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Planting / Growing Apple Trees in MN 3a

Posted by ForeverRecycleReuse MN 4b (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 9:57

We have some land up north in MN 3a and have thought to plant some apple trees. We do not get up there often so the trees would have to somewhat care for themselves and would get water only during rainfall. The soil is quite rocky as well.

Wondering how well the trees would fair in this type of environment with lack of regular care.

What varieties would be the hardiest to plant for these conditions?

Anyone far north successful in growing apple trees?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Planting / Growing Apple Trees in MN 3a

Youre in the same general area as me (cept im in ontario). The UofMinn has produced some hardy apples, the most popular being honeycrisp. Just google university of minnesota fruits or apples.

You should also google the Uofsaskatchewan fruit program. There might be some of their varieties available where you are. There are dozens of old macintosh trees up here, but i am also on the shore of superior, which moderates the winter temps.

Honeygold has made it here 3 years in a row, lowest temp ive recorded at my house was -30C, the airport 10km away was -37C! A few types that I am not too familiar with are jonagold, rescue crabapple, goodland, macintosh and yellow transparent.

You may also look up some other fruits. You would be surprised what may grow there. There are plums (toka for example) and native plums as well (prunus nigra (or canadiensis depends on what you read). There is the evans (bali) cherry that should make it there as well. Make sure it is not grafted and is on its own roots! It is a sour cherry but if left on the tree they sweeten to about 14 - 18 brix.

You may want to try Ure pears and some more russian/european crosses. Gorgeous trees. Ure, Golden spice and john have made it up here for a few years.

RE: Planting / Growing Apple Trees in MN 3a

I think the key for your area is varieties that are very cold
hardy and also early ripening due to the short growing season. I lived in Minesota for 8 years so somewhat familiar with the state.

I can recall some old time varieties like Wolf River, Duchess of Oldenburg, Yellow Transparent that are super hardy and short season. Should be some newer
varieties that fit the bill too. (Hazen, Wodarz both come to
mind as North Dakota introductions)

What about deer? I would not suggest too dwarf a rootstock as the deer can reach up to 5'. Best to fence off while young so they don;t eat the trees. I would grow
them on a more agressive hardy rootstock and have the
lowest branches at 6' or 7' to avoid deer issues since you state you do not get there often.

In the past I recall hardy rootstocks such as antonovka,
siberian crab, ranetka, M. prunifolia all be hardy choices
for cold areas. Wherever you purchase your trees from,
be sure they are on a cold hardy rootstock that will do well for your area.

I know M7 is supposed to be cold hardy enough but a friend of mine in Northern Wisconsin (Rhinelander) lost a
bunch of apple trees on M7 one cold winter. He went back to using Antonovka rootstock after that.

RE: Planting / Growing Apple Trees in MN 3a

I agree you should avoid dwarfing rootstock. They arent reliable this far north....

If your land is big enough a few semi dwarfs should do well. Up here there arent too any pest or disease problems so spraying should be minimal, if thats your bag. If you dont want to do a lot of care then you should shape them within the first few years. Even after that there is SOME care. So far I only prune in late winter (march or april here) and if needed spray some soapy water after the blooms drop. Other then that they get NO care.

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