Dec 11, 2017
Four new apple varieties released by MAIA

The Midwest Apple Improvement Association – the grower organization that introduced EverCrisp apples five years ago – has released four new apple varieties. Trees that growers purchase this winter will be grafted in 2018 and available in 2020.

The four all are trademarked varieties: Rosalee, Sweet Zinger, Ludacrisp and Summerset.

MAIA doesn’t propagate or sell trees. At press time, the only licensed nursery was Wafler Nursery of Wolcott, New York, but according to Bill Dodd, an Amherst, Ohio, agritainment apple grower and MAIA president, they’ll welcome queries from others.

Contracts require a $1 per tree royalty and trademark fees of 20 cents per tree in years four through 10; and 30 cents per tree in years 11 through 20.

What follow are brief descriptions of each variety based on MAIA test plot experiences over the last five years.

“Our knowledge is anecdotal,” said MAIA board chair David Doud, a Wabash, Indiana, apple grower.

The organization has test plots in Missouri, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Indiana and Ohio.


David Doud

This apple is a Fuji-Honeycrisp cross that ripens along with Golden Delicious. “It has a long harvest window,” Doud said.

The apple’s texture is Honeycrisp- reminiscent. “In storage, it does not lose texture,” he said. “If you have a nice, clean storage, Rosalee will have a nice clean taste.”

So far, growers have yet to encounter bitterpit or water core but have noticed higher than average incidence of storage rot. “It’s not as bad as Honeycrisp but similar to Golden Delicious,” Doud said.

Rosalees offer no resistance to fire blight and have a low level of scab resistance, said Mitch Lynd, a retired grower and MAIA member, whose family still farms a 175-acre orchard and runs a farm market near Pataskala, Ohio.

Trees have low to moderate vigor and require chemical and sometimes follow-up hand thinning. “They are not nearly as stubborn as Fuji or Golden Delicious, but not self-regulating like EverCrisp,” said Lynd.

The medium- to medium-large-sized apple grows to 2.75 to 3.75 inches.


Another Fuji-Honeycrisp cross, Summerset (pictured above) ripens alongside traditional Honeycrisp. It has a two-week harvest window, though in extremely hot weather, the window closes quickly.

A large-sized fruit at 3 to 3.5 inches, it has fewer management problems than Honeycrisp and features a good packout.

“Summerset will make apples as big as Honeycrisp,” said Lynd.

Trees grow with moderate vigor with a spreading form. “It thins readily to one fruit per spur but it needs to be pruned in such a manner that there are not too many spurs,” Lynd said. “If you just chemically thin, you’ll get down to one apple per place, but you’ll still have too many apples.”

Summersets have a long harvest window. If picked a month after ripening, they won’t get soft or fall off trees.

Storage is another story. For stays longer than eight weeks, Doud advised applying MCP.


An open-pollinated Honeycrisp, Ludacrisp harvests during the latter part of Golden Delicious season. The bright red apple offers modest scab susceptibility – similar to Honeycrisp – and does not suffer frequent fire blight strikes. Lynd said Ludacrisp’s susceptibility is similar to Red Delicious.

Doud is cautiously optimistic, saying the variety grew on a limited number of sites and has not undergone resistance trials yet.

Tree vigor is a bit stronger than EverCrisp. “You’ll get a lot of short pieces of growth that are a little longer than spurs,” Lynd said. “The terminal bud will be a great big fat one and will open kind of late”.

Apples grow to 3 to 3.5 inches. In test blocks, growers called it Juicyfruit because it tastes like the gum.

Sweet Zinger

A Gold Rush-Sweet 16 cross, Sweet Zinger harvests about two weeks after Golden Delicious. “It has some acid, which is part of its appeal,” said Doud.

“Growth habit is very compact,” said Lynd. “It is strongly apical dominant, wanting to make a central leader. Branching has very wide attachment angles on fewer branches than Golden Delicious that soon turn and want to goup.”

Trees put out a lot of spurs. Lynd said the tree form especially lends itself to platform picking.

Sweet Zinger shows low susceptibility to fire blight and apple scab but is not ethylene resistant. Give it a couple of days of heat treatment in the shade, whisk it into cold storage and sell them by the end of January, Lynd recommended.

MAIA is holding its winter meeting in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to be held Jan. 30-Feb. 1.

“We’ll be evaluating the evaluations of 18 varieties we’re excited about and deciding what we’re going to do and when,” Doud said.

—  David Weinstock, FGN Correspondent

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