I’m curious to hear your thoughts on a plan of mine, maybe you have suggestions that will help me not screw it up.
I have a section of about an acre where I have plans to plant apple trees grown from seed. I do not plan on doing any grafting, as the idea of mystery Apple trees is why I’m drawn to the idea, even if every single tree produces tiny disgusting fruit.
Right now I plan on spacing the trees at about 30x30. I may try to get a stand of short NWSG’s (namely little bluestem) and some forbs going, to give sort of a prairie look to it.
My biggest concern here is if I have to worry about pests or disease coming and destroying the whole project (Will not be using pesticides/fungicide). I fully expect to lose some trees, but I’m wondering if you think there’s much I can do to minimize these risks.
Not sure if it’s important information but the trees I’ve got started in pots now are from gala, Fuji, Red delicious and most are from golden delicious.
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Pruning not pruning? I have Semi dwarfs that I prune each March. If I didn't they would choke with young wood and suckers. Maybe if I had not in the beginning it would be different. I believe pruning make the tree grow more wood and suckers. So it becomes a habit that must continue. I wish I could stop. It is a lot of work.
I’ve now personally seen two apple trees on B118 rootstock set in solid ground just blow almost completely over. One belonged to a relative and the second one is my tree that I found today. Both trees had been in the ground about 4 years and were healthy looking.
I plan on bracing my tree and adding a significant amount of dirt around the base in hopes that it will set roots above the rootstock and strengthen it.
No more B118 for me. Most of my trees are on MM111, and I’m glad of it. I’ve never had a problem with MM111.
Wished I'd read this a tad closer. I had mine tied down with a little added dirt, but not a foot.Shown below I what I'm doing to B118 rootstock apple trees that start leaning or falling over.
1. Remove the old weed barrier.
2. Add dirt around the tree to put about a foot of dirt above the graft. The weight of the dirt helps, and hopefully the tree will take root above the B118.
3. Pack down the dirt and cover with a new Weed Barrier.
4. Add guying or bracing as a temporary means of supporting the tree during the stabilizing period.
5. Don't forget to put your cage back up to protect from rubbing.
I did this on one tree a few months ago, and it worked. The tree is now firm, and I was able to remove the bracing.
Here I had to cut out a gap for one of my lower scaffolding limbs due to the cage being higher.
In this pic you can see my guy rope. In this case the guy goes to another tree on MM111 rootstock, which is solid in the ground. Now the tree can reach for the moon - yes, you can see the moon in the picture.
Lesson for today - quit buying trees on B118.........glad I have very few.......