[NAFEX] What apple rootstock?

list at ginda.us list at ginda.us
Fri Oct 8 18:37:42 EDT 2004


Changes, changes.  My next door neighbor sold his house to a developer, 
who has cleared the land and is in the midst of removing the hill to 
create a "level lot" at street level.  The land slopes up away from the 
road, and it looks like I may have a 10-15 foot retaining wall at the 
back.  That is, I will be at the top of a cliff.  I will also suddenly 
have an additional bit of land with direct sun for at least part of the 
day.  His land is roughly west of mine, so it is afternoon sun.

So I thought I might put in a apple tree or two.  I will certainly try 
an Ashmeads Kernal (my family's favorite, and hard to obtain around 
here) and maybe something else.  I'm tempted to try a Karmijn, although 
I've never tasted it.

Any advice on rootstock for this less-than-ideal spot?  The land has 
excellent drainage (water and air) and there is perhaps 6 inches to a 
foot of fluffy humusy soil mixed with rocks over a light subsoil which 
is also heavily mixed with rocks.  This is New England, after all.  
What was growing there before the developer cleared it (long story, but 
he cleared a patch of my land, too.) was oak saplings, sickly 
blackberry (an orange fungus), blueberry, and ivy.  So I assume the 
soil is acidic, although I haven't actually tested it.  There are also 
some wild crabs a little further back, in the backyard neighbor's plot, 
and some chokecherry.  This is in eastern Mass., zone 6 in the winter, 
and rarely into the 90s in the summer.  We usually get ample rain, 
although I need to water new stuff to help them get established 
(especially up on the well-drained hill.)

I am going for low maintenance, and fully expect to get wormy fruit, 
which is okay.  I eat wormy untended fruit at my uncle's place every 
year, and it is better than no fruit.  We have deer, so I don't want 
anything too small - I'd prefer if there was fruiting tree out of their 
reach, as I'm not going to be able to keep them away forever.  I'm 
willing to amend the soil and tend it (them) for a couple of years, but 
after that I'll probably leave it to its own devices.  I've never heard 
of fireblight locally, but we have tons of scab and some cedar-apple 
rust.

I know this is not the ideal spot, but it's what I have, and I'd like 
to use it.  Any advice?
Thanks,
Ginda Fisher




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