Episode-1523- Kevin Hauser on Growing Apples in Hot Climates — 30 Comments

  1. I haven’t listened to the whole podcast and maybe this was answered later. But, if you can force the tree to fruit by taking the leaves off, could you make it fruit more than once per year?

    • No not really. They run annual cycles the leaf stripping just sort of triggers it. That is here anyway, in the tropics I do believe he said in a different interview they can get a crop like every 6-8 months.

  2. On your comment about source of apples. The golden delicious was a seedling from thirty miles from the Permaethos farm. it was a tree came up in the hay field near the family orchard. When the tree produced fruit the family mailed a few apples to stark brothers. Every golden delicious apple is derived from that one accidental tree.

  3. Jack, you may want to give your win shemer apples a chance. I planted one here in South Carolina, zone 7, and they were the best apples I have ever ate. It was like a golden delicious, but with more depth of flavor.

    Unfortunately a drunk guy rolled his truck and took out the tree and I haven’t found a replacement locally.

      • Yea it is why I considered saving one as well. You don’t know until you try.

        Besides in my urban forest area I planted a Dorset Golden, An Anna and a Ein Shemer in a small row together. Sort of a show case of the low chill varieties out of Israel. Well the tags were eaten by the geese off the Shemer and Anna and I can’t remember which is which of them anyway.

        • You’d know the moment you get an apple. ha. I have very much warmed up to an “urban food forest” plot showcase and will be working one in my design as well. I may follow your lead and use some of those super common ones as well.

          My Ein Shemer tree is just an embarrassment. It ALWAYS has fuzzy aphids on every single knuckle of that tree and is definitely shorter than all the rest. I guess if they want to go after that one so be it. It also may just be having a hard time adapting, no thanks to the fact our only fruit tree producer around here, produces the CRAPPIEST trees you’ve seen. Definitely providing the walmart/home depot stock.

        • I think the BEST thing to do if you have to get trees from a box store is go now, go as early in the year as possible.

          Those trees come from the same nurseries the ones we order direct and get bare roots from many times. The longer they sit in those pots the more root bound they become. I just got a few box store trees, they were not bad to untangle, I am sure two months from now, you’d see circling like mad.

          Right now they are digging trees, pruning, dropping in pots and shipping all inside a week. True a less pruned dormant bare root is better. But a tree property pruned and dropped in a pot less than a month ago, likely won’t be too bad.

  4. Good interview and great resource. I think what Kevin has going on is an example of just starting out small and building up and creating something of great value that is only going to get better with time. It didn’t take long for me to realize how much I loved his path and business model and am looking to do some replication in the future.

    Of course for the Gulf south.

      • I have not heard this one yet. I’ll listen to it now, now that I have finished this one.

        This definitely looks very very interesting. There is no way I can get away with doing what I’m looking at doing without setting up a propagation nursery. I just made a sweet deal on 44 (pretty much perfect) acres out here. So getting propagation en-mass going is going to be important. I really need to do what Kevin currently suggests with clonal propagation of M-111. I have like 30 roostocks still in my fridge, some of which I’ll graft to, but I’ll use a bunch of the others for propagation purposes.

        I am also going to be looking at trellising a dwarf rootstock apple. Even though I’m completely against patents, I may cave in and trial out the newer geneva ones because of their fire blight “immunity”. (I’m definitely afraid of fire blight wrecking havock on a long term orchard investment)

        I have absolutely no earthly idea which management technique is going to work out here so I’m going to try both and figure out the maintenance and the scalability of it down here because its going to be extremely critical I think. I bought these books to skim through for the important information I need.

        The New Cider Makers Handbook
        The Holistic Orchard
        The Apple Grower

        • Mike FWIW, I feel there is little to no value in dwarfing rootstock. A lot that I have is on it of some degree but that is because it is how it comes. But the disease resistance is very attractive.
          Most apples I graft myself will go on full sized seedling roots. Some antonovka some just any random pips. If I buy roots, (I may) then it will be the case that M111 size is as small as I will go.

          I also don’t agree with Kevin’s 10 foot spacing as a “requirement” pruners control a tree more than a root stock. I didn’t debate this as I asked his opinion and he gave just that, his opinion. I think he is right with the old caveat of you guessed it, it depends.

          In my cider orchard I may go “all Dave Wilson on it its ass” quotes because I just coined it. Dave has techniques like put 4 trees in one hole, train the whole mess to a 6 footish canopy. He sells a LOT of multi graft because people buy them but considers the 4 in one hole technique far superior.

          I am thinking 8×8 which will give me about 30 apples in the area but going well half Dave Wilson on its ass and doing two to a hole. In many other areas I am going to simply plant antonovka from seed and over graft with winners from the trials. Train one tree eastward and the second westward and increase diversity. Hell in time you can even “stake the trees to each other” creating counter balances.

        • Yeah I definitely agree about dwarf stocks. I don’t like the idea of trellising and all that kind of added nonsense. Now technically I have the capability to put in some good ones fairly easily since I have a high tensile fence gripple tool set and will be putting in trellis galore anyways for muscadines. But I am very open to real world realities of running a commercial orchard where scalability and time per tree is important.

          I have heard and intend on reading more, and asking a ton of questions, that the amount of time after year 5-7 of pruning something like M-111 takes more time and therefore money than it takes to train/handle dwarf rootstocks. I think this is a fairly easy experiment to conduct, it just takes some time to get to that point. Now of course I mean literally doing this on a larger commercial scale, not back yard but over hundreds and hundreds of trees. I am also worried about hurricanes, something I haven’t seen any effect of sense I’ve been here.

          Yeah I was a bit surprised by kevin’s statement about 10 foot spacings. Another thing I am interested in is doing dave wilson style open canopy on apples. I know Tom Spellman does, I’m guessing most if not all of, his trees this way. (Backyard orchard style). So I am curious how well it works for apples, en mass. You just can’t beat the ease of picking, providing good light, and maintenance of an open vase.(From what I’ve seen).

          I am interested in hearing your end results. I’ve got about a half dozen different experiments going right now. I am interested in trialing out the seedling crab apples around here as well. I grafted each of these one varieties I got onto the ones that pop up around my house. They seem to be quite hardy trees, especially in semi-shade (excellent for a broad acre silvopasture model).

          I planted my home apple orchard (east to west, don’t care about sunlight, they get enough) at 7 foot spacings within the row. I then gave each row 3 feet on each side of the tree for space, I put a 3 foot walkway, and then another row of the same, but staggered. So I measured 10 foot between rows, and 7 between trees. I could have gone smaller for sure, but for this area, I thought 7 feet works for me.

          Our cider test orchard is at 5 foot spacings (also east/west) with a small dirt road between the two rows. That way my friend can drive by with his tractor towing an IBC water tote, open up the valve, drive by and water them without having to get off the tractor.

        • If I had more (and better) land. I’d likely plant a full sized cider orchard on 2-4 acres, big trees, pruned like the old way. No branch lower then your head, thinned to where a bird can fly though but if you threw a cat through he’d grab a branch. I’d plant that all with antonovka from seed, over graft and rock on. I would put legumes, bushes, etc in between poly cultured but the over story would be full sized cider trees. I just don’t have the room so the intensive approach is what I have to do.

          Heck even with the same land, if I was in deep soils, I would do it differently.

        • That is another technique we are going to look at. My friend is used to shaking trees onto tarps and picking them up for cider. But for some reason even cider orchards are going the intensive route. I’m not sure I get it. More apples per square foot? Definitely. Easier to harvest and maintain? I’m not sure.

          One thing that is really cool about cider development is the ease of trialing out new varieties. You can basically make half gallon batches of anything you want en-mass in different combinations with different yeasts trying to find the right stuff. Rather than beer where the smaller the batch the more of a pain.

        • I think the biggest reason is speed into production. Some trees done that way are yielding three years into the ground, heavy yields in 4-5. Additionally a lot of experimenting is going on, what the hell do we grow, things like I am doing and Kevin is doing. If you put in 10 varieties and 8 are losers, you can easily rip out and replace them with winners, they won’t be shaded out by the winners.

          Also one dimensional thinking. They are not putting in systems, they are putting in orchards. No cattle grazing, no pork or chickens. No berry crops, etc.

          Go to ag loan officer, present business plan, get loan, plant trees.

          That officer wants a clean and concise business plan, nothing confusing the issue. They think in one dimension so the industry that depends on them for money does too.

        • Another thing some of the cider growers are trying is hedgerows. MM111 on <6' spacing, let the trees grow together. They are putting the rows far enough apart for the mechanical pickers they are hoping will come out of the pipeline soon. My test orchard is on 7.5'x20'. I might go back and double up in the alleys, but that is an issue of irrigation supply.

          For a library row on a suburban lot, I think Kevin's Belgian fence strategy has a lot of merit. He's turning the problem of maintaining it into the solution of a dense source of scion wood, and he's getting density in one dimension but good airflow to combat diseases you folks in humid climates really have to fight.

          The guys at my nursery told me that MM111 is one of the easier rootstocks to get grafts to take, a good one to start with. We are also planting out a lot of MM106 because of its tolerance to alkalinity. Soil type, anchorage, disease resistance are the reasons I try a new rootstock, rather than dwarfing.

        • Good stuff Ann!

          I have had good results with Geneva 30 as well and a lot of trees I am getting it is the largest stock I can get it in.

  5. I enjoyed the heck out of this episode- so much so that I listened to it twice, and it got me dusting off my plans for a food forest and orchard on my property. I love apples and this has got me thinking about how to make this work on my place north of Houston. Great show!

  6. Great Episode! I heard his interview on Permaculture Voices, and he got me thinking about apples. Since then, I’ve grafted 10 varieties on one tree, so far they all look like they’re taking. But he’s got me thinking about doing some more with some cider varieties. It’s nice to hear a local guy doing things with apples. I’ll have to check out his site.

  7. While I was reading the comments, I was really hoping to come across someone who said what I’ve said below. I found myself getting lost in the terminology and all the rhetoric about the different strategies. I don’t know what rootstock, m1111, just barely learned what chill hours are, don’t know who Dave Wilson is, and I’m pretty sure I know what grafting is. Please excuse my ignorance, I would enjoy an episode about the most basic of everything trees but as always still enjoyed the show.

    • I could do a show on rootstocks, grafting, etc. But in the end, M111 is simply a rootstock that creates a large tree, it is close to full sized. I don’t know that you need to know who Dave Wilson is to understand this show but google would tell you in moments. I might do this today if I can fit it in before the interview I have scheduled.

      • Thanks so much for doing that show jack. I have got more ideas which everybody might like to ponder. in your prof cj show, you reiterated that people wax nostalgic about the past. What about the notion in popular culture that long ago in America, as long as you kept your head down and worked hard, everything would be fine and you would come out ahead, but that is not so true anymore. It’s a slightly different take on the subject of how we look at the past.
        I also heard you recently say that if you can get a tax deduction via a solar program and I agree. I’m just wondering where one draws the line of becoming a libertarian hypocrite. Can you still be a libertarian and receive food stamps, disability, unemployment, SSI, and free food boxes from the food bank of govt subsidized food? on the one hand I want to say don’t be a purist libertarian and on the other hand contribution to the herd mentality of ‘milk whatever you can’ is exactly what we are advocating when we say take the solar tax deduction. I’m assuming that all tspers could agree that this ‘milk whatever you can’ mindset of the welfare state is detrimental to the progress of America.
        I can’t wait to see you and the rest of PE in Cali for voices. Later folks!

  8. Sorry I’m a little late here, but does anyone know the YouTube channel that was mentioned about reviews of different fruit varieties? I can’t even recall where in the episode it was mentioned, and it was a very brief mention, but Kevin mentioned it was someone that would say something like, “this happy would have been better if it had a few more hot days.”

    I tried Googling things like “Youtube fruit tree review” and didn’t get a whole lot.