Orchards

Apple Cultivars
Courtesy of Bob Purvis, Horticulturist, M.S.
Purvis Nursery & Orchard
1568 Hill Road
Homedale, ID 83628
(208)-337-3782 (home)
(208)-407-6781 (cell)

I spent eight years living and working in Cottage Grove, 13 miles southeast of St. Paul, Minn. and had a large home orchard in my backyard. I now have a much larger orchard (200 trees, of which 48 are semi-dwarf apple) here at my home near Homedale, Idaho, 40 miles west of Boise. The elevation is just under 2,300 feet, average annual rainfall 10,” and average low in winter is between 0 and 5 degrees F. Latitude is 43 degrees N, and soil typically freezes for about 6 to 8 weeks (late Dec. through mid Feb.). 

We are so far west in the Mountain Time zone that sunrise and sunset are 40 minutes later than they are at the center of the zone. We have a full-sun, northeast-sloping location, and alkaline sandy-loam soils under micro-sprinkler irrigation. Sunburn can damage as much as 15 percent of some apple cultivars because our average daily high in July and August is about 90 degrees F, and the average nighttime low is in the upper 50s. 


Scab, flyspeck, and sooty blotch are not issues here, but powdery mildew is occasionally seen. Because of my having lived in Anchorage, Alaska during the 1970s and 1980s and having grown cold-hardy Canadian and Minnesota apple cultivars there and in central Wash., east-central Minn., and here, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to observe apple cultivars in diverse situations.  I’ve had to battle not just CM but also plum curculio and apple maggot (while living in Minnesota).

I started the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers in January 1985, and today there is a small commercial apple industry in Alaska as a result of my efforts back in the 1980s. In 1989, I left Alaska and began graduate studies in horticulture, with an emphasis on tree fruits, at Washington State University and received my M.S. there in May 1992. I worked first as an independent agricultural consultant in Yakima (for Agrimanagement, Inc.) from 1992-1996 and then as the field horticulturist for Chiawana Orchards and Columbia Reach Packers in Yakima from 1996-1999 before moving to Minnesota to take a job with the USDA-NASS, from which I retired as an agricultural statistician in October 2007. 

I’ve had the opportunity to grow fruit in Anchorage, Alaska, Pullman Wash., Selah, Wash. (close to Yakima), Cottage Grove, Minn., and now here in Homedale, Idaho. My primary interest has been finding, growing and propagating fruit cultivars for cold climates, the main focus of my current, small-commercial orchard and nursery. Below I share my comments from personal experiences growing apple varieties. Please contact me with any further questions.

Arlet (Swiss Gourmet)

Cameo

Carroll

Enigma

Frostbite

Frostbite

Gold Rush

Honey Crisp

Honeycrisp

Keepsake

Keepsake

Liberty

Mantet

Minnesota

Norkent  

Northern Spy

Prairie Spy

Prairie Spy 

Scarlett O’Hara

Snowsweet

Snowsweet 

Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

Zestar

Zestar 

922 End

One note: I remember one of the fruit scientists (it may have been Rob Crassweller from Penn State) who spoke at the Idaho State Horticultural Society meeting in November saying it is a bad idea to graft triploid apple cultivars onto M.26 or EMLA.26 because the graft unions they form are weak.

Photos courtesy of: University of Minnesota