The soil is clay, shallow hardpan, not the best. Huggel Kulture and swale was recommended, lots of top soil. All that is being planned.
I forgot a detail: winters average 32F but go down to -12F (-24C) with strong wind.
What do we need to do to increase survival chance of these fruittrees?
Are semi dwarf ok to live in such condition or full size is more resilient to cold?
So you pretty much 'live' in Albany, New York with UDSA Winter Hardiness of 5b.
Just make sure you pick cultivars/species that have that rating, aka no full size or dwarf citrus/figs/passionfruit for you.
Chill Hours = you don't have to worry about, you get enough.
Summer Heat = you also don;t have to worry about unlike say the PNW
Rainfall = you get about 4inches of rain per month, every single month so, no need to worry either
Soil = you have the same type of soil like alot of the eastern seaboard of USA, so not this ridiculous level of uniqueness.
Semi-Dwarf are perfectly fine for your soil and location and doesn't make much of a difference, the main thing to focus on is species and cultivar selection.
Ken like you I agree that non-grafted, full size, non-transplanted, seed grown, plants from open pollinated, locallandrace is the best. Esp if some STUN selection can be thrown in, hands down no arguments from me. But given the constraints of some people like myself, I think that given his zone 5b and atypical Albany, New York soil. Not much is going to be lost by going with the typical nursery sold grafted semi-dwarf plants that orchards use, and cultivar/species selection will have a 50x greater impact than semi-dwarf vs full size. Now if it was zone 3 I would put an even greater emphasis on plant size.
Staking might be considered at the time of planting.
Antonovka ( full size ) is very winter hardy. They come from Poland or Russia. They grow a large tree which will require pruning, but on the plus side they live for as long as twice as long as smaller trees. This rootstock along with the semi-full M111 don't need staking. The bigger rootstocks take longer to produce fruit for the first time.
Something else that I think needs consideration is what rootstock should be used on a slow growing tree. For instance, Honeycrisp is a slow grower, they also say it's hard to grow. I have one from Stark that's 4+ years old and I had one apple that dropped shortly after the fruit developed. It's a semi-dwarf, but I don't know which rootstock it's on. That's the reason I mention where it came from. Whatever they use is what rootstock it's on. I've never trimmed it for height. I'm thinking of cutting a scion off it and grafting it to an M111. I wonder if the slow growth rate is the reason they say it's hard to grow.
Check what St Lawrence nursery grows and sells trees in NY state, north of you. Here;s what they say about dwarfing and semi-dwarfing in zone 5 and lower:
"A well-pruned apple tree on Antonovka rootstock, when grown in Zones 3-5, will be equivalent to a "semi-dwarf" tree in size (10-12 feet at maturity), and it will have many advantages........"
Peaches, pears and cherries don't grow big trees, or so they say. I remember one when I was a kid in the fifties that was too big to climb. It was on empty land, I think the city owned it. I say this as I'd consider only growing those as full size trees. Let me tell a story.
I planted two peach trees. One a semi-dwarf 3 1/2 years ago, and a full size tree 2 1/2 years ago. The newer one was said to grow large peaches, my reason for planting the second peach. After 2 years the semi-dwarf produced 10 peaches. After 3 years it produced 10 peaches. The full size tree after 2 years produced 100 peaches, this year. We baked a pie, froze enough for 2 more pies and some peach pancakes. And we canned about a dozen pints of peaches.
My semi-dwarf Stella cherry produced a few cherries in the second spring, we got one, the birds got the rest. The next year it produced a few cherries, we got none, the birds got them all. I'm thinking next spring to cut 4 or so scions and graft enough trees that we can overwhelm the birds and get a few our ownselves. I also ordered a pie cherry scion which I plan on grafting to a full size rootstock and maybe double work a Stella cherry on the same rootstock??
Ken W Wilson
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
posted 2 months ago
I’m sure dwarf trees are fine in some locations. Most have not done very well for me.
I have either a Candy Crisp or a Honey Crisp on M111. I’ll have to check the variety. It is slow growing. It has been healthy and hasn’t needed staking. I also have a Wine Crisp on M111. I had to stake it, but that wasn’t the rootstocks fault. There was an incident with my friend’s wolf hybrid. It is doing fine though.M111 seems to be more dwarfing than I had expected, but I’m happy with them so far.
I’m glad to know that Antonovka can be easily kept around 12’. I have a seedling. I want to see how the fruit is ungrafted.
I read that as he was saying that any tree will be dwarfed by the climate. I also noticed that he said "A well Trimmed tree"
posted 1 month ago
Full tree is best.
Non tempered is more rugged.
Work will be done in two phases: improving soil will be done next year. Large scale. I think we'll mix that crazy soil with tons of compost.
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