Best Heirloom Dessert Apple Varieties?

Yes, I have them both pruned in a modified central leader form with two tiers. The Sierra beauty is naturally a smaller tree which helps, but I have heard Waltana is more vigorous which seems accurate in comparing the two. I had apples on both trees this year and I think they are three and four years old each or maybe four and five. I can’t remember.


Yes this is a great point! The MM111 will take longer to bare fruit vs a dwarf rootstock. I image the mini rootstock would bare even sooner, but is probably not worth the trade off of even more increased watering, less wind stability and potentially even shorter lifespan?

Sounds like the best option might be to opt for some dwarf varieties on my S boundary where I want to maintain them shorter and use semi-dwarf varieties on my N boundary. That way I can get some earlier harvests with the shorter S boundary trees, and use the semidwarf rootstocks where there may be cold northerlies (though I haven’t yet experienced winter in this property) and they may benefit from more developed root systems. The whole property slopes down toward the S too so that area stays more moist in the summer (I will be planting them in raised mounds and this has worked great for the rhodies there during the wettest spring in our known history, they hate wet feet too!)

It is good to hear that people are having no trouble maintaining the MM111 at 8-10’ too, that would be a great target height for the N boundary (don’t want to shade out my neighbors yard either!).

I am not experienced enough to trust myself to espalier! I also really wonder how such aggressive restructuring of the tree form affects the health and vitality of the tree. It can’t possibly be good for wind stability!

I have “May Queen” on B-10…18 months old, over 6 feet tall…about 20 fruiting spurs…and six inches new growth since the July pause.
I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t have some fruit in it’s 3rd season.

My Geneva Crab had one fruit it’s 3rd summer on B-9.

(I got fruit from Frostbite on Geneva rootstock in it’s second leaf.)

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Training a tree to an espalier does not really require much experience at all, just watch a couple YouTube videos. MM111 has excellent anchoring, so you don’t have to worry much about the stability of the structure. Finally the aggressive branch bending necessary for the espalier structure will stimulate the trees to produce fruit in 3-4 years max. We have a member here who has espaliered apples on mm111 very successfully, and getting very early crops, in upstate NY.

I am having great trouble maintaining my trees on mm111 to 8 feet. It is also really difficult to keep the foliage from totally shading the interior of the tree and interior apples.
Trees on mm111 really need to be pruned 3 times a year and I am no longer willing to do that.

Most took 8 years to bear. Northern Spy has been in the ground 13 years and only about 5 fruit so far.


Yeah, my Bud 9 has all the vigor I’d want in my single cordon espaliers. Having watched it for a few years, I’ve learned that I’ll want a 2nd tier to be significantly higher than I would have otherwise planned. Otherwise there will be lots of overlap in tiers between pruning.

I don’t worry about anchorage for an espalier, because the branches will be supported. All the other apple trees I chose or propagated are M26. I have a couple more vigorous root stocks only because the choices were limited at the time.

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All my M111’s fruited in about 4 years ± one year. I hear people saying the same thing you say that the M111’s are so slow to produce fruit. I am happy with the M111’s I have.

Sounds like he just tasted one right off the tree and did not give it the right time to ripen in the fridge ( storage). OK, thanks for your clarification.

I believe that Northern Spy is notorious for slow bearing, whatever the rootstock.

I’m finding I like the results on B-10 better than B-9. Seems to be as precocious, and gets bigger, faster.

I still have 6 trees acquired in 2015, 16 and 17 that have not fruited yet…all on M-111.
Only one has bloomed, and it’s a red fleshed apple. (None are Northern Spies.)

(I should have my head examined for ordering a half dozen trees this fall on M111 from Century Farm Orchards…I may not live long enough to see them fruit!) (Unless I graft a scion to a tree already bearing).


If you want bigger.

hmmm, thanks for sharing your experience! this is making me lean toward the dwarf rootstocks…

M-111 sounds a lot more vigorous than the more moderate semi-dwarf. Those classifications are broad and not super meaningful. Each clonal rootstock has its own characteristics, and those 3 classifications are just gross groupings.

If the smallest dwarfing rootstock produces a 5’ tree after 10 years, and a Standard seedling produces a 25 foot tree, semi-dwarf covers the range from 9-21.

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The M-111 I have all had fruit on them in about 4 years or so.


@BlueBerry I think those were almost my exact words when I ordered 3 from Dave last year on MM111. The irony escaped me at the time. You and I both will be pleased if we get to see fruit from those trees.

It also has occurred to me the state of the orchard if I am unable to do any prunng in the future. Then again, it might be more fruitful with my hands off if it. Time will tell.


Another topic on GF

Too vigorous, too much work and sometimes the pruning can lead to fire blight

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I’m happy for you. Only the variety Niedzwetzkyana did it under 5 years for me…except I think a scion added to another tree on M111 that still hasn’t bloomed, the little scion had one apple in year 4.

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Just curious, were those varieties mostly apples out of grocery stores or mostly apples straight out orchards?

I once ate Jonagold apples from Kroger’s that I thought were among the best tasting grocery store apples that I had ever eaten. A few weeks later I ate Jonagold apples from an Asian market store that were terrible tasting.

Fuji apples are good out of the grocery stores, but much better out of my orchard. One should never base their taste preference of apples out of grocery stores.

With that said, I eaten excellent tasting apples out of old country stores.


I’m about 70/30 for grocery vs local/orchard apples. My earliest apple memories are of visiting trees with my mother to gather apples to make apple butter and apple pies. I sampled trees that were given local names meaning nobody knew the actual variety. We had yellow transparent (identified later when I knew finally saw them in a catalog), Red June (A very good early small red apple similar to Fameuse, and Horse Apple which I found out later is a named variety but not the same as the apples we picked up. In commercial orchards, I sampled Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, and eventually Fuji.

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