[nafex] Re: Espalier cultivars, more unsolicited advice

jhecksel at voyager.net jhecksel at voyager.net
Tue May 15 08:29:52 EDT 2001

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

I want to comment on orchard planning in general.  I do not know how
far along you are in planting your orchard.  You may already be past
this stage.

Enthusiasts typically plant onesie-twosie of many, many varieties.
That makes managing the orchard difficult.  It is also tough to pick
them at their peak, market them or process them as a household.  This
comment applies doubly to early apples.  Early apples have a very
short picking window.  It seems like they go from inedible to mush in
three days.  So you would need to check every early apple tree, every
day.  Growing fruit is suppose to be fun, not a chore.

I cannot take credit for the following advice.  I wish I knew who to
attribute it to.  Strongly consider 20% "early" apples, 40% mid-
season, and 40% late apples.  These proportions are rough.

Talk to your neighbors.  There are some niche cultivars that will do
well for you that you won't hear folks from Michigan, NY or Indiana
talking much about.  For example, you might find that Spartan and
Nittany are absolutely great apples at your latitude and elevation.
Also, from an ease of management standpoint.  Make most of your mid
and late apples just a couple of cultivars each.  Just make sure they
are rock-solid, reliable producers.

We get much joy from our novelty apples.  We spend a disproportionate
amount of time talking, writing, thinking and managing them.  The
apples that keep us in the game are the reliable, boring cultivars
that bring in a crop (sometimes not very big) each year.


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