With all the discussions concerning GoldRush on this forum, I thought I’d post a mini-update on one of my 7 little espalier trees, mostly consisting of that variety.
This tree was bought as a small unfeathered interstem on G11/M111 from Cummins in 2014. So this is its fourth season in the ground at my place. It is growing out pretty well. Here it is just before I picked most of the rest of the apples off it last week before temps were forecast to drop to -7C overnight. When viewing this pic, I noticed the upper left trellis cane guide had fallen down. These were secured with black zip ties, which after few years are starting to fail. Maybe I should try stainless hose clamps or actual wire.
The last upper chevron tier (fifth from bottom) and top cap tier will be Centennial, which I grafted on last year. Lower 4 chevron tiers and main trunk are GoldRush. I think by end of next year this guy will be pretty much fully covering the trellis space reserved for it. It is a wonderfully behaved espalier tree; enough vigor to send new growth out to cover the trellis, but not too much that it is sending up too annoying amounts of wood from the horizontals. It is very productive and fruited for the first time in its third leaf. Less work to thin than my Ashmead’s Kernel.
This spring I inarched a piece of G935 at the bottom of the GoldRush part, fearing the G11/M111 interstem was running out of vigor for this tree, and also because I damaged the G11 section a few years back by painting strait raw neem oil on it in August. I don’t know if the inarching was the right decision or not, but time will tell I guess.
This year I had to thin quite a bit, and maybe should have done more. The tree wanted to set fruit on all 8 of the GoldRush branches (4 tiers, top one not quite fully grown). My thinking on these rungs is that I probably shouldn’t allow more than 5-6 apples per branch or 10-12 per rung, but this is the first chance I had to put that plan into action on almost a full tree. Not sure if any would drop or be damaged by birds, etc., I left more on than even that target. Almost all of them made it to the end of the season. The Roxbury Russet right next to this suffered more depredations from animals. Not sure why, but those did get fully ripe toward the end of September while the GoldRush were barely or not quite ripe by mid November. I put mesh bags over most of the apples on these two trees, which I think confuses squirrels and birds a little bit. Only one GoldRush was ruined by squirrels, which I consider a huge success.
In total I harvested about 40 apples from these 8 branches. Here are 31 of them:
Biggest one was 363 grams - pretty big! Plenty of smallish ones which also did not ripen fully, possibly telling me I should have thinned more aggressively.
The ones in bags looked slightly worse than the ones not in bags, but overall quite clean and shapely fruit.
By measuring most of them and extrapolating for the rest, I think I got about 8.5 kg of fruit, or about 1.1 kg per branch, average of 212g per apple.
The other week I picked a large and blushed one from an upper rung, which we sliced and enjoyed when some friends were over. It was incredibly good; lots of sugar, plenty of acid, and loads of flavor. It was certainly right up there with the finest apples I’ve eaten. Unfortunately I couldn’t find my refractometer that day.
Others which were not as ripe were most acidic, less sweet, and generally less good right off the tree. The upper tier or two had the ripest apples. Millie, who is mostly not a great fan of strong flavors other than sweet or salty, looked like this after eating a slice of less-than-ripe GoldRush.
Maybe this is the “battery acid” effect I’ve read about here? I thought it was still pretty good, but I’ll concede that it could be considered a fairly sour apple. I measured that one at 14 Brix (found the refractometer).
I left 5 small and pretty unripe apples on the tree through the cold spell. They looked ok the next day, so I’ll see how they fare over the next week or two.
I’ve seen these fluffy white agglomerations on some of the trees this year. Anyone know what these are? Should I be concerned?
I sprayed copper once in the spring, then a number of sprays with different combinations of neem, liquid fish, liquid kelp, EM1, karanja oil. Not much cedar apple rust evident this year on my trees.
Overall I’m extremely pleased with this GoldRush tree. Once everything is grown out on the 73 branches in the micro-orchard design, it will have the potential to give me on the order of 80kg of fruit. Of course problems will be had and some will likely go biennial, so in practice less than that. But if a year goes well I hope to get to 50kg or so. Of course you could have that much fruit or more off a single M111 freestander, but what can I say? I am enjoying the espalier journey!