treating all garden and orchard pesticides with utmost respect. I recommend you acquire an inexpensive respirator and wear it whenever you're handling any pesticides. Not only will the mask protect you, it will give you the mental set to concentrate on the task at hand. I use the Moldex, (Item #G8602), available from Gemplers (1-800-382-8473) for $22.45 plus shipping.

If your tolerance for blemished fruit is very low, or you have more than fifteen trees, it's time to upgrade your knowledge of apple pest management and upgrade your chemical arsenal. We've enhanced our links to other sites including several university home spray schedules.  Their schedules have inspired an Addendum to our simplified home spray schedule. Your first chemical upgrade will be from Home Orchard Spray to the insecticide Malathion and the fungicide Captan.  Your second chemical upgrade will be to add another fungicide, Immunox.  Immunox is compatible with dormant oil, and besides controlling Scab, also controls Powdery Mildew and Rusts.

(If you're wondering why I've changed my recommendation from Imidan to Malathion, EPA has banned Imidan for sale for use on backyard fruit trees after 2002.)


I've revised this recommendations list significantly for 2000. Every year brings more experiences and new introductions.  Newcomers like Honey Crisp and Goldrush have another season to prove their merit and reliability.  A major factor driving my reassesments has been several recent seasons with killing spring frosts.   Not bearing in spring-frost years is a significant flaw, which has caused some of my favorites --Braeburn, Swiss Gourmet, Jonagold, Jonalicious, and several Japanese varieties --to slip in my rankings or to fall all the way into "not recommended" in the case of Senshu, Hokuto, and Kinsei.

In over twenty years of growing apples in Central Illinois, we have fruited over 300 varieties.  Our goal was to grow the best eating apples, so we tried every variety, both old and new, that was supposed to have excellent flavor.

My criteria for the following list of recommendations are:

  1. Excellent eating quality.
  2. Suitable for Central Illinois' climate.

Some varieties such as Cox's Orange Pippin and the McIntosh types need cooler temperatures than ours as they near  their ripening time.  Others, such as Granny Smith and Pink Lady require a longer growing season than ours to mature to best quality.

Here are the apple varieties I'd grow if I were planting a personal orchard in Central Illinois today.  Each group is listed in order of ripening - from early to late season.*  The number preceding each variety name is my own preference ranking within the group,  i.e.  if  I were planting just one SWEET apple tree, it would be a Fuji; the second would be a Gala, etc.

*The number in parentheses after  each variety name represents the ripening date as number of weeks before (-) or after(+) Red Delicious.
The list is in ripening date order, from earliest to latest.


apple.gif (892 bytes)SWEET apple.gif (892 bytes)

apple.gif (892 bytes) 11    Sansa (-5)  An early Gala-type, low vigor
apple.gif (892 bytes) 9   Mollie's Delicious (-4) Large, crisp, sweet (does best on dwarf trees)
apple.gif (892 bytes) 2   Gala (-3.5)   Best very sweet early fall apple
apple.gif (892 bytes) 3   Honey Crisp (-2) Very crisp, large, hardy
apple.gif (892 bytes) 6   Jonagold (-1)  World's best, but short storage-life, frost-tender
apple.gif (892 bytes) 5   Red Delicious (0)  The standard red sweet apple (avoid Starkrimson strain)
apple.gif (892 bytes) 10   Creston (-1)  Resembles Jonagold; crisper but uglier; (Untested)
apple.gif (892 bytes) 4   Golden Delicious (+1) The standard yellow sweet apple
apple.gif (892 bytes) 8   Mutsu (+2)  Greenish yellow, cocktail of flavors, frost tender
apple.gif (892 bytes) 12   Golden Russet (+3)  Medium-sized, antique russet with a dense sugary flesh
apple.gif (892 bytes) 13   Orin (+3)   Crisp, greenish-yellow, aromatic; #3 in Japan
apple.gif (892 bytes) 7   Cameo (+3)  Poorly colored, best Red Delicious type (Untested)
apple.gif (892 bytes) 1   Fuji (+4)   Best keeping sweet apple in the world

apple2.gif (893 bytes) BALANCED apple2.gif (893 bytes)
apple2.gif (893 bytes) 4   Swiss Gourmet (-3.5) Best texture, mostly red, some russet, frost tender
apple2.gif (893 bytes) 7   Jonalicious (-1.5)  Crisp, juicy, somewhat sour; growth problems
apple2.gif (893 bytes) 5   Rubinette (-1)  Golden x Cox, a "best" Cox-like flavor 
apple2.gif (893 bytes) 3   Melrose (+1.5)  Jonathan x Delicious, excellent pies & caramel apples
apple2.gif (893 bytes) 6   Spigold (+2)  Spy x Golden, huge and wonderful; growth problems
apple2.gif (893 bytes) 8   Suncrisp (+2.5)  Large, yellow, intense,  (Cortland x Cox) x G.D.
apple2.gif (893 bytes) 2   Braeburn (+3)  Best texture and flavor, moderate keeper
apple2.gif (893 bytes) 1   Goldrush (+3.5)  Scab resistant, intense, Fuji class keeper, reliable

apple.gif (892 bytes) SOUR* apple.gif (892 bytes)

apple.gif (892 bytes) 14   Yellow Transparent (-10) July sauce apple, "smoother" sauce than Lodi
apple.gif (892 bytes) 13   Lodi (-10)   July sauce, large apples
apple.gif (892 bytes) 9   Monark (-7)  Large, crisp, pies and tarts; preharvest drop problems
apple.gif (892 bytes) 10   Gravenstein (-5.5) The standard late summer cooker
apple.gif (892 bytes) 2   Akane (-5)  An early Jonathan-type
apple.gif (892 bytes) 1   Jonathan (-2)  Standard Midwest cooking apple
apple.gif (892 bytes) 8   Ashmead's Kernel (-1) Ugly russet; intense; frost tender
apple.gif (892 bytes) 6   Liberty (-1)  Scab resistant McIntosh-type
apple.gif (892 bytes) 12   Calville Blanc (+2) Classic French cooker
apple.gif (892 bytes) 3   Idared (+2)  Best keeping Jonathan type
apple.gif (892 bytes) 7   Esopus Spitzenberg (+2) Highest ranked sour apple at most apple tastings, short lived
apple.gif (892 bytes) 16   Northern Spy (+2) Premium processing cultivar; a best antique
apple.gif (892 bytes) 5   Stayman Winesap (+3) Best of the Winesaps; cracking problems
apple.gif (892 bytes) 4   Newtown Pippin (+4) Light green, medium-sized, best quality in December
apple.gif (892 bytes) 11   Arkansas Black (+4) Gorgeous, hard, keeper, Winesap-type
apple.gif (892 bytes) 15   Granny Smith (+6) Large green keeper; barely matures here
*I'm not really a fan or user of sour apples.  So, my sour list  is longer with "softer" convictions.


In an average year, Red Delicious will hit full bloom around April 26 here, and near tree ripe harvest will begin on Sept. 21, 148 days later. Gala harvest (3½ weeks earlier) in that same average year would commence on Aug.. 26th, 122 days after full bloom. Full bloom dates here have been as early as April 12th and as late as May 11th.

When full bloom dates are earlier than average, and the temperatures following full bloom, near normal, then the days to harvest seem to remain quite constant. In other words when Gala achieves full bloom ten days earlier than normal, expect to commence harvest on Aug. 16th

When full bloom dates are later than normal, the varieties ripening near to Red Delicious and later tend to have their harvest dates scrunch up a little. In other words, days to maturity shorten up a little for the later ripening varieties. Good thing. In a rather late season Fuji would be a disaster here otherwise, and Granny would nearly always be a disaster. Fuji always matures to my satisfaction here.

These dates given are for our orchard located about 40 miles west of Springfield, Illinois. Folks living 200 miles north or south of us can make rather accurate interpolations from our ripening dates. A rule of thumb: for every 12 miles of latitude, average full bloom dates will change by one day. Folks living in metropolitan areas have more heat and will have full bloom dates up to 5 days earlier.

7 miles WNW of Jacksonville

90° 20' 2" W; 39° 46' 16"N


  • The most unabridged mail order nursery source guide that we know of is the Seed Savers'  Fruit, Berry, and Nut Inventory, third edition.  This guide is for the seriously addicted variety collector.  The section on apples lists nursery sources for over 1,200 varieties.  The third edition (Feb 01) is $24 plus shipping. 
  • If all else fails, go to Texas  and abandon all ignorance.  Texas links to the land grant universities of all the other states.  Click on "universities" and commence your "Voyage of Discovery."
  • For those who get quickly frustrated searching the internet maze and would prefer to "cut to the chase," we offer some of the following links we uncovered in the Texas portal:
    • The State of Virginia offers  Tree Fruit in the Home Garden 
    • Minnesota offers Fruits of Minnesota  (recommended Hardy cultivars) and its  Home Fruit Spray Guide
    • The Pennsylvania Tree Fruit Production Guide  is one of the best commercial guides.  Besides having a spray guide, variety recommendations, and cultural advice, it also includes pictures of pest injuries to your fruit and trees.  Part of  learning to be a better apple grower is a form of reverse engineering.  Go through the pest damage pictures until you see your problem; then read the guide to learn how to manage that pest next season.
  • North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX)  is an excellent source of information on home fruit culture. Members receive NAFEX's quarterly journal, Pomona.  Cost of membership   is $13.00 per year.

revised 6/24/2005

 Jill Vorbeck

1716 Apples Road

Chapin, IL 62628

Phone: (800) 588- 3854

E- mail: