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Apple rootstock for wet clay and -35 celcius

Posted by hungryfrozencanuck 4a (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 14, 14 at 20:29

Yes I know this is not ideal orchard soil. There is no way to improve drainage with tile or ditching with my wifes rules on how bad I can tear up landscape (it's ok, you should see the number of trees and bushes she let me plant). Soil is clay with good organic content. There is standing water during spring thaw for 2-3 weeks. Summer water table is 3-4 feet deep but after heavy rains can be 1-2 feet below surface. I am doing some degree of raised mounds but can't do higher than 1 foot.

Winters are -35 Celsius (-31 F) for at least 2 weeks. Quite cold for other times. Occasional deadly warm spell in January/Feb before another deep freeze. Generally have good snowpack for insulation BUT there are times where it is that cold with bare ground.

I have no idea about fireblight prevelance here.

I'm pretty new to this. Researching like crazy, shoving stuff in the ground a bit at a time and seeing what takes. I'm greedy and would rather not wait 7-10 years for fruit. I also like variety so my ideal spacing is 8-10 feet between trees and try to keep them to 10-12 feet max in height.

I have been leaning towards Bud 9 due to size and proven cold tolerance in my region but am worried about the wet ground. Would EMLA 111 and pruning like crazy work to keep trees a manageable size but be better with the wet clay OR EMLA 111 with an interstem OR even Antonovka and really prune like CRAZY OR some other graft entirely?

The next batch I am playing with is: Enterprise, Celestia, Sundance and Swayzie Russet.

Already have Macfree, Liberty, Goldrush, Prinstine, Crimson crisp, Redfree and Egremont russet.

I'm just not sure what is best to try but I'm open to experimenting. Something dies I will pull it out and try something else.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Apple rootstock for wet clay and -35 celcius

According to St. Lawrence Nursery, which specializes in cold, northern climate fruits:

"St. Lawrence Nurseries does not grow or sell dwarf or semi-dwarf apple trees because they do not have the hardiness, vigor, and disease resistance needed to thrive in our northern climate.

So what Is "Standard"? Although the word “standard” implies that all apples grafted onto standard rootstock grow to be about the same size, this is not the case. For instance, Red Delicious or McIntosh seeds from cannery waste have often been used to grow “standard” rootstock. Growing in Zone 6 or 7, trees grafted to these rootstocks will often reach a mature height in excess of 30 feet, necessitating a 40-foot orchard spacing and long ladders. In contrast, Malus antonovka, a “standard” seedling rootstock, when grown in Zone 3 or 4 without pruning, will produce a 15 foot tree. (See photo p. 22.) The same tree can be kept at 10-12 feet by annual pruning. We use Antonovka for our apple rootstock. It is the most tried-and-true rootstock known, having been used for 500 years in Russia. Northern grown and well pruned apple trees on Antonovka rootstock are equivalent to “semi-dwarf” trees in size, yet still retain the necessary vigor to flower, fruit and become dormant within the time constraints of a short growing season."

Here is a link that might be useful: WHICH APPLES SHOULD I CHOOSE?

RE: Apple rootstock for wet clay and -35 celcius


I can't help you on the wet issue, but years ago I sold apple trees in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. They
were on Malus prunifolia, malus ranetka, malus baccata and Antonovka rootstocks.

These survive in extreme cold. Sorry they are not dwarfing. I recall also Ottawa 3. However very coarse rooted and best for budding. Did not work well grafting. It seems if planted and then grafted on in late July it did fine but poor success bench grafting.

RE: Apple rootstock for wet clay and -35 celcius

I agree with milehighgirl try Antanovka Apples. This is the forum we discussed them earlier this year
Here is a commercial dealer 'Antanovka'.&categoryid=75 to get them from because if you are wanting to plant an entire orchard it will be cheaper. Then graft them over later.

This post was edited by ClarkinKS on Tue, Apr 15, 14 at 21:54

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