We ordered our apple trees custom-grafted from Adams County Nursery in PA. We choose scab-immune varieties (Galarina, Querina, and Crimson Topaz) grafted on Bud. 9 dwarfing interstem, which was grafted on MM111 rootstock. The MM111 rootstock provides an extensive root system with good anchorage and drought tolerance, while the interstem keeps the tree smaller. If the varieties were grafted just on Bud. 9 rootstock, the resulting dwarf trees would be less well-anchored so would need staking, and the smaller root system would need more irrigation and fertilizer.
These 3-part trees have extensive root systems, so need large planting holes. We start digging these holes using a tractor-mounted auger. After Bill uses the auger, I follow up with a hand shovel to enlarge the holes and break up the sides which the auger left slick, so the roots can grow out without impediment.
|Bill started digging planting holes with a soil auger. Some of the trees to be planted are in the bucket, soaking in water to keep the roots moist.|
Our peach orchard reached full bloom on March 16, which is quite early, but no frosts are in the forecast so far. We hope temperatures don't go below 27 F or so, which could kill all the young fruit as happened in 2007, but a light frost would provide needed fruit thinning. Without one, we'll have to do a lot of hand thinning.
|Our peach orchard was in full bloom late last week.|