Calville blanc G41 - good espalier? Opinions please

I am considering trying an espalier. Would like to add calville blanc to my little orchard. Cummins is offering calville blanc on G41. Does this seem like a good espalier prospect? Zone 8b. vancouver, wa thank you


Yes. I saw an espaliered fence of Calville Blanc d’Hiver surround two parterre gardens at Monet’s house in Giverney. They were espaliered into a Cordon and kept at about 3’- 4 ‘ tall. Magnificent and loaded with apples.


I think there are several things you want to consider. The first is how big an espalier you want. Do you want one that is 6 feet wide and tall or 12 feet wide and tall? Calville blanc scion is a bit low in vigor so you might want to have a rootstock that has a bit more vigor like G222 or G214.

Second, G41 is a very good rootstock and widely used in commercial plantings. But it has one weak point-graft union strength. There have been failures with Honeycrisp and some other scions. In many cases the failures occur when planting out large feathered trees in commercial plantings that haven’t been headed back for shipping. Tree like this are usually not available in the retail market. But there have been failures of mature, established trees usually on exposed sites in high wind conditions. If the espalier is being put in a exposed site I would avoid using G41. I would try to get G11 instead since it produces a similar size tree without the graft failure issue. If the site is sheltered like many suburban backyards I think G41 would be fine especially since espaliers are usually supported better than the typical tree in a commercial planting.

The forum has several threads on espaliers and Geneva 41 union problems you might do a search for them.

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mroot… thank you. good considerations. I am thinking of one maybe 5 ft… 3 arms… no more than 7 ft wide. I though I had read that calville blanc was a high vigor so I thought an smaller dwarf root stock would be good. Since calville is low vigor, it doesn’t seem like G41 would be good.
I have heard about the problems with G 41. I thought that being tied to an espalier frame might take care of the problem… not much wiggle room.
Well…bummer. I haven’t found any other offerings for calville except through cummins and the only other offering was a P118, I believe and I thought that would be too big to try and tame to an espalier… I could just graft it myself but was hoping to get a year or 2 jump in development by getting a “ready made” tree.
Thank you for your

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mrsg47… I would love that. I wonder if I could just buy that one…dig it up… and bring it home! :image

I’m a couple hours East of you in the desert. Calville blanc had done very well, it was early to fruit, low disease, and does not seem to sunburn. However it has been quite vigorous for me, should work well as espalier.
I have tried several Geneva rootstocks and wasn’t impressed. They are intended for specific applications by commercial growers. The graft union issues should not be taken lightly. I never lost a Geneva tree I grafted via cleft. Trees that were budded broke in surprisingly light winds.

Thank you, Chris. Good to hear of folks experiences with CB. What root stock do you have it on?

Most of my rootstock is geneva 11 and even being well staked (a triangle of T-posts), they are still marginal. The only one that does well is a G11/M111. I still have that one staked but it probably doesn’t need it.

I don’t plan on using the small geneva rootstock alone again as a free standing tree. Unfortunately, I don’t see hardly any offerings of geneva as an interstem. Thinking of just doing that process myself. I like the size of the G11… but not the instability of the tree.

Thought a G41 might work as an espalier because of the support it would have.

I am not sure if it is just coincidence, but I have two apple trees on G41 and both of them have same growing habit - the branches start to grow horizontally and after about 1.5 foot of horizontal grow turn 90 degree and go strait up. This doesn’t seems to me as good espalier habit. I have one espaliered tree on G.890 for 4 years - I think it is a very suitable rootstock for shaping espaliered three.

Its a slow grower.

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If you wait a bit you may be able to find a tree. Grandpa’s Orchard and Maple Valley Orchard don’t have their Spring inventory online yet. Maple Valley Orchard has offered Calville Blanc d’Hiver on trees before. They also give you the option of buying scionwood or getting a bench graft. I think the inventory will come online in December.

I have trees on G11 and G41 and the vigor is good. Especially for the Enterprise on G41…if I didn’t prune it to height the 4yr old tree would be 15 feet tall. But I have good silt loam soil and plenty of rain in the Summer. I don’t know what your soil type and rainfall is like where you live.

Both Orange Pippin and the Home Orchard Society list Calville Blanc d’Hiver as being low vigor. So I would want some more vigor in the rootstock.

Here is a tree size calculator that can help you estimate tree size and how all the variables interact- soil type, scion and rootstock vigor, irrigation, etc.


I grow Calville as an espalier . See phoros below , and I think your question will be answered. These are on MM111



Thank you All!
Yes, I will wait and see what other nurseries might offer. Cummins just has G41 and P18,

Mike - Yes please! perhaps you could just bring over one of your trees for my yard! They look amazing. I have some M111 suckers/rootstock potted and hopefully growing. I have the room so might try a couple of options. Can’t have too many good pie apples! …my extended family agrees!

Mroot…Wonderful links! I have been on HOS website for years and didn’t know about the apple vigor list.

Thank you… one and all!


I have moved most things over to M111, some on M7.
I found that dwarves don’t do well for me.

I am considering the same. …or… doing an interstem of a dwarf but m111 for better root size.

I have Belle de Boskoop on a Bud 9/M111 interstem it does well and really controls the size.

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thank you, Chris. Good to know. I do think I need to start using something like a M111 and a dwarfing interstem. Good to hear that an b9/m111 is a good combo. I have one tree on an G11/M111. Good size and doesn’t seem to need staking. Unfortunately, trees with interstems seem to be much harder to find. So… might just have to do more grafting myself. A good number of my trees are just g11 and even with staking in a triangle of T-posts, them seem pretty “flexible” at base of tree.

If you don’t already, you need to start grafting. No longer will you be restricted to what the nursery offers.
Interstems aren’t difficult to make i graft them at the same time, the amount of dwarfing seems tied to the length of the interstem.

I’ve done some grafting of apples and pears. Mostly to create a franken tree for my daughter, a few gift for my grandkids and my niece and a few misc scions I have put on m9 rootstock that HOS sold every year. Only kept two that I’ve done plus my pears as I bought most of my trees some years ago before I had any idea I could graft my own. I rest I have just given away to family, friends and co-workers.
Now…I can see I really should just graft what I want. (now that I am getting a better idea of what I need/want from a rootstock). Happy to hear that you did the interstem at the same time. as the scion graft.
I have been more successful at grafting than I thought I would be. One thing nice about buying a 2-3 yr old tree is I get fruit quicker and at my age… that is an issue! lol
I am planning on buying some rootstock and a few scions and going more grafting this coming spring. I did pull off some suckers with a bit of root from an M9 and an M111 root. If they grow a bit more, I might even try to graft a couple of those.
also, If I am thinking of using interstems, I need to buy/grow that material.
But… great fun!

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I have two Geneva 41 and some Geneva 969 rootstocks if you can make it to Tacoma this Winter. If you can’t make it, I can mail them bare-root, or just the cut-off portions to use for an interstem. I bought them from Cummins in Spring, and have been growing them in pots. I also have a Queen Cox maiden whip on G41 I grafted this year, if you are interested.
Geneva 969 is supposed to be self-supporting, precocious, and 40% dwarfing in WA. I will be grafting a few trees for a friend, but most of the rootstock I bought are just for playing with.

The G41 trees I have are horrible. They are scrawny and very ill shaped for a tree. I am very disappointed in them. I am going to replace the actual tree itself with something on a different NON Geneva series rootstock. Maybe it is just where I live or my zone. If you do this on this rootstock, good luck.

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