Growing apple trees in zone 6
What kinds of apple trees might do well in the Juneau area? I'm looking for something with a high degree of moisture tolerance. Is it adviseable to graft a non-moisture-tolerant scion onto a moisture-tolerant cultivar? My interest is in growing cider apples, but I would like to have a fairly large variety of apple types. Another related question: how might I protect the fruit and/or tree from excessive rain?
Some apples do grow well here in Juneau, some years. Yellow transparent is one variety that has done well throughout Southeast Alaska with a tree in Haines that is over one hundred years old standing (and still producing) in front of the Sheldon Jackson Museum. Other varieties including, Williams Pride, Wynnoochi, Pristine, Discovery, and Goodland have been successfully grown and enjoyed in the Juneau area along with the Dolgo being a favored eating-sized crabapple.
Varietal choice considerations, in addition to moisture tolerance, are primarily scab resistance and early ripening. Some great summers here just fizzle (read drizzle) out and apples just sit there with not quite enough heat to bring them to full ripeness.
We do experience a year-to-year variation in productivity with a warm, sunny summer usually followed by a heavy bloom and fruiting year. Some years though the trees just seem to take it off and not produce much at all.
Pests include a variety of insects but also consideration and protection needs to be given for both bears and porcupines. Fortunately, both respond well to a properly installed electric fence at the proper heights to let their tender noses know not to come in for a taste. If you let (especially the bears) in for a taste before you get the fencing up, then there's pretty much no keeping them out.
Keeping the rain off can be done with a high tunnel (hoop house) so long as ventilation is adequate for moisture and temperature control. These will also help with end of season heat for ripening and protection from wind and rain in the spring which can inhibit pollination. See USDA NRCS for the EQUIP high tunnel cost sharing program for getting help paying for a tunnel.
Contact my office for further assistance.