jakuehl
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Would like to plant a honeycrisp apple tree in Wisconsin

I live in Wisconsin (Zone 4) and LOVE honeycrisp apples. I'm thinking of planting a tree, and wondering if anyone knows how it will do in this zone. Our soil has lots of clay in it unfortunately. Is there a particular variety of honeycrisp that might do better than others? Also, any tips on where to buy or order would be appreciated.

TheLorax
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Wonderful choice. I planted one a few years ago and it's doing just fine. I amended the soil and planted the ball about 3" above grade then mulched heavily. It is my intent to purchase another Honeycrisp but I haven't gotten around to locating an online nursery to order one. Please know I am in zone 5 not 4 so I'm not in a position to share with you how it would fair up a little bit further north.

Honeycrisp is a hybrid of Macoun and Honeygold. There is only one variety out there.

editing to add correction per MaineDesigner-
"They now think 'Keepsake' was one parent but are unsure of the other parent."
Last edited by TheLorax on Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MaineDesigner
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Honeycrisp was developed by the University of Minnesota and does very well in the Upper Midwest. It performs best in cold climates. Your high clay content soil, however, may be a problem as apples tend not to like "wet feet". Depending on how poorly drained your soils are I might opt to create a berm eight feet or more in diameter and six to nine inches above the surrounding soil level above the surrounding soil level at the center and plant in the center of that berm. Apples are only self-pollinating to a very limited extent so you would do well to select a a different apple variety that blooms at the same time to plant near by. Crab apples will also work.
You also face a choice of rootstocks as apple trees are all grafted. They do not come true from seed. Non-dwarfing rootstocks like Antonovka will result in the the best anchored, longest lived (all else being equal), most drought and cold resistant trees but they will also be the slowest to start bearing. Fedco and St Lawrence Nurseries are two good suppliers that offer trees only on non-dwarfing rootstocks. For dwarf rootstock trees you might try Cummins Nursery. Sometimes garden centers offer apple trees on mystery rootstocks, avoid these. The choice of rootstock is just as important as the choice of apple variety. Whatever rootstock you choose your apple tree(s) will need to be pruned annually once they start bearing. You will probably also need to do some spraying to produce presentable looking apples but there are organic sprays that are fairly effective. See Michael Phillips' book The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist. Apple trees grow best in full sun.
For a second apple variety you might look into Sweet 16 (another U of M introduction), Black Oxford (an heirloom apple from Maine), King David, King of Tompkins County, Golden Russet or perhaps one of the newer disease resistant apples like Liberty.

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I'll second TheLorax's description as a wonderful choice. There's nothing like a honeycrisp apple fresh off of the tree. There's no problem with hardiness, I'm in zone 4 and mine is doing just fine.

MaineDesigner
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Lorax, the U of M has corrected the record on Honeycrisp's parentage. Based on their nursery records from the 1960s they did think that it was the cross you list but subsequent DNA testing as disqualified both varieties. They now think 'Keepsake' was one parent but are unsure of the other parent.

TheLorax
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Say, I had to remove several cherries from my small hobbyist orchard last year. I'm done with most cherries until a neighbor removes their ornamentals that have black knot. Have space to add 6 more fruiting trees. What would you suggest in addition to another Honeycrisp for me to increase fruit set? Not interested in a crabapple and would prefer a good tasting apple as opposed to one for baking or preserving. I will also be planting another Reliance and possibly another Contender Peach. Was considering a RedHaven? I obviously don't want to deal with winterkill and need peach varieties that have blossoms that can make it through spring freezes.

two new apples, two or three new peaches, and that leaves me space for one more. I'm leaning toward another Pear. Forgot which ones I have out there now. I have 4 different Pear varieties out there as well as a few disease resistant plums and a few disease resistant cherries. Forgot the Pawpaws and a host of other fruiting trees.

MaineDesigner
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Lorax, with the disclaimer that this just reflects my taste and my experience here are few things I'd look into:
Pears - Seckel, small fruit, one of the most fire blight resistant pears, great flavor.
Dana Hovey aka Dana's Hovey sometimes called the Winter Seckel. Very similar but bears later (October here in New England) and keeps longer.
Magness, a Seckel x Comice cross. It also has fairly good disease resistance
Apples - to the short list already provided add Westfield-Seek-No-Further and if you like strong and unusual flavored apples you might try Wickson or MN447.
Peaches are an up-an'-die tree here. It is rare to get more than fifteen years out of a peach tree here but Red Haven is the best cold climate peach I'm aware of.
I avoid Prunus species as we just have too many disease problems so I can't help you there.
Out on the fringe Cornus mas is a nice looking small tree and fruit is said to be edible. Amelanchiers (they taste like a very bland blue berry and you'll have to fight the birds for them) are another lovely small tree.
The biggest caveat is growing conditions. I'm in cool summer region where temps above 85F are quite rare and it commonly drops into the upper 50s at night even in July. A warm summer 5b climate may not be conducive to these suggestions

TheLorax
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Seckel is a pear I had thought about adding here once. You just pushed me over the edge. Dana's Hovey I'm not familiar with but definitely worth checking into if it keeps longer.

Yes, Prunus spp. are plagued by diseases around here too. Hence the loss of three cherries and two plums by my own hand last year. Might as well remove them.

Where would I purchase a Westfield-Seek-No-Further Apple? I'll just go with your suggestion because I liked the description you provided. Saves me time researching and you obviously know what you're talking about. If I lose it because of our warmer climate, sobeit. Won't be the first time I've lost a tree and most assuredly won't be the last.

Cornus mas I've never grown and really don't have any place to stick one of those however I do have quite a few native serviceberries worked into the landscape. I do like those very much. Have never tasted the fruit because as you noted, the birds always beat me to it. Have you any elderberries? Birds always beat me to those too.

I take it you have an orchard too. What varieties are you growing? Have you had any luck with Manchurian apricots? I lost all of mine and never could determine where I went wrong.

MaineDesigner
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I'm a little vague on whether or not this permitted behavior but here are some links (I have no association other than as a customer with any of these):
Fedco [url]https://www.fedcoseeds.com/trees/TreesList.php?TreeName=[/url]
I note that they are no longer taking 2008 orders but there is lots of useful information if you click on the cultivar names.
Cummins Nursery [url]https://www.cumminsnursery.com/index.html[/url]
Dr James Cummins was one of the researchers involved in developing the Cornell-Geneva apple rootstocks. They are a bit of pain to order from but are one of the few sources for C.G. grafts and really nice people.
Two more that have zero experience with but have extensive offerings and informative websites:
Virginia Vintage Apples [url]https://www.vintagevirginiaapples.com/index.html[/url]
Big Horse Creek Farm [url]https://www.bighorsecreekfarm.com/default.htm[/url]

There is a large apple orchardist community here in Maine so I've had the chance to try quite a number of the heirloom apples. I suggest you start reading the descriptions and see what leaps out at you. Crispness matters considerably to me so apples on my list are all crisp. I also tend to like apples that have some degree of scab and/or fireblight resistance. Many of the russet apples seem to have touch of extra insect and disease resistance as do 'Black Oxford' and 'King David'. I have not had many of the new highly disease resistant apples ('Liberty', 'GoldRush', 'Prima', 'Enterprise',...) and the ones I have had have been good but not wonderful.

Not all are producing yet but I have a 'Dana Hovey' pear, several old pears I think are 'Bartletts', a 'Red Haven' peach, 'Westfield-Seek-No- Further', a 'Black Oxford', a 'Honeycrisp', a 'Roxbury Russet', a 'Stoke Red' (bitter-sharp cider apple), a 'Wickson', a 'Golden Russet', a 'MN447' and suspected 'Milden', 'Red Spy', 'McIntosh' and couple of other complete mysteries. I hope to add a 'Dabinett' (bitter-sweet cider apple), 'King David', a 'Magness' pear on OHxF 87, and maybe a 'Belle de Boskoop' or 'Smokehouse' baking apple but I'm running out of room.
Last edited by MaineDesigner on Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheLorax
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Virginia Vintage has the Seckel and the Westfield-Seek-No-Further. They also have that Black Oxford you like. I may try that but still poking around.

Cummins has Honeycrisp. I definitely want another one of those.

This nursery has the Reliance, Contender, and the RedHaven-
https://www.acnursery.com/acn_pricesheet.php
You know anything about them?

Checked my notes; I have a Buerre Bosc, Kieffer, Bartlett, and Moonglow. The Seckel would be a nice addition.

The apples I think I have are; CandyCrisp, Granny Smith, Yellow Delicious, and two others possibly Winesap and a Rome?

Hanging in out there would be my NorthStar Cherry, Montmorency, Stella, Bing, and Lapin. I've already had to prune out and burn infected branches on a few of them. Odds are good I will take them all down and replace them with completely different varieties by just flat out giving up on cherries for a while. Should probably try a Formosa but sort of tired of getting burned in the Cherry department. Way too many ornamental red cedars in the area to even be considering cherries any longer.

Santa Rosa plums are holding up nicely to the black knot. I have removed every other plum variety. Might consider a President which is allegedly black knot resistant. Have also been told to consider a Shiro.

All in all I have just over 25 fruit trees of assorted pome and stone after removing several cherries and plums last year. Getting a real bad taste in my mouth for cherries particularly with these nice really rainy springs we've been getting lately. Part of me wants to throw in the towel while another part of me keeps saying just try one more. This just try one more deal is getting me in trouble.

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