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Sharing information learned from over 30 years of experience about plants, their care, soil requirements, successful establishment practices and beneficial relationship to wildlife is our primary purpose, however questions about products, root prune techniques and consulting services are welcome as well.  
Apple Tree Selection
Posted by: LarryM ()
Date: November 08, 2010 08:37PM

Here's a tough one. Which of your apple trees (or other fruit trees) would grow best in clay (northern WI).? I can't guarantee they wouldn't occasionally be wet after a heavy rain either. Any suggestions?
Thanks.

Larry

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Re: Apple Tree Selection
Posted by: cmorse ()
Date: November 09, 2010 05:04PM

Larry,
You need a very aggressive root system for clay soils. All dwarf and some semi-dwarf apple trees have root systems that were bred intentionally to have poor root systems. This is how they can control the size of the apple tree. These weak root systems have fragile/brittle roots that would not be able to penetrate clay soil. We use mostly B-118 which is an improvement from the old M-111, these root systems are used because they grow large trees that produce hundreds of pounds of apples and are not fussy about soil types including clay. You mention sometimes wet after a heavy rain, as long as it drains (no standing water) you should be OK. If it does not drain consider planting the fruit trees on mounds. I have done this in swamps with good success! Thanks for the questions Larry.

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Re: Apple Tree Selection
Posted by: cmorse ()
Date: December 07, 2011 08:23PM

Navara,
This is were I try to help people, by answering questions of just about everything related to growing plants for wildlife. Thanks for visiting.

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Re: Apple Tree Selection
Posted by: pridvtec ()
Date: February 18, 2012 11:45AM

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/21/2012 07:26AM by pridvtec.

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Re: Apple Tree Selection
Posted by: horaizon5 ()
Date: December 08, 2012 03:56PM

LarryM Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Here's a tough one. Which of your apple trees (or
> other fruit trees) would grow best in clay
> (northern WI).? I can't guarantee they wouldn't
> occasionally be wet after a heavy rain either.
> Any suggestions?
> Thanks.
>
> Larry


good information

Football

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Re: Apple Tree Selection
Posted by: cmorse ()
Date: December 08, 2012 11:16PM

Larry,
This is a good question and will help many customers select the right root system for clay soils. Many root systems for apple trees are dwarf and semi dwarf rootstocks that help the trees produce sooner and limit the size of the tree for easier harvesting of the fruit. These root systems are intentionally breed to have poor root systems; this is what dwarf’s the tree. These poor root systems are also brittle and are not able to penetrate clay soil. The trees don’t die right away but languish for several years before kicking the bucket. Apple trees when selecting for clay you MUST have a strong vigorous root system. I used mainly m-111 for years but have switched over to an improved root stock b-118 about five years ago. This rootstock b-118 is considered a semi-standard and is very strong; it produces a large tree that is self-supporting. Not only do you get the benefit of a tree that will grow in clay but also the large size is what you want for a “Deer Tree” as it will produce more apples. Apple trees need well-drained soil so I’m not sure what your soils are sometimes wet means. If you get standing water in the spring, that would not be a good choice for your apple tree location. However if you mean the clay holds water and appears wet and greasy in the spring, that is normal for clay and would be a good spot for the trees. Lastly, you’re in N. Wisconsin so you must use very cold hardy varieties like Snow sweet, Honeycrisp, Zestar, Wolfriver and Antanovka. We have supplied many customers in Zone 4 with trees over the years with very good results. Call me and I would be happy to go over the selection process with you. Thanks for the Questions Larry.

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