When planting and tending your tree please bear in mind the following:
Bardsey Island doesn't have a typical North Wales climate; it is out to sea with its own unique weather. It is much sunnier and drier than the mainland. When siting your tree, I think it would be wise to bear this in mind. Encourage plenty of air movement around and through the tree. A warm airy site will help reduce the likelihood of scab forming on the fruit and canker from causing dieback of the wood.
Both these fungi need humidity to flourish. As yet nobody knows whether the mother tree is disease resistant or whether it is disease free because of the island's unique climate.
2010 Update: Disease resistance is excellent.
Just because the salty air hasn't killed the mother tree, it doesn't mean that it is actually salt tolerant. Be safe and plant your tree away from the sea. If you want to plant something on the beach, try a coconut.
Bardsey Island is frost-free. Consequently there is a chance that your tree might be prone to frost damage. Avoid frost pockets when choosing your site.
2010 Update: No frost problems... One tree has survived at -22 in Austria.
I don't know how the mother tree on the island is pollinated, but I think its best to assume that it is not self-fertile. Very few apple varieties are self-fertile; they need another different variety that flowers at the same time to cross-pollinate. Obviously you have more chance of success if there are several potential pollinators nearby.
Apple trees prefer a deep loamy, well-drained, slightly acid soil preferably on a south-facing slope. The mother tree has none of these. I think it would be best to give the tree as good a soil and site as possible. Do not try to emulate the soil conditions of the mother tree on the island.
Bardsey Island is extremely windy but the tree itself grows in a slightly sheltered recess on the side of a house. I think it would be wrong to assume that your tree would do well in an extremely exposed situation. Nevertheless, the fruit hangs well.
2010 Update: Exposure isn't a problem.
The mother tree on the island is absolutely hammered by Tortrix Moth caterpillars. At present we don't know whether the tree is particularly susceptible. Perhaps the caterpillars on the island have nothing better to do.
All fruit trees aree grafted onto rootstocks. The rootstocks determine tree size. Bigger trees are more robust and produce more fruit, but take up more space. Always choose a bigger rootstock if you need extra anchorage, or your soil is poor (very wet, dry or rocky). Small trees can't compete with grass & weeds. If we assume that the Bardsey tree grows with average vigour, then the table below will give you an idea of how big your trees will eventually be and when they will come into fruition.
|Root stock||Height & Spread (in ft)||Age when tree will bear||Anchorage||Staking||Grass on orchard floor|
|M27 Apple||4||2||Very poor||Entire life of tree||Needs clean
|M9 Apple||7||3||Poor||Entire life of tree||Needs clean
Quince C (Pear)
|10||3||Fair||First 4 years||Short grass OK once established|
St Julian Plum
Quince A Pear
|15||4||Good||First 2 years||Long grass OK once established|
|M25 Apple||22||7||Very good||N/A||No problem|
WARNING. The tree seems to bear extremely precociously. It can produce fruit buds on one-year-old wood. Rub them out. If the tree produces fruit too soon in its life it will exhaust itself. For more information visit the web site of Ian sturrock and Sons.
PLANTING, TRAINING, PRUNING, PICKING, STORAGE
Ask any 10 orchardists about any of the above and you will get 10 different answers!
Rather than add an eleventh I suggest you read:
THE FRUIT EXPERT by Dr.Hessayon @ £4.95.......a good cheap basic book with very clear diagrams
FRUIT by Harry Baker @ £8.99......A thoroughly comprehensive guide from the RHS with excellent precise line drawings
TRAINING & PRUNING OF APPLE AND PEAR TREES@ $29.95 by CG FORSHEY
available only via the internet. Extremely detailed and academic, it is paraphrased on the web site TRAINING & PRUNING OF APPLE TREES