Are the arkansas black spur apple trees coompact? Are these easy to deal with?
Dunno. I've seen, in the past, experienced orchardists comment on the 'Colonial J-Spur' strain of ArkBlack as producing 'beautiful, cardboard-flavored apples.
Suggests to me that perhaps the original non-spur selection is superior with regard to fruit quality/flavor.
I have no personal experience with it, as its so late that the big European hornets always completely devoured them all long before they had any chance to ripen here.
I think you are better off controlling vigor with rootstock. Excessive spurring creates problems that require more management because you need a good ratio of leaf to fruit to get good size and quality. You generally end up having to cut back spurs to maintain adequate vigor for this.
The original Ark Black is not very vigorous and is spurry to begin with- my trees on 111 tend to set some fruit on the second year.
Good info, hman.
Was visiting, one fall, with a guy who runs a small local commercial orchard a number of years ago. He said he had ArkBlack apples in the cooler from the previous year that were still good - perhaps better than they ever had been - but that he couldn't sell 'em, cause they were kind of shriveled - his wife had gotten tired of keeping wet towels in the cooler to keep the humidity levels up, and they'd gotten a bit wrinkly - but still tasty.
Yes, they are certainly rocks off the tree but I do like them out of storage. I suspect they are a variety that is not very appealing to insects and is noted for being highly disease resistant as well. Burford rates it as resistant to scab, CAR and fireblight.