[nafex] tip bearing apples, espalier subjects

Ed & Pat Fackler rocmdw at aye.net
Tue May 15 04:10:44 EDT 2001

Nell Lancaster wrote:

> Hi all, Nell here.  Thanks so much for all the responses to my question
> about >> cultivars that come to mind as tending to tip bearing? <<
> As usual, after sifting the wealth of available information I find I
> understand even less about the subject than I thought I did!  Probably I
> should grow more fruit and think less.....................

     My response---------
     The last sentance is possibly the best, most efficient advice you could
give yourself.  Spending time "out amongst them" will glean you more usefull
information than ANY publication.

     You wrote---------------

>  code   tree bearing habit  (standard example)  # accessions of the type
>   1     columnar  (Wijcik)                       18
>   2     Type I spar  (Starkvionson)             294
>   3     Type II semi-spur  (Empire)             585
>   4     Type III standard  (Golden Delicious)   615
>   5     Type IV tip bearer (Rome)               146  (8.7%)
>   6     weeping  (Red Jade)                       7

     My response----------

     Columnar and Type 1 are fairly well defined.  Types 2 and 3 could well be
lumped together as there is not much difference in fruiting habit between
Empire and Golden (as well the host of Golden sibs, and with the many Cox
     Type 4 is indeed well defined.  Or, classical "tip" bearing cvs. typically
have huge flower buds at tips of small-to-medium length branches which are
sometimes called boursh buds.

     You wrote-----------

And which categories if any would you recommend for espalier growing?

     My response---------

     This depends on type of espalier design that you desire.  Or, most any
apple or pear can be grown to most any espalier configuration.  However, I
think the easiest to manipulate would be types 2, 3 or weepers like Monark..

     If you have young trees planted, the next 2-3 weeks would be the best time
to start manipulating limbs, especially those which you'd want to tie down to
form circles or semi-circles.  Common rubber bands are great for this as they
hold them in place long enough prior to breaking and do not girdle.

     You wrote---------------

> Cortland 4, Barnack Beauty nf, Crimson Beauty 4, Filippa nf, Golden Russet
> 4, Maiden's Blush nf, Red Beauty of Bath 4, and Winston 4 - listed as tip-
> bearers in Crawford's Directory. (Derry W.)

     My response---------

     For reasons unknown (as Derry is an extremely perceptive sort), the book
she refers to constantly is full of errors.  However, that is not the worst
aspect of the book.  It is full of little "facts" which have absolutely nothing
to do with plant (apple) taxonomy, or it is often plain goofy.
     If you'll give me a surface address I'll send you my copy.  Accidently, I
kept it.  Generally, with books of this type, I burn them after reading and
fully intended to do this with one, but apparently am getting feeble in my old
     Also, there is a condition on this gift. You must promise to burn it after
you learn (by looking at your trees for a few years) of its collective

     You wrote--------------

> Paula Red 5 -  growth habit is so willowy I call it the 'Tree from Hell'
> when it comes to pruning. I now am trying summer pruning to try to control
> it a bit. (Victoria Caron, New Hampshire)

     My response-------

     Vic:  Give it up.  PaulaRed simply isn't worth the trouble, or at its
peak, it doesn't even make mediocre.

     You wrote------------------

> Spokane Beauty nf and its sports: Eve's Delight nf, Starking Giant nf, and
> others - Strong tip bearer ... A fair number of people grow it around here
> as it is the main variety that wins giant apple contests. (Lon Rombough,
> Oregon)

     My reponse--------

     Lon-------------see above re: message to Vic.

     You wrote-------------------

> Esopus Spitzenberg, as it happens, which isn't found in the GRIN data.  I
> understand Cox's Orange Pippin is just too hard here, so I wasn't
> considering it . They code it a 2, which makes me want to know more than
> ever what a "spar" habit is...

     My response----------

     Spitz and Cox are type 2s or so-called semi-spurs.  A true spur type has
more to do with the trees overall habit which is extremely compact (vs the
original) and buds form closer together.  After a few years, they often become
"spur-bound" or so many fruiting spurs form that the entire vascular system is
overwhelmed which equals small or weak flower buds and smaller fruit.  Also,
they are typically more difficult to thin.

     You wrote----------------

> Any comments about possible influences of culture?

     My response------

     I'd simply play around with them for a few years.  In time, you'll address
the trees natural or genetic tendencies and live happily ever after!!!!!

Ed, So. Indiana, Heaven, late spring, wonderment, etc.


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