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Old 07-21-2012, 11:21 PM
qdmohio qdmohio is offline
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Default A few Tall Spindle Apple Orchard questions....

I've pretty much decided that since I'm going to be ordering a few apple trees to replace the ones that broke in the storm a few weeks ago, I might as well go ahead and order more than a few. I think I'm going to make a very small tall spindle orchard (only about 10-12 trees) in a new area near my house that is currently just in grass. I did a soil test this week on it and the results were better than I thought they'd be. It needs a little amendment, but not as much as I'd expected.

My questions are for Maya/Ben/Appleman or anyone else who has experience with tall spindle orchard's.

1) The varieties I am looking at getting for the tall spindle orchard are on a variety of different dwarf to semi-dwarf rootstocks, including G11, G16, G30, G935 and B9. According to the information I have read, G30 and G935 are a little bigger (in some places being classed as semi-dwarf roots). They sound like great rootstocks and very productive, and for some of the varieties I want these are the only rootstocks they're offered on that I would want. My question is, will G30 and G935 trees eventually get too big and outgrow trees on G11, G16 and B9 if they're intermixed together in the planting? Or can I keep them close to the same size without stunting their productiveness?

2) It looks like a spacing of 3-4' feet in a row and 11-13 feet between rows is about the standard, is that about right? Anything to offer on that?

3) What are the basic differences between a tall spindle orchard and just a regular high-density wire trellised dwarf orchard?

4) Is it alright to individually stake the trees instead of using a wire trellis? The wire trellis is primarily to keep down costs since it wouldn't really be practical or cost effective to individually stake several hundred trees in a row, right? I'm only going to have 10-12 trees, though (broken up in 2 rows, 5-6 trees to a row), so it's no big deal for me to individually stake them. I was thinking about staking them with 1/2" electrical conduit to act as a guide to get them to grow nice and straight, and then staking the electrical conduit to a 6-ft. t-post for extra stability and strength. How does that sound?

5) At what point in the growing season do you start tying down new growth to below horizontal? Shortly before it starts to harden off in mid summer, or before that? What about in the 2nd year or so on new shoots that are higher off the ground? Are you just expecting to let the fruit weigh those branches down below horizontal?

6) I have read that since you don't do any pruning when you initially plant tall spindle trees, that you really need to water and fertilize them on a regular basis so the roots can quickly spread to support all that top growth. In the 1st year, how often and how do you water them, and do you maintain that schedule even if you are getting regular rains in the spring and early summer? What about fertilizing? Do you dissolve something in your irrigation delivery system and they just get fertilized by liquid fertilizer at the same time they're getting water? What about the 2nd year and beyond?

7) Here are the varieties I'm seriously considering, although I may not end up using all of them:

- Goldrush
- Honeycrisp
- Sweet 16
- Esopus Spitzenberg
- Ginger Gold
- Williams Pride
- Winecrisp
- Crimson Topaz
- Shizuka
- Liberty
- Sundance
- Karmijn de Sonnaville
- Rubinette
- Black Oxford

Any reason any of these varieties wouldn't work or aren't a good idea in a tall spindle orchard? I've had Goldrush, Honeycrisp, Williams Pride and Liberty apples so far from my existing trees, but if anyone has anything to offer about how some of these other varieties are for eating feel free to share as I am in the "deciding" stage right now.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:35 AM
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A Little bit of info and a neat story about black Oxford from Ben on my 2012 fruit trees thread. Page 3. I planted 4 on b118 this spring, can't wait to taste them in a few years.

So far I am a fan of the g30 rootstock. Planted a Zestar! This spring and tree is doing very well in my heavy clay at home. I am adding a Honeycrisp and Floria on g30 next spring.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:29 AM
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QDMAOhio

take a look at this link
http://www.umass.edu/fruitadvisor/cl...lspindleapple/

I just started my tall spindle this year, but am well read and over the next few years I am plantning 2400 trees on tall spindle.

b9 is the work horse of tall spidle, 3 foot or 4 foot spacing depends on variety.. like fuji prefers 4 vs 3. Drip irrigation is needed due to the close proximity.

Staking/supporting the tree.... there are different methods, you will see them in the link above. The trelis wire IMO is the way to go.. it make is easy.... and is not that expensive for the size you are talking. Mu guess for 20 trees you are looking at around....
100 wire High Tensil $100
wire rackets one per wire 4 or 5 wires $25
Posts 4 ends posts each row, plus 1 or 2 in line 4 x4 Pressure Treated $65
Galvanized staples $10
U hooks Large 18 cents each you need one per tree on each wire so 4-5 per tree... 20 trees less than $20
Crimps and crimping tool (expensive part) maybe $60 to 80

First year you pinch off all flowers and aggressively tie down all branches, water and train nice crotch angles of new vegetative growth, 2nd year allow 4-5 apples per tree at most, little to no pruining ussually. Year 3 and on you generally make 1 or 2 cuts taking out the largest branch.............. with the key idea in your mind... your are trying to grow fruit and not wood.

Hope this helps.. good luck
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:33 AM
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a picture of a fuji on my trellis.


In regards to when you want to tie branches down... as soon as you can after planting.... the trellis wire is 12 High tensils wire, then we use 14 gauage galzanized wire with loops to tie the branches down.. it is very easy and quick...

my weed control has improved since the pic... lol.. I also added drip irrigation.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:56 AM
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To add to what western said O, build a strong a system as possible, buy good feathered trees, whips dont cut it and will set you back a year, spend a lot of time training and yes...I really like B9 for this system. As western said it's the workhorse and that is why you will find nurseries growing them more than all others other than mayb m9but I think that is changing too.
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:13 AM
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1. G30 needs to be spaced 6-7'x15' in my opinion. Tall spindle might work on heavy bearing scions, like Liberty or empire, but I wouldnt try it. I have an acre of g30 on a 3 wire trellis, but i intend on letting permanent branches form. The trellis is important due to g30 early heavy production. It also keeps the trees straight and I can tie varieties that poor genetic branch angles.

2. 4x13 is the most efficient spacing imo.

3. The way you prune. The tall spindle eliminates longer branches. I, like many, have a hard time removing productive wood. When they get too long, impeding machinery in the row, or fruit touches the ground. I cut them back to a dutch cut, but i otherwise let them go. Tall spindle doesnt work on tip bearing varieties imo.

4. For a 50' row, i would still use wire. If you insist on t- post, use a 10 footer. The conduit will bend over under fruit load if not supported near the top.
5 some varieties do not require tying. Liberty, fuji, gala. Some benefit from a small amount of tying..honeycrisp comes to mind. Some its essential, like state fair..man that one is stubborn.

6 i rarely have to water here on the coast of Maine. I would mulch them well and run drip tape on them and keep an eye on them.

7. Put the liberty on g11, g30 or m26. Bud 9 doesnt work.The rest look ok.I would substitute pristine for topaz to get some summer apples...so mother can make you some applesauce!
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:28 AM
DeerfieldApples DeerfieldApples is offline
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I'd for sure stay away from staking the trees individually. 1/2" conduit will not work alone for supporting the weight of a crop unless you support it at the top and even then I would say to use two wires, otherwise the conduit can slide down the wire in the row itself if using clips.

Keep in mind that when you tie a branch down below horizontal that its not going to continue to fill space. I guess where I'm going with that is don't tie a limb down until you feel that it has grown enough to fill the area that you want it too. Say you have 4' between trees, tie the limbs down in the row when they are 2-2 1/2' long.

Do a youtube search for tall spindle, it will show you a lot.

From what I've seen of crimson topaz i'd steer away from it as well unless you intend to do a LOT of tree training. That thing grows worse than a red delicious, every branch it throws want to grow for the sky and get big really quick. I'm talking you'd need to be using tooth picks or cloths pins, then spreaders, then tie it down.

As far as Bud 9...........well, i've got close to 50 acres on that root with another 20 going in next spring. Its a good root for virgin soil with a moderate to high vigor scion like a gala or fuji, but I'd stay away from it if you have light ground or a weak scion like a honeycrisp or in a replant situation. Needs irrigation for sure. I'm less familiar with the Geneva rootstocks, we just planted a handfull of HC on g30 this year and so far they seem to be growing very good for as small of a tree as they were (3/8-1/2").
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:34 PM
qdmohio qdmohio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesternNY View Post

I've been looking at this link for the last few days, actually, and have found some really good stuff. Haven't visited all the links yet, though.

Quote:
b9 is the work horse of tall spidle, 3 foot or 4 foot spacing depends on variety.. like fuji prefers 4 vs 3. Drip irrigation is needed due to the close proximity.

I don't have experience with drip irrigation, is that something that is just dripping constantly or is it on a timer or something? We have a very limited water supply from our well, so normally when I water my trees I do it via water caught in rain barrels from my roof gutters. This new orchard will be about 100 yards downhill from my rain barrels. I was thinking of attaching a regular water hose to the spigot at the bottom of the barrel, running it down to what will be 2 short rows of tall spindle trees, then having a connection there where I can attach 2 different "soaker" water hoses that slowly seep out water and stake them out on my 2 rows of trees. Then I would open the spigot on the rain barrel and let it gravity feed down to the soaker hoses and let them do their work. Sound like that would be okay? Do you do any fertilizing the 1st or 2nd year?

Quote:
Staking/supporting the tree.... there are different methods, you will see them in the link above. The trelis wire IMO is the way to go.. it make is easy....

I was looking at the picture you posted and trying to figure out how you have those trellis wires attached to your end post? Do you have a different picture that shows that in detail?

I'm a little stumped on how those u-hooks attached to the wire really keep the tree and secure from moving around too much. Seems like those hooks sit rather loosely on the trellis wire and would move around a lot....

Also, what are the crimps and crimping tool for?
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:50 PM
qdmohio qdmohio is offline
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Quote:
1. G30 needs to be spaced 6-7'x15' in my opinion. Tall spindle might work on heavy bearing scions, like Liberty or empire, but I wouldnt try it. I have an acre of g30 on a 3 wire trellis, but i intend on letting permanent branches form. The trellis is important due to g30 early heavy production. It also keeps the trees straight and I can tie varieties that poor genetic branch angles.

Same for G935 as G30, just too big for that 3-4x12-13 spacing for tall spindle? Do you have any experience with G935, and if so how do you like it compared to G30?

Quote:
3. The way you prune. The tall spindle eliminates longer branches. I, like many, have a hard time removing productive wood. When they get too long, impeding machinery in the row, or fruit touches the ground. I cut them back to a dutch cut, but i otherwise let them go. Tall spindle doesnt work on tip bearing varieties imo.

By the time a branch gets so long that you would need to prune it back a bit, are you probably going to be taking it completely out anyway because of the "remove the 2 biggest branches each year" rule for tall spindle pruning?

Quote:
4. For a 50' row, i would still use wire. If you insist on t- post, use a 10 footer. The conduit will bend over under fruit load if not supported near the top.

My 2 rows will only have about 5-6 trees each in them, so we're only talking about a 15-20 foot long row. Where do you get 10' t-posts? I called Tractor Supply and Rural King locally and the tallest each of them have or can get is 8'.

Quote:
5 some varieties do not require tying. Liberty, fuji, gala. Some benefit from a small amount of tying..honeycrisp comes to mind. Some its essential, like state fair..man that one is stubborn.

Are you saying that Liberty does not require tying because it is such a productive cultivar, on precocious dwarfing rootstocks that the weight of the fruit in year 2 will "tie" the limbs down nicely without needing to manually tie or wire down the limbs the 1st year?

Quote:
6 i rarely have to water here on the coast of Maine. I would mulch them well and run drip tape on them and keep an eye on them.

Do you do any special fertilizing the first 2 years to really get the trees going, or do you just let them have whatever nutrients are already in the ground and/or with your manure/compost mix you add in when you plant?

Quote:
7. Put the liberty on g11, g30 or m26. Bud 9 doesnt work.The rest look ok.I would substitute pristine for topaz to get some summer apples...so mother can make you some applesauce!

Are you just talking about because Liberty is so productive that it will runt out a b9 rootstock? Seems like I've seen you reference that elsewhere. You don't think it would do that on g11? I've got a Goldrush tree on g11 (had it, actually, it broke off in the storm) that was wildly productive, way, way more so than an Enterprise tree on b9 just 20 feet away, same age and planted same year. Maybe Enterprise is just a shy bearer at first and Goldrush is the opposite? I've got Goldrush trees on m111 that have given me several hundred apples already and same age Enterprise trees on m111 that have given me none to date. What about g16 for Liberty?
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:59 PM
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Drip irrigation question. Yes rain barrels up hill will be fine, you just need enough garden hose to reach. Buy a basic set for dirty water like this one
http://www.irrigationdirect.com/grav...water-starter/

Just make sure you get the right length kits.

End lines and crimpers... I can take pics.. but here are some pics I took at Maya's Orchard last year..





At one end you bring it around the end post crimp the lines together and staple it on the end post, then staple along the support posts.. at the other end you take a short wire loop it around post, crimp, staple, then that end and the end from the other post goes on a tensioner. You racket it tight.

U clips.... they are tight and easy... look here
http://www.peachridge.com/trellis/treetie.htm

you put one end on first then around the tree then on the wire... the tension on the ends of the u clip puts pressure on the wire.. it doesn't slide easy.

I will take better pics this week for you
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