I posted back in May about a backyard orchard project that was just getting off the ground, much like Gene Yale’s in Skokie. My partner and I are grafting and establishing a collection of heirloom fruit trees, with everything on either dwarf or super-dwarf rootstocks.
In mid-April, I grafted 80 apples on both G.41 and P.22 rootstocks. Once the grafts spent a few weeks in the root cellar, I lined them out in a little 9’ x 13’ bed and spaced them about 12" apart in each direction. Of the 80 grafts, 5 didn’t take so we’ve got 75 little trees now that seem to be doing fairly well. I lined-out a separate rootstock bed immediately adjacent with additional G.41 and P.22 that I’ll be chip-budding in August. In the photo below of this bed, the two rows on the right side with the lighter green leaves are the G.41; the rest are P…22. I believe there are about 175 rootstocks total here waiting for chip-budding.
Are any of you growing apples on either of these rootstocks? Which training system are you using for your trees? How’s it working for you? I’d love to hear the details. Our pears and apples will all be cordons that make up a number of beds of Super Spindle V-Trellising, with the cordons spaced just 27" apart.
I’ve attached a couple photos so any of you who may be curious can see how things look at this early stage. The grafts popped in mid-May and were planted a week later. They’ve now been in the ground about six weeks or so. The apple in the top photo is Ananas Reinette; the one immediately beneath it is Improved Ashmead’s Kernel. The two bottom photos of rootstock are specifically of the G.41, which we purchased from Treco.
Looking good, and congrats on your grafting success.
One thing I might suggest is root pruning before you plant benchgrafts, makes planting much easier. I try to always have the roots spread and radiating outward when I plant(not looping back like ‘j’ ), and that is much simpler when they are shortened.
I hope you share your project as it progresses and wish you the best of luck with it!
We’re going to have to sell a few trees eventually. Our plans for the little orchard are to have one tree each of 160 cultivars, but I’m grafting a couple back-ups of everything in case we ever have problems with any one thing in particular. Three dozen of these are things we brought in through USDA Quarantine as long as 12 years ago, and we’re soon to be getting the last of the material released to us. Once our trees are established, we’ll let Quarantine know so they can free up space in their greenhouses for other folks looking to bring in material of their own.
Thanks, Jesse. I wasn’t quite sure about trimming those roots, given that they looked so healthy. I had assumed I would be doing a disservice to the little trees by removing any of the energy in the roots. I just wasn’t sure one way or the other. I do agree though that the roots would likely have benefited from being spread about a bit further. I was just eager to get them into the ground that day
“Improved Ashmead’s Kernel” is a cultivar introduced way back in 1883. It wasn’t available in the US, so I brought it in from the National Fruit Collection in the UK ten years ago and it sat in USDA Quarantine until this past spring when it was finally released to me. Currently, the only few trees of it in the US are the few I just grafted and the original still sitting in Quarantine until my own are established. By the way, I’m not sure what (if anything) is improved about it, but I figured it would be worth adding to an orchard.
I brought in most of the material either from Brogdale (the Nat’l Collection in the UK) or from a handful of nurseries in the UK. Many came from Keeper’s Nursery in Maidstone, Kent. A handful of perry pears came from a source in Wales. I also brought in six apricots from the Czech Republic that were proven to be both productive and late blooming (to escape the late frosts in Maine.) All in all, I believe I brought in a total of 50 cultivars, consisting of 31 apples, 10 plums, 6 apricots and 3 perry pears.
A dozen or so of the cultivars I brought in were already here in personal collections like Nick Botner’s. I wanted to make sure however that all of the material was virus-free. As it turned out, much of what I brought in wasn’t virus-free, so it was great to have the heat therapy program in Quarantine clean everything up, even though it took quite a number of years to get the job done.
I ultimately ended up digging up the trees a month ago from this original bed. We ended up with 70 two-year-old trees, 20 of which went into one of our orchard beds, another 20 potted up to be transplanted into a second bed this Fall, and a dozen of which are being shipped to my brother in Michigan. We’ll be selling the rest (which are individually potted up now) this Fall. I’d guess that half of these trees have flowered as they’re beginning their third growing season.
Thecidery: Now that you’ve had Ananas Reinette in your hands since spring of '17, how has it done for you?
I got scions of it for this spring ('20) & hope it can hack the summers here. Will probably graft it to Geneva 890 and MM106.