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Liberty apple


Liberty was developed at the famous Geneva Research Station in the 1960s.  It is derived from Macoun, and is very much a McIntosh-style apple, with red skin and juicy flesh.  The flavor is well balanced, perhaps sharper than many of the Mac-related varieties but still with the characteristic vinous note.  Its other parent is an un-named research variety derived from Malus floribunda, from which it inherits resistance to scab.

It is grown quite widely in the eastern US, and is being promoted as a good variety for the backyard grower.

There is some evidence that Liberty is a triploid variety, with 3 sets of chromosomes instead of the usual 2 - or perhaps a partial triploid.  However it does not possess many of the typical features seen in triploid varieties (such as large size and vigour).

Liberty apple identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

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USDA identification images for Liberty

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

    Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

    Parents and other ancestors of this variety

    Offspring of this variety

    Visitor reviews

    • 01 Oct 2023 
      We harvest delicious crispy apples from our neighbor’s neglected tree. (With permission!) Because the apples are a touch tart, the expected shape, good for eating and baking, I think this is what they neighbor’s have. The previous owner planted this tree so we have no definite identification. The tree has no scab or other diseases with only minor damage from apple maggot. My only doubt is that the apples are not 90% red. Are we harvesting too early? Or as an overgrown tree in need of pruning, are the apples not getting enough sun?
    • 01 Feb 2021  WA, United States
      My experience with liberty is very good. A fine tasting prolific all around apple. It is immune to scab in our wet disease prone region. Very heavy annual bearer that can break branches under the load. Thin for better fruit size. I do several pickings starting when they lift easily from the spur. They are good then but at their best after they mellow for a month in cold ventilated storage. At this time I have these for desert and also make some of the best pies you will ever eat. I don't find them to be a magnet for worms more or less than any other smooth skinned apple.
    • 20 Oct 2019  ON, Canada
      A very tasty apple (slightly tart). The MacIntosh, growing next it and planted at the same time, has slightly better flavour and bore a lot more fruit several years sooner than the Liberty. This year the Liberty has come into its own with larger apples which are very prolific and disease-free :).
    • 24 Jul 2019  WA, United States
      My go-to back yard apple tree. I have planted several at every home we have owned. They do very well in the Pacific Northwest. Always prolific, reliable and scab resistant. I have found them to be a dual purpose apple, excellent flavour eaten raw (I like a slightly tangy apple, it's not overly sweet) but also makes a great pie or tart. Doesn't need much sugar. Not the best juicer for cider though. Highly recommend.
    • 14 Oct 2018  QUEBEC, Canada
      I went to the orchard today and I finally had an occasion to taste the Liberty apple. I had heard about its great disease resistance and regular heavy crops, but I had to figure it out for myself about the quality of that apple. WoW !! This is an awesome Mac apple. Full, round and intense vinous flavour. Very fruity. Lots of juice. Not as crunchy as Empire but more than Mac Intosh. For fresh eating, among, the 8 Mac style apples I know, Liberty is my favorite.
    • 03 Oct 2018  OR, United States
      We have a tiny bush-like Liberty that's 8 years old and about 4 feet high. Got lots of tasty, good looking, firm, smallish fruit this year!
    • 12 Sep 2018  OR, United States
      My liberty is loaded with fruit this year. Many have little worm holes, but I'm not sure what I can do about it and I don't treat it with anything. Has anyone dried them? If so, how were they and any tips?
    • 05 Sep 2018  BRIT. COLUMBIA, Canada
      George, It sounds like you may have bitter pit in your Liberty apples, caused by a calcium deficiency. Some apple varieties seem to require more calcium for fruit production than others. Try a calcium foliar spray a couple of times (or milk diluted 1:10) next season after the fruit sets.
    • 04 Sep 2018  IOWA, United States
      The tree itself is disease resistant and bears heavily at a young age, but you still have to spray the fruit for the usual insect pests, especially apple maggot. To gauge ripeness, check the seeds of the occasional apple that drops. Seeds will turn dark brown as the fruit gets close to being ripe. As you get closer to picking time, check the flavor of a small slice as well. In northeastern Iowa, I have been picking the fruit around the first week of October. The apples have a nice sweet-tart flavor and crisp texture if picked at the peak of ripeness, but aren't nearly so flavorful and crisp if picked a little early or a little late. And don't expect the flavor to improve in storage. Keep the fruit refrigerated for best quality during storage. Liberty apples are not long keepers -- it's best to use them in applesauce, fresh eating, etc. within a few weeks of picking.
    • 06 Oct 2017  MAINE, United States
      year after year there is discolored spots through the apple, all through each one. My Mac is next to this Liberty. I sprayed twice. the discolored spots are so bad I can't use the fruit. what is wrong ?
    • 16 Sep 2017  MO, United States
      We got our first small crop on 3 year old tree. I am impressed at how delicious they taste. They are wonderfully free of diseases. Only caveat is that they aren't recommended for pies. May try them anyway!
    • 12 Aug 2017  NY, United States
      I love my little tree. I got a gala and a liberty at the same time. My liberty never needs spraying, looks amazing, grows fast and tastes great! I have so many apples in a good year (some years are no good for apples in NY). My gala always looks like it's on the verge of death. Each season it starts out great, but gets diseased quickly. I haven't figured out how to help it, despite trying various sprays. This year, (year 5) the tree still isn't very tall (half the size of the liberty) and has the most apples ever. There are about 15. They taste great, but 15 apples seems a little pathetic.
    • 06 Oct 2016  United Kingdom
      Found the Liberty apple in an orchard on Anderson Island WA whilst on holiday from the UK. By far the best apple I have ever tasted and am desperately trying to source a supplier of a Liberty apple tree in the UK.
    • 05 Oct 2016  WASHINGTON, United States
      Supposedly this is a vigorous tree, but it is very small on M26 after 8 years. (This is prime ground for M26, with other apples doing well on it here.) A coddling moth magnet, Liberty drew the moths away from the other apple trees in my yard. It is hard to wrap each fruitlet early enough. Must clean up leaves in fall or I find scab strikes on lower branches - both leaves and fruit. Must be picked before fully ripe or the apples lose condition in storage after 5 weeks. I sold mine to make room for another apple with more historical interest and less media hype.
    • 08 Nov 2015  VA, United States
      Makes beautiful pink applesauce because of the skin and flesh color if you include the skin. The insect and disease resistance is a plus in my organic orchard. Planted in 1983 on supposedly M7A Rootstock but it's pretty big for that.
    • 02 Dec 2014  WEST BARNSTABLE, United States
      Liberty is clearly of the fameuse/snow and Macintosh lineage with a strong 'vinous' flavor, but more crunch than either of those. To my taste, it is better balanced than a macoun which I find to be a bit too sweet.
    • 11 Feb 2014  NEW YORK, United States
      This is probably the most easily cared for tree that I have. It is a prolific producer of decent sized, tastey fruit. They are a great all around appple and keep fairly well when refridgerated after picking. They also make great cider and pie.
    • 19 Nov 2013  WA STATE, KING COUNTY, United States
      Delicious and juicy only if picked at exactly the right time (second week of October). After that they become mushy and split in the rain even though still hanging on the tree. Before that they are hard and tart. Disappointed.
    • 23 Sep 2013  OREGON, United States
      Just harvested 9/21/13 and these are very delicious, juicy, and in "high demand". The almost purple color, and full blush, make a beautiful site in the orchard. Be sure to thin the apples starts early on to maximize size, number, and health of the final crop!
    • 24 Apr 2013  NW VA, United States
      Great tasting apples on a disease resistant, grower friendly tree (I have one on M.26). Beautiful deep red and you can taste the Macoun heritage in them. Prolific.
    • 16 Oct 2012  Belgium
      A spotless, good looking apple of a good size and from a healthy tree. Ripe in early October, but soon going a bit soft for my tastes. Not an exceptional flavor, but still worth having.
    • 26 Nov 2011  WI, United States
      This is a great Mac-style apple. Use it just like Macs, for fresh eating, sauce, and pies. Also is said to make great cider, although I haven't tried that yet. Seems a little better keeper than other Mac varieties as well -- mine are a little soft but still okay in late November, and I think will last to late December if I don't sauce them all sooner.
    • 05 Oct 2011  MN/RAMSEY, United States
      This is the second year for my dwarf and it produced 15 apples in 2011. It has a tendency to drop apples. I was unsure as to when to pick but read that Oct. 5th was the time in central NY. I picked mine on Oct. 4th.
    • 19 Jan 2011  DELAWARE/SUSSEX, United States
      We have a small orchard (175 trees) about 22 of our trees are Liberty and everyone loves them. The only thing is that they do not all ripen at once. They are very firm and juicy with a tart flavor. We use them in our cider blend, we use them for applesauce and fresh eating.
    • 15 Oct 2010  WASHINGTON, United States
      I have picked Liberty in a local orchard and kept the fruit three months in common storage. They got a bit soft, but the flavor remained excellent. Fall of '10 I picked a first crop from my little tree out back: superb! The tree puts its strength into fruit and will grow slowly unless you strip it each year for several years. Worth the wait, as this is the best in the McIntosh group for flavor I've found - without ever finding Macoun in prime condition, yet.

    Tree register

    United States

    United Kingdom

    • N. Buck in Cambridge, CAMBRIDGESHIRE



    New Zealand


    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2020 season

    • May  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Warwick, United States
    • 22nd April  2020  - tree owned by Steven in Turney, United States

    2019 season

    • 21st May  2019  - tree owned by Wynne in River Falls, United States
    • 21st May  2019  - tree owned by Wynne in River Falls, United States

    2017 season

    • 13th May  2017  - tree owned by Jessica in Gatineau, Canada

    2016 season

    • June  2016  - tree owned by Lori in Otter Creek, United States
    • 25th March  2016  - tree owned by John in Salem, United States

    2015 season

    • 17th April  2015  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    2014 season

    • 15th May  2014  - tree owned by Francis in Wilkes Barre, United States
    • 11th May  2014  - tree owned by Karen in Chicago, United States
    • 19th April  2014  - tree owned by Fruittaart in Lynnwood, United States
    • April  2014  - tree owned by Brent in Maple Ridge, Canada

    2013 season

    • 7th May  2013  - tree owned by Fruittaart in Lynnwood, United States
    • 4th May  2013  - tree owned by Mark in West Senea, United States
    • 25th April  2013  - tree owned by Florian in Brush Prairie, United States

    2012 season

    • 12th May  2012  - tree owned by Fruittaart in Lynnwood, United States
    • 9th May  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States
    • 9th May  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States
    • 5th May  2012  - tree owned by Dave in Spokane, United States
    • 1st May  2012  - tree owned by Florian in Brush Prairie, United States
    • 11th April  2012  - tree owned by Arwadoo in Srinagar, India
    • 31st March  2012  - tree owned by Dale in Chaseburg, United States

    2011 season

    • November  2011  - tree owned by Sandra in Dunedin, New Zealand
    • 19th May  2011  - tree owned by Ron in Orion, United States
    • 16th May  2011  - tree owned by Dave in Spokane, United States
    • 1st May  2011  - tree owned by in Holly Hill, United States
    • 12th April  2011  - tree owned by Arwadoo in Srinagar, India

    2010 season

    • 5th May  2010  - tree owned by N. in Cambridge, United Kingdom
    • 4th May  2010  - tree owned by Dave in Spokane, United States

    2009 season

    • 24th April  2009  - tree owned by N. in Cambridge, United Kingdom

    Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.

    Harvest records for this variety

    2020 season

    • 3rd week September  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Warwick, United States

    2018 season

    • 2nd week October  2018  - tree owned by Beth in POCATELLO, United States
    • 4th week September  2018  - tree owned by Matt in Canterbury, United States

    2017 season

    • 3rd week October  2017  - tree owned by Jessica in Gatineau, Canada
    • 2nd week October  2017  - tree owned by Jerry in Warwick, United States

    2016 season

    • 1st week October  2016  - tree owned by John in Salem, United States
    • 4th week September  2016  - tree owned by Lori in Otter Creek, United States
    • 3rd week September  2016  - tree owned by Chris in Federal Way, United States

    2015 season

    • October  2015  - tree owned by Roger in Madison Heights, United States
    • 1st week September  2015  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    2013 season

    • 4th week March  2013  - tree owned by Katrina in Nelson, New Zealand

    2012 season

    • 3rd week October  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States
    • 3rd week October  2012  - tree owned by James in Estacada, United States
    • 2nd week October  2012  - tree owned by Quentin in Tervuren, Belgium
    • 1st week October  2012  - tree owned by Sayre in Olympia, United States
    • 4th week September  2012  - tree owned by Dave in Spokane, United States
    • 3rd week March  2012  - tree owned by Sandra in Dunedin, New Zealand

    2011 season

    • 1st week October  2011  - tree owned by Dave in Spokane, United States
    • 3rd week August  2011  - tree owned by in Holly Hill, United States

    2010 season

    • 3rd week September  2010  - tree owned by Dave in Spokane, United States


    • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
    • Parentage: Macoun
    • Originates from: United States
    • Introduced: 1978
    • Developed by: New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
    • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1984-076
    • We are grateful to Brogdale Farm - home of the UK National Fruit Collection - for providing samples of this variety.


    • Country of origin: United States
    • Period of origin: 1950 - 1999
    • Fruit colour: Crimson
    • Leaf colour: Green
    • Popularity: Best sellers
    • Annual cycle: Deciduous
    • Alleles: 3
    • Alleles: 5
    • Alleles: 10


    • Picking season: Late
    • Keeping (of fruit): 1-2 months
    • Flavour quality: Very good
    • Flavour style (apples): Vinous
    • Discoloration of fruit: Very oxidising (browns quickly)
    • Cropping: Heavy
    • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening
    • Food uses: Eating fresh
    • Food uses: Juice
    • Picking period: mid-September
    • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


    • Gardening skill: Beginner
    • Flowering group: 2
    • Pollinating others: Average
    • Pollinating others: Poor
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Vigour: Vigorous
    • Bearing regularity: Regular
    • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
    • Organic culture: Suitable
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile


    • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 4 (-34C)
    • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Hot (>30C / 86F)

    Other qualities

    • Disease resistance: Good
    • Scab (Apple and Pear): Very resistant
    • Cedar apple rust: Very resistant
    • Powdery mildew: Some resistance
    • Fire blight: Some resistance

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Liberty apple trees for sale:

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Liberty:

    United States



    • Cedar-Apple Rust  
      Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
      Rated as very resistant - no control needed against CAR.
    • Apples for the 21st Century
      Author: Manhart

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