A Jonagold is a lovely apple that is hard to grow due to is extreme vigour. Due to an extra set of chromosomes, everything about them is big: big apples, big juicy cells within the apples that burst and fill your mouth when you bite into them, big branches, fast, vigorous growth, and a real mess when you want to plant them close. Thirty years ago, I acted on a hunch and coaxed a triploid jonagold to root on its own, calculating that if it had its own roots, and wasn’t reacting to the roots of a two-chromosome (diploid) apple that it was grafted onto, as is the usual practice, it might behave quite differently. Sure enough, the hunch was right. The resulting tree was precocious, fruitful, and more balanced in size than the grafted sisters it was grown among. It was removed long ago, sadly, in the convulsions of a declining fruit industry. Last summer, I wondered if we could do this again, but this time use it to plant a dwarf orchard that had enough vigour to resist the stresses of new insects that attract graft unions, with wood more resistant to drought and frost than current dwarfing rootstocks. Well, have a look. Here’s the first one, a triploid Belle de Boskoop (Boskopf), as happy as can be among her cloned malus x micromalus sisters. Look at her go!
These are exciting days!