Michael Journey

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since Sep 24, 2015
Western WA (Zone 8B - temperate maritime)
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Recent posts by Michael Journey

Hi Fiera:

To answer your question, I agree with Greg above.  In a word- no.

Perhaps you've heard the old saying that you "plant pears for your heirs".  Pear trees are often slow to do much following the first few years after planting.  Thereafter their pace picks up.  A wise old orchardist once described the growth pattern of a pear tree to me as "sleep, creep, leap".  Without knowing the exact dwarf rootstock your pear is on, it's still safe to say that your tree will fruit sooner that if it was on standard rootstock.  Dwarf rootstock trees won't live as long as standard rootstock trees but you probably don't care if your pear tree is still alive in 150 or 200 years!  

Your picture shows leaf buds.  Once your tree starts to spur or form fruit buds you'll know you're getting close.

Leaf bud on the left, fruit bud or spur on the right:

6 months ago
I agree with Scott.  Make sure your newly planted trees are watered in well and that's about all there is to it.  Assuming you purchased your trees from a nursery somewhere in our region, they've already been surviving our winter temperatures before being planted in your yard.

Happy growing!

8 months ago
I agreed with Sonja- I was raised by parents who taught me to buy the highest quality tool available and then care for and maintain that tool religiously.  Quality will provide a lifetime of use.  Thereafter you can pass on said tool to your grandchildren.  My version of sustainability I suppose and counter to mainstream cheap import throw away production.

I also agree with Ben.  Samurai saws are superb.  In fact my fixed blade saws are Samurai and they are top notch.

Bill, something else to consider aside from the speed of cut from a quality saw.  That is the saws we're talking about provide a very clean cut.  Essentially no raggedness at the periphery of the cut which heals smoothly.  I belong to the fruit tree "winter prune for architecture, summer prune for size" school of thought.  So for the past month or two I have been cleaning up tree architecture in my orchard.  In wandering amongst my trees and looking at branch removal cuts from prior years made with these saws, every single one is a nice uniform well healed callus at the branch collar.

Not trying to spend your money Bill, just a little more food for thought.

8 months ago

Bill Weible wrote:Hello, I am back with a hopefully simple question...what is the best short blade (10 inches or less) pruning saw?  Especially the folding kind.  I will be doing a limited amount of pruning.    I will have more pruning questions and new pictures before too long.  Thanks, Bill

Hi again Bill.  Pruners, saws, orchard ladders... is a bit like asking your favorite brand of truck, chainsaw, underwear, etc.  Sort of the Felco vs. Bahco hand pruner routine.  Anyway, I've tried multiple saws over the past decades and my personal favorite is the Silky Professional Series (GomBoy) folding saw.  More expensive than your typical Home Depot offering but built to last a lifetime with a guarantee to match.  I have several of these saws in our orchards and they hold up to heavy use year after year and retain their super sharp edge very, very well.  I like Silky Pro folders but YMMV.

8 months ago
First a disclaimer.  My main interest and focus are fruit trees, primarily apple trees, particularly heirloom cultivars.  My root stock preference for apple trees is standard or semi-vigorous options such as M111 or B118.  My glacial till soil is listed as "sandy loam" by our local conservation district but my wife and I joke that "very rocky sand" would be a more accurate descriptor.  The vigorous rootstocks tend to perform better for me here but YMMV.

As above, Burnt Ridge is a staple of mine as well.  I have also been pleased with Raintree Nursery.  Raintree prices are a little higher than Burnt Ridge but I've found that the caliper of bare root trees from Raintree are larger than what I typically receive from Burnt Ridge, likely explaining the price difference.  Both nurseries are located in SW WA.

I have used Hoffman's (Puyallup) heavily but sadly Mr. Bob Hoffman died a few years ago and the nursery closed.  Bob was a great contributor to western WA fruit tree societies so I wanted to take a moment to send kudos his way.

I've had good luck with One Green World (Portland) as well but have not used them as often due to the rootstock options they offer on their apple trees (primarily dwarf).

A couple of other west coast options for you.  I've been pleased with everything I've received from Trees of Antiquity (CA), particularly for difficult to obtain heirloom cultivars.  They offer very nice large caliper bare root trees (the majority of which are on M111).  Last I'll mention Bay Laurel Nursery (CA).  I've ordered dozens of fruit trees from them over the years and they've all been very nice, large caliper trees.  I think Bay Laurel sources their trees straight from Dave Wilson as the latter is in the same area.

We're fortunate to have many great choices here on the left coast!

9 months ago

Trace Oswald wrote:

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:With a tree that small, It'd be really easy to start over with something healthier.

This is my thought as well.  You could graft it and try all sorts of heroic measures to save it, but it will never be as healthy as a tree that did well on it's own without your help.  If it isn't thriving, I would take it out and plant a new tree.

Yes, I'm with you two also.

Sally, unless your struggling tree is a harder to obtain cultivar or an heirloom variety of some sort I wouldn't personally spend a lot of time grafting a cutting from this tree.  Like yourself, I'm a fair hand at grafting fruit trees but it still seems to be a hit and miss proposition.  It's your tree and time of course but this is bare root tree season in WA.  You're in SW WA.  It would be fairly simple and relatively inexpensive to purchase a bare root replacement tree from one of the local nurseries down there such as Raintree or Burnt Ridge.

Plant the replacement bare root apple tree in a happier spot and you'll be eating apples from it before you know it!  :-)

9 months ago
Hi James:

Depending upon where you located here in western WA, you may want to check in with one of the chapters of the WCFS.  I belong to the Olympic Orchard Society and several members of the OOS are big cider makers.  If you're not familiar with them already, WCFS would be a good resource for.


10 months ago
Hi Kaleb:

What you seek are apple cultivars grown on, or grafted on to, standard, seedling or Antonovka rootstock.  Standard/Seedling/Ant rootstock will produce a full sized, vigorous, long lived tree.  These terms (standard, Antonovka) seem to be used interchangeably at times.

I'm not sure where you are located but as an example, an east coast US supplier of standard rootstock is Fedco.  They also have a nice selection of heritage apple cultivars on almost exclusively standard rootsock:  https://www.fedcoseeds.com/trees/malus-antonovka-rootstock-268

10 months ago
Another western WA nursery that has N Gift is Raintree nursery.  I've ordered Nikitas Gift trees from both Burnt Ridge and Raintree.  The trees from Raintree were larger than those from Burnt Ridge both in terms of height and caliper, likely accounting for the price difference.



I'm maritime west coast so I'm familiar with the nurseries in my "neighborhood".  There may be a source of this cultivar closer to home for you Al.

1 year ago

Andrea Locke wrote:I bought some Antonovka seeds for planting as I am intrigued by having read that they are one of the only apples that will come true from seed. I gather that outside the permie community they are primarily used as rootstock in most parts of the world, although there seems to be a whole apple industry based on them in some parts of eastern Europe.

Anyone out there familiar with their eating qualities, not just as rootstock? What did you think of them?

Hi Andrea:

I've had them and they were OK.  Somewhere in the so-so to good range (typical in my experience for early ripening apples).  They wouldn't make my top 10 favorite variety list but again not bad for an early apple.  Yes, as you mentioned, ANT is one of my preferred rootstocks as it is deep rooted and drought resistant, both qualities of which are desirable for me here in the rain shadow region of the PNW.  Your neighbors are growing them (Salt Springs Apple Co.).  Here is their description:


- Michael
1 year ago