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Thread: Triploid Fruit Trees

  1. #9
    FB.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yummersetter View Post
    It's a nuisance that quite a few of the diploids I've planted are biennial
    I've been wondering whether diploids may generally be more biennnial because they tend to produce more and larger seeds. Seeds are far more of a drain on the tree than the fruit flesh, so a fertile diploid may well put so much effort into the pips in one season that it has to have a year off to recover.

    Triploids, with their lower fertility and tendency to produce fewer but larger fruits and with sparse/absent/deformed/stunted pips therefore seem likely to not be exhausting themselves and the soil. Perhaps this tendency to not deplete the soil of nutrients so quickly is what gives triploids and edge in longevity and adds an additional boost to disease resistance due to the soil being less drained of nutrients.
    Presumably the lower nutrient requirements of triploid fruits (due to lower quality seed) also allow the triploid somewhat more resources for extra growth each year, in addition to fruiting. Perhaps this goes part way to explaining the tendency for triploids to be larger trees, whereas the fertile diploids and tetraploids are more nutrient-hungry due to greater viable seed count.

    For example, the very fertile diploids "Beauty of Bath" and "Spartan" are known for being quite hungry plants, with a reputation requiring heavy quantities of potassium in order to remain productive. This is, no doubt, due to high fertility causing lots of pips which need lots of feeding.
    For me, most diploids are completely biennial: heavy crop of small fruit in one year, then no crop at all the next year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FB. View Post
    I can't say that I'm a fan of Hessayon. The book is OK as a starter, but I think that Hessayon has an obsession with "spray, spray and spray some more" and also lacks an appreciation of the way different varieties, soils and climates interact.
    The book also writes off vigorous rootstocks as "too big" (not true in many dry, chalky Eastern areas when unsprayed!) and only discusses common and popular varieties - failing to mention many of the excellent old varieties.
    It's very much a book of its times, i.e the previous century. p50 (in my copy) has a spraying programme (which is basically spray, spray, spray). It was the first fruit book I purchased, and for such a small book I think it really packs in an amazing amount of detail, and covers, albeit fleetingly, almost every aspect of fruit-growing. I only recently noticed that its apple catalogue even includes a colour shade to aid identification.

    I think a copy of this, along with the Michael Phillips Apple Grower (which is completely organic) and the RHS pruning and training guide will take you a long way in top-fruit growing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by orangepippin View Post
    I think a copy of this, along with the Michael Phillips Apple Grower (which is completely organic) and the RHS pruning and training guide will take you a long way in top-fruit growing.
    I think using forum boards such as this to talk to experienced growers in your local area goes even further!
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  4. #12
    yummersetter is offline Rooter
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    I planted the Suntan 22 years ago so may have known it was a triploid and forgotten. The number of triploids around it might excuse, but it's been disappointing, very few flowers for about 12 years, never really had more than a minor crop and they're not memorable apples. No disease problems though.
    There are a score or so diploid trees in the same acre but the one which seems most vital is the James Grieve. When that doesn't flower, or is affected by bad weather, we get poor fruit set in about 8 surrounding trees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yummersetter View Post
    the one which seems most vital is the James Grieve. When that doesn't flower, or is affected by bad weather, we get poor fruit set in about 8 surrounding trees.
    I think that humans have inadvertently selected many old varieties which happen to be triploid. I therefore think that the reports of "erratic cropping" are because people are planting a known triploid, then trying to pollinate with a variety which is assumed to be diploid but is actually also triploid or aneuploid. Pollination is therefore poor unless bees happen to bring in pollen from elsewhere - and this bringing-in of pollen will be random and variable - hence the "erratic" cropping often reported in triploids and certain other varieties.

    I think that in many apple collections, just one or two trees do all the pollinating - and when those key varieties aren't flowering, the whole orchard's crop is affected.

    Another thing regarding pollen:
    Not all varieties produce as much good pollen as others, and even if they do produce lots of viable pollen, they will not be good pollinators for varieties to which they are closely related.

    While on the subject of James Grieve: I'm surprised that you've managed to keep James Grieve going in your relatively damp climate - I'm in a relatively dry area, but in this abnormally cold, dull, wet spring I lost my James Grieve (and Egremont Russet) to a sudden and massive attack of canker. My other varieties being completely unaffected.
    Last edited by FB.; 12-07-2012 at 01:23 PM.
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    When it comes to pollinators, I would be especially cautious of the ancient varieties which have been handed-down through the generations (e.g. Ashmead's Kernel c1700, Coeur de Boeuf c1200, Norfolk Beefing c1600, Ribston Pippin c1700). I think that a very large proportion of those ancient varieties have survived through the ages because they are resilient triploids (or aneuploid) and as a consequence are therefore of dubious value as a pollinator.

    Some varieties which I would shortlist as useful pollinators, subject to having enough disease resistance for certain areas (even some of these may turn out to be triploid or aneuploid, so I take no responsibility for anyone using the list below!):

    It must be remembered that related varieties will often be poor pollinators

    All the following should be good pollinators, but it does depend somewhat on the variety they're trying to pollinate and how closely related they are.

    So I'll make three groups:

    1. Varieties very likely to be a satisfactory to excellent pollinator for almost every variety:

    Beauty of Bath 1,4
    Tydeman's Early Worcester 24,25
    Discovery 1,24
    James Grieve 8,9
    Worcester Pearmain 2,24


    2.
    Varieties likely to be a satisfactory pollinator for most varieties.

    Ellison's Orange 1,5 (Biennial)
    Braeburn 9,24
    Irish Peach 1,1
    Jonathan 7,9
    Katy (Katya) 5,24
    Spartan 9,10 (Biennial)
    Laxton's Superb 5,16 (Biennial)
    Tydeman's Late Orange 9,16 (Biennial)


    3.
    Varieties which can be good pollinators, but which are part of large "families" bred from the same variety and where incompatibility problems may occur:

    Falstaff (and all Falstaff variants) 2,5
    Fiesta 3,5 (Biennial)
    Gala 2,5
    Greensleeves 2,5
    Golden Delicious 2,3
    Kidd's Orange Red 5,9
    Lord Lambourne 2,5




    If I had to choose a few varieties to meet the need for "this one tree is not particularly prone to disease and is a compatible partner for as many varieties as possible and isn't too prone to biennial flowering", it'd probably be:
    Tydeman's Early Worcester, Discovery, or Beauty of Bath.
    Last edited by FB.; 12-07-2012 at 02:09 PM.
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  7. #15
    yummersetter is offline Rooter
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    Well, I've done a back of envelope head count and in the old orchard there are 18 triploids and 19 diploids, plus 6 unknown of which I reckon 3 are triploid. I replanted about 20 trees in the 1990s, the rest are antiques. Of the diploids only 4 are totally biennial, but some of the others are Cox and offspring. I didn't know 4 of the replants were triploids, or that 60% of the old trees were. I did plant Blenheim, Egremont Russet and Jupiter knowingly and with pollinators alongside, mainly a huge old Beauty of Bath.
    The James Grieve is the last survivor of 3 planted in the 1920s and doesn't have much canker though it would be hard to spot small amounts through the lichens, maybe they're a barrier. On the other two the trunk bark rotted away on the northern side. I'm hoping prevailing winds will keep your canker blowing into the North Sea, not towards the west

    edited to correct 'I did plant Blenheim, Egremont Russet and Jupiter ' to 'Blenheim, Ribston Pippin and Jupiter' Slap fingers!
    Last edited by yummersetter; 13-07-2012 at 10:31 AM. Reason: idiocy

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    Because I'm new to your writings, could you explain the numbers after the varieties?

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