GoldRush interstem espalier, year 4 update


#1

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.

IMG_4789

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!


#2

Your tree looks great! Good job.

I think those white fluffy clouds are wooly apple aphids. I had some on a Golden Delicious this year. I scrubbed them off with my fingers then sprayed the tree with an all season oil. They did not return.


#3

Great job, Holly, Good looking apples, both on the tree and on the counter. Mine were not quite ripe, either.

Love the pic of Mille’s reaction :smile:

I agree that the last pic looked like wooly aphid. I had it on my Golden Russet. I just just like Jim did in scrubbing them off and spraying the tree with oil.

By the way, thought you would measure things in lbs or oz. I am used to a metric system but have not seen it mentioned much in this forum.


#4

Thanks Tippy! Looks like I should do an end of season manual squashing and oil spray. I wasn’t too keen on spraying anything on the apples, but they are off now.

I am dedicated to trying to use the metric system whenever possible. Most people outside work find this tedious and annoying. But you know, Be the Change.

For certain things like grams, mm, and cm, it is easy since that is what I use at work. For m, km, and weather temps, it takes some effort.


#5

Wish my Gold Rush look as good as yours. Only the ones with more sun looked good. The less sun got sooty blotch badly. Fortunately, scrubbing it off was easy. That one good thing about espalier is your fruit get lot of sun, minimize fungal issue.

I’ve found a metric system is a lot easier as everything seems logical to me. An English system is a mystery to me. It does not seem to have any rhyme or reason.


#6

At work when we ask what units something is in we ask is it in “Metric” or “Stupid”? Of course anyone can measure something fine in poorly designed units like English/Imperial, but I feel life is vastly enhanced by units which make more sense. Even in the Stupid system, having to look at a spec for a filter diameter in fractional inches drives me crazy - just use decimals! That being said, I’m positive English is not the worst unit system ever used. Metric is demonstrably better, the only reason to use English is because that’s what we are used to. So my effort is to force myself to get used to metric units by going out of the way to use them.

Having grown up in america I’ll admit that if I’m being mentally lazy it is easy for me lapse into thinking for instance, about 4" diameter pipe rather than 100mm pipe.


#7

The problem is that if you want to use metric you have to keep converting it for others! I’m fairly comfortable with mass units either metric or English, and a few distance rough equivalents (a meter is a long yard) but I can only remember one or three temperature equivalents: 0C/32F, 20C/68F, 100C/212F. Grains? Oh, no.


#8

I am so impressed! Far easier for me to change currencies!


#9

I put these apples in the back of the fridge because I know they will last a long time. We’ve been working on eating through other apples, including some Spitz at 16 brix picked from my friend Ben’s orchard in late October. But with those and the stragglers from our PYO trip running out, we’ve started eating the Goldrush.

We ate a couple last night at dinner, and wow are they good. Extremely crisp, juicy, sweet, tart, and full of flavor. I don’t even mind the thick skin. From other people’s descriptions I don’t think they are this good all the time, but I’m enjoying this moment of home fruit growing success while it lasts.

Planning to serve a couple for dessert to guests at Thanksgiving too. I wish I had more since I can see they are going to be gone in a week or two.


#10

Regarding the wooly aphids…just when you think they ‘didn’t come back’ is the time to check the surface roots. Brush away the surface soil/mulch and see if there are white colonies on the roots. If so, this would suggest a soil drench. Left unattended, this could greatly weaken or kill a young tree.


#11

My GoldRush (on G.30) yielded its first crop this year (probably about 75 apples after generous, but maybe not generous enough, thinning). We had an especially dry and somewhat warm year. I was very surprised to find some of the damaged apples to be fairly mature and ripe on the tree in mid-Sep. Though I didn’t start harvesting to eat until mid-Oct (the bulk of them I let hang until Nov 9th before a hard frost in the upper teens). I found them to be tasty right from the tree, tart to be sure but with matching sweetness that made them nicely balanced for my palate. The do seem to be rounding out and getting even better. I’ve got maybe 20 apples left in the fridge and hope to save at least a couple until spring. Man, they are crunchy, sweet, tart, flavorful (the skin is slightly thick, but I can hardly complain about that)! I’m very pleased with them. In future years I look forward to having enough to bake with. I even grafted a standard tree to GoldRush this spring and plan to put it somewhere on the property as a deer-attractor (at least I’ll try to save them a few).

Congrats on yours Holly! Centennial is a nice summer-ripening apple-crab too. Kids love its cute size.

Cheers,
Kirk


#12

Just picked the last 6 apples off on Sunday. They were small and still not all the way ripe, but riper than they were some weeks ago when I picked the others. They went through a number of freezes, one down to -7C. The ones that endured the cold are still good, but are noticeably less crunchy and crisp than the others. So one more datapoint on that: 20F is damaging but not a complete loss for Goldrush at around 14 brix. We’ve nearly eaten all those ones by now anyway.