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Sometimes they seems to do best all on their own...

Posted by windfall_rob vt4 (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 29, 13 at 8:24

I swung past my favorite local feral tree today looking for a few bushels as base for some sweet cider.
It's one of those trees that has never seen any care and yet is near perfectly formed, shows no sign of scab or other fungal issues and drops tons of fantastic and clean fruit (every other year).

It always strikes me how I can fuss over my own trees, pruning spreading branches, spraying all season, thinning, etc......
And yet here is a tree that consistently produces fruit as clean, well sized, and colored as anything I get off my own.

I understand some of it. It has a wonderful location all alone out in the middle of field, good soils, great sun exposure, and lots of air movement.
Clearly it is near scab immune as I have never seen any on it..

..but what about the bugs? Why does it get so little damage? Although it is all alone from a growth standpoint, there are other ferals within thirty yards...the whole valley is full of them. Bear and deer do scour the drops at this tree always (they like this variety too!)

I see this here and there, and I am sure some component of it is gentic, but grafts from trees like this rarely perform quite as well. Being on their own roots could be part of the equation, and I think microclimate plays in as well. Sometimes it makes me think there are some pieces of the puzzle we just are not getting.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sometimes they seems to do best all on their own...

Air-layering will give you identical tree on its own root. You should try it.

RE: Sometimes they seems to do best all on their own...

If I don't spray for codling moth I get a worm in every apple. The cider is still pretty good however. Al

RE: Sometimes they seems to do best all on their own...

Some varieties are not attractive to Plum Curculio but in Z4 that is probably not a pest in your profile. Here it is late, hard apples that tend to have this attribute. It is not surprising to me that you have a wild apple not susceptible to your common pests.

If you want a closer related rootstock, sprout some seeds from it and then, if needed, you can graft a piece from mom. Some varieties of apples actually do come close to parent if they are self fertile, or so I've read.

RE: Sometimes they seems to do best all on their own...

I had the new granny smith of New england. A green 2.5 inch apple with a tart but pleasantly sweet taste. 90% mark free (no scab or worms). The land owner was a friend and when he put a road in for a subdivision I took a few grafts. I grafted onto a seedling in a rock wall bordering my small orchard and it grew like it was on steroids. I spray it when I spray the other trees but has turned into a pest magnet. Makes a marshall mac look good. the original tree is gone now and so is my plan for a retirement on 1.25 per tree to retire on.(still makes good cider).

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