The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Growing => Fruit => Topic started by: country soul on October 01, 2018, 12:31:59 pm

Title: apple trees
Post by: country soul on October 01, 2018, 12:31:59 pm
Hi  Everyone
a simple question  ..can I grow apple trees at 915 feet above sea level .the spot I have in mind is sheltered by a wood to the east  but we do get a  fair bit of wind and rain and snow when it is absent lower down the hill.
Title: Re: apple trees
Post by: Fleecewife on October 01, 2018, 06:24:17 pm
We are at 1000' and very windy and cold.  We can grow apples but it's borderline for altitude so only a few varieties, such as Blenheim Orange and some cookers crop well.  If you look through the catalogues you will find some varieties marked " suitable to grow in the north" so go for them. Buy from a nursery and phone the owners for advice. You also want varieties which flower late to miss the frosts on the blossom.  We lost a lot of the first trees we planted, mainly because our first years were unexpectedly cold and wet, which apples don't like.  This year with the early heatwave, we have more apples than we can eat.
Title: Re: apple trees
Post by: oor wullie on October 01, 2018, 06:34:58 pm
Well I've got a dozen planted 3 or 4 years ago at 280m on a north facing slope in the highlands.
They grow fine and this year I got a decent crop of apples (although the exceptional weather may have helped).

I have accepted the fact that a poor Spring might mean that some years we get nothing at all.  I have also carefully chosen the hardiest varieties I could find and have planted a strip of hazel and willow on the windward side to try and shelter them (shelter makes a big difference to how things grow, at least as much as anything else, even for grass).

So, yes you will be able to grow apples but not as easily as in softer areas.
Title: Re: apple trees
Post by: arobwk on October 02, 2018, 12:59:04 am
Good advice/experience has already been provided, but check out what others are growing in your area (successfully or otherwise!). 
Of course, also make sure you get a good mix of compatible varieties for pollination.
Title: Re: apple trees
Post by: country soul on October 02, 2018, 12:17:56 pm
thanks for the advise  everyone I ll go ahead and choose varieties with care.
Dare I ask about plums?
Title: Re: apple trees
Post by: oor wullie on October 02, 2018, 04:07:07 pm
Damsons are really hardy and should grow well.

Plums are probably like apples, choose carefully and you should get something.  This year I got a decent number of Opel but no Victoria (although that might be partly due to making a mess of pruning it last year).

My best apple varieties (so far) have been James Grieve, Coul Blush, Beauty of Moray and George Cave.
Title: Re: apple trees
Post by: pgkevet on October 02, 2018, 09:29:25 pm
I googled orchards at high altitude for some interesting hits. Best comment that made me chuckle;

"wind and pollinating insects do not go together.... if you do see any insects they tend to be traveling very fast"

Title: Re: apple trees
Post by: country soul on October 03, 2018, 12:56:20 pm
thanks for the damsons idea,,as for the insects  I saw a bee once swirling in the wind!!
Title: Re: apple trees
Post by: Fleecewife on October 03, 2018, 03:27:41 pm
For bees, the bumble variety, you need to create an appropriate environment for them.  Plant loads of flowers, not double ones, of all shapes and sizes (open daisy type flowers, tubes, antirrhinum types, herbs such as thyme and marjoram which colonise, garden geraniums, spring bulbs, ) and have willows which produce their pollen at varying times for the queens coming out early.  As I mentioned, we are high and extremely windy, but we have loads of bumble bees, but not usually honey bees, which I think can't take such high winds.  Windbreaks of hedges and trees, or green mesh, will help your fruit and your flowers by creating a local microclimate, which is a bit warmer, a bit less windy, and generally more conducive to plant growth.
Title: Re: apple trees
Post by: Healthyfarmgirl on December 26, 2018, 03:44:57 pm
This is a great author who wrote a lot about micro climates and high altitudes : Sepp Holzer from Austria. Really interesting and refreshing. He grows lots an lots of fruits.