Trying to figure out which apple to graft

This has been tough to figure out.
I’ve been waffling back and forth on what to do.
I’m grafting over Kidd’s Orange Red on G11 onto the top of my G30 Jonamac and giving that tree to my parents in a couple of years. So, I’ll have a spot for a tree after digging it up. Its just not doing that well.
Fruit is OK, but not that dissimilar from Gala to me. Seems to be a curcullio magnet. Will keep it going on the top of the Jonamac, which needs the top restructured after having a split in the wood this year.

I have a G935 rootstock ready to be grafted and I’ve had a hard time narrowing the list down to 1.
Goal is to graft this spring.

I live on the border of 5a and 5b zones in Upstate NY. I’d prefer a diploid if possible.
My soil is sandy, light and my fruit size a little small. I have to water my trees in dry spells to get decent fruit size.

What I have now minus Kidd’s:

Jonamac (Diploid)
Orleans Reinette (Triploid)
Pomme Grise (Diploid)
Reine des Reinettes (Diploid)
Belle de Boskoop (Triploid)

What has been rattling around as options:

Reinette Grise could be the original Pomme Grise? Derek Mills says its not a productive tree. Both him and Dan Bussey agree its tasty though. Diploid.

Zabergau Reinette Quality seems variable, but solid in the south, what about the north? Triploid.

Harrison Tried this during one of Burford’s last Monticello taste tests, really was the star for me, even fresh. Honestly, compared to the north I thought most of the apples were garbage at Monticello. We had the samples on Columbus day weekend. Harrison is a small apple, probably would be a thinning project, Diploid.

My yard gets shady in September and beyond, so my apples are usually better flavored than orchards around here since the fruit stays cool, but I do seem to have some minor rot struggles in rainy autumns.
I’d like to have all apples off my trees by 3rd week in October which is 1 week after Red Delicious here.

Not sure how apples that do well in Virginia/Atlantic area would do here in New York.
I wouldnt dare try something like GoldRush here.

Advice? They all intrigue me.




Personally id put in the Harrison. Being diploid, it will help pollination as you have a high percentage of triploids. Also you said you liked it, which is a known bonus.


Thanks! I think I’m going to trudge ahead with Harrison.
I had questioned it initially because I had it in Virginia and I thought my season may not be long enough for it, but it seems someone close to me (4a) has had success growing it! Cummins says October harvest in New York too, but thats very general, upstate New York has so many hardiness zones.

When I tasted it, it reminded me of a spicer Golden Russet of Western New York, which is one of my favorites of all time, but its a massive tree plus a tip bearer and want nothing to do with that.

@AndySmith, any chance you can update your experiences with Harrison you’ve had?
I’d like to graft it next spring onto G935. I am near Saratoga bordering on zones 5a/5b.
Did you get your scions from Geneva?


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Spitzenburg? Rubinette? Bravo de Esmolfe?


My Harrison came from @39thParallel and is on M.111 and B.118. 2 of the M.111 trees are on their 3rd leaf for me and have not yet bloomed. The B.118 were later grafts and are small trees still. My trees are still in the nursery bed but will be planted out this fall or next spring. I don’t recall if the trees I grafted on B.118 were from prunings of the trees I got from 39th or if I ordered scion from Mike. 39thParallel will have scion I suspect. I may have some as well but I don’t do winter pruning until March.

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Harrison is a little slower to set fruit. My trees are just now setting some fruit after 4-5 years in the field. I am looking forward to tasting them and seeing how they hold up against our difficult growing conditions… @scottfsmith has posted about growing Harrison.



Here’s Harrison pruning advice from Eliza G., a veteran orchardist who has grown Harrison:

“Let it go wild. No pruning until it produces its first crop and then mostly summer pruning. Almost no winter pruning. Otherwise it gives you branches/wood and not much fruit.”

I have Reinette Gris du Canada. I ate a few before I bought the tree. It is a yellow apple that does get russeting. It is wonderful. It also pollinates my Calville Blanc d’Hiver. Two apples I had to buy!


Thanks for the update!

Thank you! Seems Harrison has its own club now! How is the growing habit? Upright?

Good advice, thank you!

Thanks Mrs. G! I had looked at Reinette Gris du Canada, but I think that’s a triploid?

All mine are on free standing M111. I would say it has a normal growing habit not especially upright or spreading. Kind of compact.

I grafted Harrison this spring, one of two took…and it’s doing fine, but not overly vigorous so far.
Grafted over 100 trees, 30 different varieties.
So, which apple to graft?

You have a list of some good antique ones. But I don’t know how you limit the choice to just one! :slight_smile:

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Maybe it’s better because it doesn’t get picked too green, or even more likely, because trees are drought stressed. I’ve never found fruit of any type having more flavor because of more shade- quite the opposite, but there are many factors in play.

I believe cool evenings are what helps drive up sugar sometimes because it slows down night respiration which stimulates vegetative growth. It’s all about where the carbs are invested by the tree. Once trees are bearing, we try to steer as much towards fruit as possible while sustaining moderate vigor in the tree.

Incidentally, if you are not irrigating your fruit trees and you have sandy soil, M111 may be a good rootstock for you since you enjoy grafting anyway. One tree can take the place of several bushes and carry as many varieties as you want. You can train such trees very low if you want and summer prune them to help regulate vigor, especially during wet seasons.

You didn’t ask, so I apologize if I’ve posted info you were already aware of or don’t need, but I hope it’s useful to someone who reads it.


Thank you Alan! I always love reading your posts! I said what I did because I grow a fairly common orchard apple in Jonamac. My favorite orchard to visit is Samascott in Kinderhook, NY. They also grow Jonamac. The season there is about 7-10 days further along than further north where I live. Every year I taste their Jonamacs (On M26) which bake in the sun all day vs. mine, which are about 6-7 hours direct sun daily and the differences are pretty big. Theirs taste mostly like a Macintosh, vinous, sweet with hints of rosewater, pretty bland. Mine (On G30) are much more full flavored, spicy, sweet/tart raspberries, much more Jonathan comes through. They’re a huge hit with the neighbors and friends we share them with.

I do water weekly, especially if its dry, like it has been this year. I’ve been out more than once a week on average.

I broached the shade subject with Axel Kratel on CloudForest Gardener back when that was active, I think Scott was part of the conversation too. His observation (in CA) was that the trees he had within the row, those that were getting a little more shade late season had better flavor possibly because the apples werent hot on the surface for as long. Nothing scientific, but I thought that could be the explanation.

Fast forward to a few years ago, attending an apple tasting at Monticello on a Columbus day weekend. I thought a majority of apples from the hotter climate couldnt hold a candle to the apples from the north. Totally flat on flavor, so disappointing I had a hard time giving much above a 5 for most of them, except Harrison, which I think I gave an 8. I wish I had brought a Jonamac for Burford from my yard but I didnt expect to be disappointed especially with such a prestigious event in the apple world.

Anyway, maybe its the cooler 3-4 weeks before harvest that helps us with flavor in the north?
Love the thought provoking conversation. Thanks Alan!

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I have sandy Adirondack soil with no irrigation and I am learning to appreciate M.111. Of the 9 apple root stocks I have trees on, M.111 seems to handle our conditions quite well.

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It is always educational to draw information from different regions and your comment is a very thoughtful distillation of that beneficial experience. As you realize, what affects flavor in one region may not have the same result in another. On hot days apples close their stomates and shut down carbohydrate production, at least during the middle hours. I wish I had more specific info on this process, but I’m sure both humidity and temps factor in on it. Sun hitting leaves directly may slow down photosynthesis more than dappled light.

I’ve always found that the orchards I manage with dawn to dusk sun tend to get higher brix from stonefruit, but the results on apples aren’t quite as clear to me.

I have come to the conclusion that anything that reduces water from a surplus during the final weeks of the ripening process drives up brix in most common fruits, excepting plums. Sandy soil can be helpful in this regard.


I have an unknown rootstock I grafted onto that I now suspect is M.111. It had an old (30 year) Red Jade crab apple on it across the walkway in a bad, shady spot and died from crown rot. It sent up suckers in a sunny spot across the walkway as it was dying, and I grafted onto it. The thing has exploded and is now on its 6th leaf with Pomme Gris. It’s around 18 feet tall I’d say.
Burrknots, but no suckering. I suspected M.7 at first, but after some time, I’m thinking it may be M.111.
This is the first year its producing. I am also southern Adirondacks, sandy.