Sunday, October 25, 2015

Home Orchard Plans for 2016. 10.27.15

Raining today. 

Thinking about next year.  Replace some trees that died, and plan for a couple that might, and replace a couple of non-

Esopus Spitzenburg Apple
North Star Cherry.  2 years old.  Apparently voles.  There is no bark on the roots.
Big Asian Plum.  From the size and rings, at least 10 years old.  Apparently mining insects.  There were tunnels under the bark.

Honeycrisp on M27.  Karmijn on M27.  I think this rootstock is way to limiting, and the trees can't grow worth squat.  These are planted near each other, and can be replaced by one larger tree.  I can use the Honeycrisp for scion.
Indian Blood Peach.  Maybe 8 years, only 4 foot tall, no fruit set, ever.

I have 3 Hollywood Plum trees in containers, and one in-ground, started 2 years ago.  The container trees are larger due to TLC.
I have 1 Ember Plum, 8 foot tall whip, grafted onto Hollywood rootstock early 2015. 
I have potential scion sources, existing Toka plum, Hanska grafted onto on unidentified plum tree, Honeycrisp and Liberty apples on M27.
I have an unidentified plum grown as accidental cutting from the tree that died.  It's a good plum, large, meaty dark purple flesh.

Toka Plum.  Bark on trunk is highly damaged.  I don't know, by what.  I want to preserve the variety.  Use scion from existing tree,  on Hollywood Plum rootstock.

Montmorency Cherry
Plan.  Subject to change at any whim.

1.  Make a new Toka Plum, grafting from existing tree onto Hollywood Plum rootstock. 

2.   Move the unidentified plum cutting to a better location.  Maybe were the North Star Cherry died.

3.  Remove Indian Free Peach.  Replace with Surefire Cherry, new tree.

4.  Remove small Hollywood plum.  That one needs more TLC, transfer to container.  Replace with Ember on Hollywood rootstock.  I can  do that this fall.

5.  Make a Hanska Plum on Hollywood rootstock.  Grow in container to give it TLC until it is a good size.

6.  Buy scion for another plum variety - Superior?  Graft onto the 3rd Hollywood rootstock and give it TLC.

7.  Replace the M27 trees with Nadia Cherry / Plum hybrid.

8.  Try whip / tongue grafting to top work remaining branches of Almaden Duke cherry with Ranier and Lapin sweet cherries.  The T-budding didn't work so well.  A couple might have taken.  This tree has 2 rootstock suckers.  Maybe I should graft onto those, and cut down the original tree.

9.  I have the first apple that I grafted, but mixed the labels.  It is either Sutton's Best or Esopus Spitzenberg.  Either way, I can give that a try.  There is a second graft on that one, again mixed up.  Either Liberty or Jonagold.  I might graft onto that tree, a 3rd and 4th variety.  I can use the Honeycrisp, and might use scion from Fedco for another.

Hanska Plum
10.  I have rootstock, semidwarf but unsure which.  I can graft onto that and keep it in container for TLC.  Options, Pristine, which is early and very good, or something new from Fedco. 

11.  I think I will buy Sweet 16 from Burnt Ridge.   If so, it will need a location. 

12.  Oregon Curl Free Peach might also not make it.  The Peach Leaf Curl didn't kill it.  Canker might.  If so, I think this will be a good spot for a plum.  If  Toka doesn't make it, that will also be a spot for one of the new grafts getting TLC.

That seems like a lot.  I could easily use up the entire 2 acres, but I can't take care of that many.  This year I was not able to water enough, which might have contributed to a couple of deaths and some of the non-thriving trees.  Definitely Montmorency cherry and Saijo persimmon were stressed, but they look like they will make it.  The multigraft apples on the other side of the road, had very little watering but lived.  They are still young.  One is Chehalis + Akane + Jonagold + Summerred + Fuji, the other is the one described about with 2 semi-unknowns.

There is also a Jonagold on M27 in a flower border that contains 3 young columnar trees.  I think that will come out, and a new columnar that I grafted last year will replace it.

All images on this page are public domain, via U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.  They either illustrate varieties I have, or might obtain, or I used as general illustration for that species.  Illustrations are late 19th and early  20th centuries.


  1. Honestly, Daniel, all this sounds way too stressful! Are you sure you want to continue working so hard? I realize you get a lot of self-satisfaction out of doing what you do, and I'm very impressed, but whoa!, don't have a heart attack. In any case, good luck.

  2. Randy, thanks for the commend. You are right that having an orchard can be work. For me it means being outside and puttering, for the most part. The changes are not difficult - planting and grafting is easy. Watering and mowing is another matter, and that is where I need to be careful and not plant more than I can take care of.

    I think, once the trees have their roots deep into the ground, they don't need much watering. The oldest plum trees and the 3-year-old cherries were watered only once a month this summer, if that. So I am hoping that as other trees mature, they will also not need as much care.

    Also my long demanding hours as a corporate minion are drawing to a close early 2016. An hour in the yard isn't nearly as draining as 10 hours at work.

  3. I think in my case a lot of interests came in spurs and then it will died down and then the next subject that comes along and will take up most of the time. Orchids for instant which I have too many and now I let them go their ways. Now more alpine plants that looks like little micro moss, and sheep plants.
    Is like telling a father to love less, not going to happen. hahaha

  4. Lance, I'm the same way. One thing that I have learned is that each year can have it's theme. Or themes. So one year is the year of the tomato. Another is the year of the fig. This year appears to be the year of the daylilies, and the year of the squashes, and the year of the plums. Then, they settle out - I keep the best daylilies, and decide on the best squashes that I like the most, and keep those going next year. I think next year might be the year of the plum, again, and the year of the corn, and maybe the year of the daylily again. Or not.