Apple V-Trellis Maybe an A

Has anyone installed a V-trellis? We are considering installing one this winter for a half acre of apples with 3x13 spacing. Since we are only installing 2 rows, we are considering more of an A-trellis with single leader trees at alternate spacing? I have attached a basic sketch. Any positive and especially negative feedback is welcome. It’d be nice to know now if it’s not a good idea.


I have seen pictures of an A frame trellis that was used for a evaluating a Geneva rootstock in a processing orchard. But that’s only case I have seen an A frame trellis used for apples. I think you’re going to have trouble finding information on using A frame trellises for apples.

On the other hand, conventional trellises for tall spindle and vertical axe are very common. There are lots of examples built, guides on how to build them are common and pricing info is readily obtained. People have a fair amount of practical experience with them. I think a conventional trellis would be a safer bet.

How much experience do you have growing apples? The 3 X 13 spacing can be profitable if you get the early yields that the tall spindle system can produce. But it requires doing a bunch of things right which isn’t easy to do especially if you don’t have much practical experience with the system. You might want to consider going with a wider spacing and higher vigor rootstock if you haven’t planted with the tall spindle system before. Also the exact spacing is going to vary based on the rootstock, scion, and a bunch of other factors. This calculator will give you an idea how it works.

Have you planted a test plot to get an idea if the cultivars and rootstocks you want will actually work in your area? If you’re in area where apples aren’t commonly grown on a commercial scale you may have problems that you didn’t expect like cracking and rotting. A test plot helps find good choices for the local climate and avoid spending time and money on trees that will never produce well.

Only seen the trellis in pictures in Good Fruit Grower magazine but never in person.

Nothing like that in NC or VA

Most likely the optimum density for your area will be less than the 3X12 promoted by Cornell.

I have the same varieties across 70 trees on M111 spaced at 16x20 planted in 2011.The rootstock has not been tried at my farm. Thanks for posting the calculator.

1 Like

Planted about 900 trees on B9 in 2011.

Suggested rootstock known to perform well in the NC foothills and mountains but did not like my area.

Wow. This has me rethinking the number of trees and spacing. The calculator suggest 3.5x13.5. Since I have a 10 ft rotary cutter, 14 ft is likely a better anyway. I was also told by the nursery that 3-5’ is ideal spacing. Perhaps I’ll install 100 trees this spring at 4x14 with 50 trees on each side of a 200 ft “A.”

I tend to either jump right in and learn the hard way or research until I’m convinced the project is not worthwhile. My most recent jump right in was 10,000 strawberry plants a few weeks ago. From the mistakes made I’ve already learned how to evaluate the root quality of strawberry plugs, proper plastic laying, and more. My cousin often says, “a lesson bought, is a lesson taught.” That actually rhymes in the south. I’m sure I will pay for a few apple lessons but I can’t spend too much time reading articles that focus on other areas or even worse, conflicting information. Besides, nearly every article includes the disclaimer that every farm is different.

We are replacing most of the B9 with G41 which produce much larger trees in my area but are harder to get.

Thought our Apple plan was well researched but growing high density Apples was much harder than we expected. Got a $15K lesson in how not to grow apples in my area.

We learned that we can sell every Apple we grow for very high prices, but my area is lousy for growing Apples even with a regular spray program

Understand now why no commercial apple orchards exist in my area.


I’m planning to buy G-41. My untested personal opinion is that apples would be hard to sell while peaches are in season, which has me leaning towards later varieties. Do you have experience selling apples and peaches at the same time?

We tried to sell Apples during Blueberry/Blackberry/Peach season but customers were not interested.

Folks go crazy for PYO Apples in September and October and are happy to pay insane prices here

Did you have trouble getting the varieties you wanted on G41?

Trees on G41 are available and it can be a very productive rootstock. I have quite a few trees on G41 and they have done well. But there have been graft failures with G41 usually with freshly planted out trees. Certain cultivars are especially prone to failure. We have some forum threads dealing with people experiencing graft failures with G41. Some failures have occurred on mature trees. High winds and trellises with loose wires seem to increase the failure rate. Geneva mentions the issue on their rootstock chart.

Video of failures in a trial orchard.

You may want to consider other rootstocks as well such as G11, Bud 9, and G214. Or higher vigor rootstocks such as G222, G30, and G969. Or better go with several rootstocks and see which work under your local soil and climate conditions.

You mentioned you already have experience with the scions you will be using. What scions are you planning on using in your trellis planting?

Current M111
Arkansas Black
Auvil early Fuji
Ginger Gold
Granny Smith
Adams Apple - can’t determine if any trees remain

I was going to plant the same varieties but the G41 varieties available do not overlap.

G41 order
Cortland 5
Gala 5
Ginger Gold 5
Pink Lady 65
Yellow Del. 20

I like your idea about trying other apple rootstocks. I’ll look into availability. I’m also planning to try about 10 sweet cherries on Krymsk 6. The only sweet cherries I found were at Mehrabyan.

If your looking for vendors that supply apple trees on different rootstocks you might consider Heritage Farm and Fruit Trees ( for apples as well as Cummin’s nursery. We have a nursery reference list on the forum which you might find helpful. It’s located here.

Sweet cherries are unlikely to be successful as a commercial crop in Kentucky as they need a very specific climate. We have a fair number of backyard growers on the forum that grow sweet cherries in the East but it’s a struggle. I would take a look at this thread to get an idea of the problems you would face.

G11 works well in my NC 7B climate too and grows large trees quickly… Well trained Fuji trees snapped 5 inch end post on G11 and I lost a whole row during high wind event . Going to set the graft unions on G11 a little higher next time.

Had some graft union failures with Pink Lady on G41 in year 3 like described in the rootstock chart from Cornell but no problems since.

1 Like

Well, I decided the varieties I found on G44 were exactly what I wanted. Thanks for responding about the sales experience. It’s strange how so many people in my area refuse to believe apples other than summer apples ripen in August. That knowledge has me interested in growing varieties that ripen in September and October. I’m going to check for other late varieties at the nurseries listed.

The sweet cherries are just for fun. I spoke with a person at VanWell Nursery. A few varieties were recommended that may have less problems in my climate. Unfortunately, VanWell did not have any in stock.

They are:

Black York
Reinbrandt or cavalier
Empower Francis - yellow
Black Pearl
Burgundy Pearl
No bing, no rainier
Regina - not self pollinating

I found 4 of these varieties on Krymysk 6.

Interestingly, an orchard in TN had sweet cherries but the orchard has closed. Here’s a YouTube video that shows his mature trees. Until I saw his trees, I thought it was near impossible to grow sweet cherries in this climate.

1 Like

We like Ginger Gold and Gala a lot but we did not have much success selling them when folks were buying Peaches.

Looks like customers here want to pick Apples from mid September to late October.

Amazing video of small Cherry orchard in TN. Do you know why they closed?

I do not know why they closed. I think it was primarily peaches and only about 10 acres. Maybe the trees were too old and they did not have a good replant site. I emailed and called but received no response.

Speaking of end post snapping, it’s hard to find 16ft 6’ round posts and driving a 16 ft post requires a machine I do not own. The square 6x6x16 are about $75 each and I’d need to auger the holes.

At my disposal, I happen to have many telephone poles, a mini-ex, steel, and a welder. I am considering a 2 ft wide by 3 ft deep concrete pier and anchoring a steel bracket into the concrete. Then bolting the telephone pole to the bracket. The pole cold be adjusted in 2 directions during installation to make the process easier. If the post were driven into the ground as is typical, it would be difficult to ensure accuracy to a high degree. That lack of adjustment may be a factor that makes designing with V’s preferred over A’s. Technically, I supposed I should hire an engineer to compare the strength of my design to a typical trellis design. Instead, I’ll post it here.

Did you settle on the trellis type?

Got a pressure treatment plant not too far away where I purchased all of my posts. Probably should have used 6 inch posts for end posts but they cost a lot more than the 4/5 inch posts I used everywhere. Could have been a defect in the one that broke. We used 12 foot post set about 3 feet in the ground so I have about 9 feet showing. Plan to move to H bracing with the new trees.

Love to see some pictures of your trellis once you get started.

I’m likely going to build an A. Mostly because I like the idea of walking under it. No matter how much effort I put into it, I doubt I’ll ever make a significant amount of money growing apples. Since cash isn’t an option, the aesthetics can be my reward.

Makes perfect sense. Really looking forward to the pictures