My third leaf espaliers are coming along. There are 7 total trees, one of them a replacement tree for one I killed last year. The new tree is King David on G222, and is doing fine, but started out very small. Here is is picture of it earlier in the season with a nearby oriental poppy.
In early spring I pruned a little but not much, having kept unwanted growth in check via pinching last season. Then as the trees started growing, every couple days I walked past and pinched almost all growth off at ~3 leaves.
This year I grafted on these trees for the first time, adding 6 new varieties mostly by cleft graft along with a couple whip and tongue. They all took and were growing well (until a week or two ago, more on that below).
Goldrush flowered for the first time this spring and set a ton of fruit. I took most of it off since I wanted the tree to focus on making more tree instead of fruit, but I left on a handful (still haven’t actually tasted Goldrush). I put Centennial on the top of this tree, to hopefully grow up and make the top two rungs.
Rox. Russet was allowed to keep some fruits too, but only a couple since the tree is still pretty small and not growing as strongly as I’d like. Grafted on top is a scion from a probable seedling in Five Islands, ME, which makes clean, delicious little russets from a totally unmanaged tree.
Sweet Sixteen is the bushiest, healthiest looking tree this season, though it has yet to fruit. It is on G.30 roots, and wants to grow thick wood. I grafted in Bramley’s Seedling to both sides of the third rung and it is looking good.
Ashmead’s was damaged last year in it’s G.11 interstem piece, so I tried inarching a piece of G.30 rootstock from the ground into the Ashmead’s.
We’ll see how that works out, but the tree is still showing low vigor. It put on a bunch of fruit but I took it all off so as not to put undue stress on the tree. I did graft in Chestnut at the top, to grow up into 2 or 3 rungs.
Tydeman’s Late Orange is doing ok, no fruit yet.
I grafted in Karmijn da Sonnaville on rung three and it was growing well, but then the right side of the rung just withered and died after growing out like 20cm. Not sure why, but there is a new shoot growing out of the stub I grafted to, so I’ll probably try that again next year.
Opalescent is the second best looking tree, and is on B9/B118 interstem.
It set some fruit this year and I let it keep a couple, wanting to finally taste it for the first time. But I think there is a serious problem with this tree! On rung three, I grafted in Calville Blanc d’Hiver. Both sides grew out quite a bit, but then the right side withered and died.
Not just the graft, but all the way back down the stub to the main trunk. And now that whole section of trunk is discolored and dark. It is either leaking some kind of juice, or maybe discolored some rain water that washed over the trunk to form some tracks below the section. I scraped the bark here with my thumbnail; it was tough and didn’t look green underneath like healthy bark. Though it wasn’t totally dried out either.
Then I looked around the tree, and was sad to see that the junction of the branches on rung 2 to the trunk has a similar appearance. Ugh.
Any ideas what could be the issue with this tree? Some kind of canker? Suggestions on what to do? Apply some treatment? Radical amputation? Ignore it?