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Rootstock and varieties for espalier apples

Posted by HollyGates none (My Page) on
Wed, May 9, 12 at 20:41

Hi there, I apologize if some of this has been covered in previous posts; I've combed the archives but not extensively.

I live in Somerville, MA, and am planning on replacing the fence along the back of my property with a new fence and lining it with espaliered apples. The fence will be roughly south facing so it will get pretty good sun, though it will be shaded a bit at times from a maple and nearby buildings.

The back fence is about 54' across, and the fence itself is going to be 8' tall, and I could potentially go up another foot or two with guide wires for the trees. So max vertical space is 10' tall.

I'd like to plant trees that are hardy, long lived, and low maintenance (I know, maybe thats an oxymoron for espalier!). I had been thinking about doing 6 or 7 trees on M111 root stock, and training them onto horizontal wires about 1' apart vertically. So each tree would have 8-9' horizontal space and up to 10' vertical.

Fedco is close enough for me to drive to and I know some folks who have always had good things to say about them, so I was planning on working with them. I emailed them about the project; they recommended using standard, or Bud9 or Bud118 if I wanted it to be smaller.

The varieties I'm interested in getting on top would be:
- Wickson
- Golden Russet
- cox orange pippin
- Ashmead's Kernel
- Chestnut
- Canadian Strawberry
- Roxbury Russet

I should also make clear that I'm completely new to apples and don't have a ton of growing experience at all. But I'm hoping to learn, and I've got a friend who is getting a little apple orchard going in Maine who can help me out occasionally. Anyway, I figure what's the worst that can happen? I'll totally mess it up and have to start some or all trees over. I'm willing to deal with that. That said, of course I'd like to have the best chance of success before starting, so I thought I would post here!

Anyway, putting a standard tree into a flattened 9x9' space seems like a poor fit. On the other hand I was feeling like maybe Bud9 or M7 would be too small and wimpy.

Thanks for any advice,
-Holly Gates
Somerville, MA

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rootstock and varieties for espalier apples


If I were trying that I'd be more concerned about too much vigor than not enough. My M9 trees have been about 8ft tall and as wide. If you have good soil in MA I'd expect your vigor to be even more. If you don't let them over bear at a young age I'd think an M9 to M26 size tree would work.

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