Espalier Apple Trees Re-worked


Hudson’s Golden Gem fruits fine here, gets so spurry that it’s hard to find scionwood for grafting.

HC is definitely not happy here, but does eventually fruit. It takes a few years to figure out where it’s at.

GoldRush is probably a better choice than both of them, it fruits like crazy and is easy to keep as an espalier.


GoldRush sounds like a make-over candidate for the damaged 1st rung then! I’ll keep that in mind when time comes…


It’s great to know that Hudson’s GG fruits fine. Another variety I grafted a few years ago and still waiting for it to fruit is Kidd’s Orange Red. I am still holding on to the hope that it will fruit here since this is one of the parents of Gala.


Kidd’s never did well here. Gala does OK, but stays small. Hawaii is an animal, and Bramley is a fruiting machine about this time of year.


Ouch! Another graft that may need to be removed. I plan to give it two more years. When you said Kidd’s never did well, do you mean it did not set fruit reliably or the taste/texture is not good?

I have grafted more varieties this year to my apple trees and some are with unknown chill requirements. I guess I’m too curious to know if they will fruit here to stop trying.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.


Kidd’s quality was poor, and production with low also. Rubinette did better, but still ripens in the heat and has variable quality. King David has the most complexity and is bombproof.


Thanks! I’ll put King David on my list for next year’s grafting project.



Of all the apples varieties that you’ve mentioned as excellent producer, can you rank them for taste, hardiness? And what’s the harvest time?



Well, King David is grown by Tom Bunker in Maine, and it wins taste tests from Maine to Mexico, so I’d put that on top. Rubinette is common in Mass., so it appears bombproof also. Hawaii is from California but carried by Maple Valley Orchards in WI, so I’d say it was hardy also. Hawaii ripens August, Rubinette September, King David late October. All are outstanding in flavor and easy to train.


What about GoldRush’s taste and harvest time?


GoldRush is quite late, end of October. For colder climates, I’ve heard it described as batter-acid tart upon picking, mellowing to a wonderful complexity after a couple months in storage. Here in California upon picking it tastes like a really good Fuji.


The battery acid description was probably from Ed Faeckler and his best apples list. While Goldrush does not resemble Fuji here beyond both variety’s ability to hold crisp texture in storage, it does not make me wince from its tartness at harvest. I would say Brambley’s is much tarter, for example, and Cox is also more acidic.


I’m not very fond of puckering, acidic fruits so the replacement variety will need more time for research. Thank you for your opinions.



I wouldn’t run away from Goldrush because you think it might have mouth puckering tartness. Most people love the fruit, if not right off the tree, after a couple months in storage. To me winter apples are the most important apples- but I also like GR off the tree. It has very high sugar but acid with it.



I wished I could taste out (not try out as planting - wrong word chosen) many varieties to gather a choice list. Once planted, you committed at least 3-5 years to see any result. Not knowing what is in store waiting is hard because repeating the process is another time consuming at the same project back to square one.

You’re in New York, zone 5 like Chicago? If so, what’s the harvest time for GoldRush? I’m draw to it due to Applenut’s opinion “GoldRush is probably a better choice than both of them, it fruits like crazy and is easy to keep as an espalier” but not quite fond of sour fruits.

Maybe I should give that a try then! Can I look you up in spring to trade scion woods if I have anything that you don’t already have?



Tom, I usually give out a few envelopes of scion wood every late winter/spring, although I’m incredibly busy then. You are unlikely to have anything I want, but you can send me a list and we might do a straight exchange. Usually I just respond to those that send me a stamped envelope with the weight they’ve paid for and any other info I need beyond varieties, such as diameter of wood. I seem to like thicker scionwood than what people usually exchange. Improves my ratio of success if wood is about pencil thick or just a bit thicker. I don’t even bother with the skinny wood people often send me anymore- if they can’t get the thing to grow with vigor, I’m not sure I want it anyway.


I too have read that Honeycrisp can be slow to come into bearing, some forum members here have had that experience also. Honeycrisp has fruited for me the second year as a small BR tree and the first year as a decent sized potted tree. If you haven’t had any fruit set in 7 years, something else is at play. I suspect pollination issues as opposed to chilling hours, since there are a number of folks here who harvest HC in warm climates. I think applenut is in Z10 and he harvests his ok. Also, what root stock is it on?

HC is not a vigorous grower by any means, but it’s also not the slowest growing tree either. I know nothing about espalier, but if I had to guess, I’d think HC would be an ideal espalier tree. It’s growth habits, coupled with it’s very spurry nature seems like it should be nearly a perfect fit.

I wholeheartedly agree with everyone that Goldrush in the proper zone would be a fantastic espalier choice, but not for you Tom. The ripening date here for GR is around Nov. 15. It’s way too late an apple for your climate, in fact, it’s way too late for mine too. You’d likely be lucky to harvest fully ripened GR 1 year out of 10 in Z5…if ever.


It’s not pollination issue as there was no blooms to begin with.
It’s grafted on M111 and had been vigorous compared to the other espalier tree (Splendour on M111) planted a couple of feet away from it. On the remaining rung that has not been top worked, I tried to prune back the laterals a lot more this year and did the pinching discussed in this thread. Hopefully I will see fruiting spurs soon.


My HC is a stand alone tree. I planted it in 2008. It’s a potted tree so it must have been 2-3 years old tree by 2008. It was on an unknown rootstock but I guess it was M111 since it’s a nursery potted tree labeled “semi-dwarf”

It did not bloom until 2013, only a few clusters. I got about 7-8 apples out of it. By 2013, the tree must have been 7-8 yrs old.

In the spring of 2014, there was no bloom at all. It definitely was not because of overbearing the previous year. I believe it was caused by my incorrect pruning. I did too much heading cuts and not enough thinning cut. By the summer, I made correction the best I could.

This year, the tree developed so many fruit spurs on every branches. I thinned many spurs out before and at bloom time. I also thinned a lot of fruitlets off.

I think that my HC’s delayed fruiting was a result of its rootstock and my pruning ignorance.

I have no knowledge of espalier. I just want to share my experience re. HC with you.


Hi Mamuang,
Thanks for sharing your experience with me.
I was hoping that maybe when we get a high chill winter once a while, I might get to taste home grown HC.

Looks like there is still some hope yet that my HC will bloom later and hopefully more regularly.