[NAFEX] In Defense of Big Apple Trees

Ginda Fisher list at ginda.us
Sun Nov 8 07:38:18 EST 2009

On Nov 8, 2009, at 6:57 AM, Alan Haigh wrote:

> Fluffy’s warning about the grand results of growing a tree on a  
> Northern Spy rootstock has inspired me to counter with an  
> endorsement of full sized apple trees. . .

This is a topic of immediate interest to me, because I have a Jonathan  
in my front yard on M111 rootstock, and this spring I have to decide  
whether to try to keep it small with pruning, or let it get big.  (The  
leader it up where it's awkward for me to deal with it.)

Advantages of keeping it small:
I can spray it without a ladder, or expensive equipment.
I can prune the whole thing without worrying about my safety.
I can bag the apples, ditto.
I can pick the apples without tools.

Advantages of letting it get bigger:
More apples.
Apple that are out of reach of the deer.
Apple make great climbing trees, and I hope for grandchildren.
More attractive as a front-yard tree.  (Since the rootstock wants to  
get moderately large, I'd have to prune it in ugly ways to keep it  
small, I believe.)

So thanks, Alan, for your comments.  Of course, I can't afford to hire  
you to maintain my tree.  Frankly, if I could, it would be a no- 
brainer.  Note that all the advantages of keeping it small are in the  
"easier to maintain" list.  :-)

Ginda Fisher
Eastern MA, zone 6

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