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  • From: Don Yellman <>
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  • Subject: [NAFEX] Winesap Apple
  • Date: Thu, 02 May 2002 02:44:14 -0400


1. I have a copy of Stark's Spur Winesap, planted in spring, 1997. It bloomed and bore a light crop last season, and this spring has bloomed heavily, apparently beginning to exhibit spur characteristics. I was beginning to wonder there for a while. Last season's apples did not color up much, and I may haved picked them a little early. I think I took them down the first week of October, and should have waited until the third week. This is a late-ripening apple. I blended them in the cider (there weren't very many), but did taste a few and they were a little tart for my taste. Again, probably due partly to taking them down too soon. I think they will turn out to be excellent for cider blending, at least as good as the Stayman. And they don't have that cracking problem of the Stayman.
2. It would surprise me if this cultivar on M7 reaches 25 feet. It doesn't seem to be a particularly vigorous grower, but not shy either. At any rate, you wouldn't want them that big anyway, since trees over 15 feet become very difficult to manage, and you would want to keep them pruned down. But Winesap is a poor pollinator, and if you are going to plant a block of 50 of these trees, that is an important consideration. I am not certain whether this particular cultivar of Winesap is a triploid, as is the Stayman Winesap, but they certainly will not pollinate each other. You may want to consider leaving spaces in your planting for adding a few flowering or fruiting crabs. My personal choice would be Virginia (Hewes) Crab, which is very good for cidermaking, but there are many others such as Whitney, or Lucky's favorite, the Callaway. Crabs are very floriferous, and produce abundant, viable pollen. You could also mix in a couple of a known good pollinator such as Golden Delicious, but you wouldn't get the flower numbers you would with crabs. I am assuming that you are planting a new orchard, and don't have any existing apple trees nearby. If you do, then you may not have pollination problems.
3. I'm not entirely clear on what you mean by the best exposure for the trees. If you mean orientation of the rows, I don't think it makes much difference. Certainly, you would not want to plant on the South side of a line of tall trees, but the North side would be fine. If you have a choice of sites, my preference would be for a nice, gentle, South or Southeast slope. Morning sun is more valuable than afternoon sun, and if the trees are shaded a little from the West, they will still do just fine.
4. Depending on how much land you have available, and how much pruning you plan to do 15 years down the road, you can space these trees on M7 at anywhere from 15 to 20 feet apart, in all directions. If you plan to go between the rows with machinery to spray or cultivate, you might want to leave a little more space between rows, and keep the trees closer in the rows.
5. The best situation with respect to Eastern Red Cedars is not to have any around within a mile, but I guess it would also depend somewhat on prevailing winds, and whether or not the cedars in question are infected. The assumption is that most of them are. I had a severe outbreak of cedar apple rust here for two years running before I took down a red cedar in my neighbor's yard, about 50 feet from the edge of my orchard. Now the disease is completely gone. I know that Winesap is susceptible to CAR; I certainly had it all over my Stayman tree, and it ruined all the apples as well as affecting the leaves. If you have a lot of Red Cedars closer than, say, 200-300 yards, prepare for trouble. If you get an infection on your apple trees, it will take some pretty strong medicine to cure it. Not just stuff you can buy at Home Depot.
6. It should not be necessary to root prune trees from Stark, unless there are broken roots or a really oddball long root that won't fit in the hole, nor should it be necessary to top prune much. Set the trees so that the graft or bud union is at least 3 inches above the soil line; it may settle some after planting. You don't want the grafted stock coming in contact with the soil or it can root and become quite a large, standard tree, bypassing the size-controlling effect of the rootstock. Do not, rpt. not mix cow manure in the planting hole. Just put back the soil you took out. After planting, it's ok to spread manure or any other organic materials on the surface around the trees. It will break down slowly and feed the trees, but underground it's a killer.
7. Rumor has it that you have been of great assistance in setting up the new list. Perhaps you will hear from other apple growers who actually know quite a bit more about it than I do. There are a fair number of them. Hard to believe, I know, but true.

Rgds, Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

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  • [NAFEX] Winesap Apple, Don Yellman, 05/02/2002

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