Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Apple sions and rootstock.

The M26 rootstock has come today (thanks plantsman and grower)  and I will take them to the allotment to pot them up.  I got this rootstock because I wanted to grow espaliers larger than just three branches on either side.  You can't really take M9 rootstock any higher than this and expect good crops.

I have potted up all the bare rooted rootstocks now using large pots and sieved good garden soil.  I haven't used any amendments at all.  My thinking is, that I want the apple tree roots to acclimatise to my garden soil and not restrict themselves to some nutrient rich growing medium.  I have found that it takes a long time for pot grown plants to grow out of their pot compost and into the surrounding soil when planted out because they are exploiting the relatively high levels of nutrient found in composts. As the root stock is bare rooted they should adapt to the garden soil in the pots quickly and then grow out into my allotment soil because it will be similar to the pot soil.

I will use the two M9 rootstock to graft to cordon trees but I am not sure which varieties I will use for these.  Maybe the modern varieties.

I just learnt how to make a good grafting cut.  You keep your wrist and lower arm straight and then make like you are going to elbow someone by the side of you.  You get good straight cuts when you do this rather than the scooped ones that I usually do.

These are the sions I have. I have put them into a plastic bag and buried them.  I am hoping that they will survive.

James Grieve (1893) bred in Scotland long keeping
Greensleeves (1966) can leave on tree until October and eat but does not keep.
Egremont russet (1872).  A cheap tree I got for £5.
Braeburn (1950) Keeps for about three months.  Ripens in November in UK so will store till February at least.
Saturn (1980) a modern apple that does not store but ripens in August and can be eaten straight from the tree.
Two others which I don't know the name of yet but will identify them when they fruit.
I am not using the Ribston Pippin for sions  this year because it did not produce very much wood last year.

These are the sions that I would like to get at the moment. I am going to ask Steven Hayes if he could supply these sions from his orchard.  If he will send me these, I will not graft the modern varieties this year. I would rather not use the Braeburn sion at all because it is a warm climate apple and would not do very well in the English climate.  I think that all these are spur bearing apples and will prune to espalier or cordon quite well.  I would rather graft named sions rather than unknowns.
Norfolk Royal (1905)
Pitmaston Pineapple(1561)
King of the Pippins(1770s)
Court Pendu Plat (1613)
Sturmer Pippin (1800s)
Golden Reinette (1600)
Blenheim Orange. (1740)

I am pruning the Peregrine peach to fan in the Spring so I will use the cuttings to graft onto two St. Julien A rootstocks that suckered from the plum.

I am looking forward to grafting the heritage trees this season.  I will do all the grafting under glass and leave them in pots until I can see some growth.  However, I will not be grafting until March.  They may be planted out in the final positions in late Spring but I have no problem with leaving them in their pots until next autumn.  I am planting the rootstock in quite large pots today.

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