Friday, October 7, 2011

Apple Trees - Part 3

Back in February I bagged up assorted apple seeds with moist paper towels and sent them to the cold room to sprout.  In May or June I brought them upstairs to see how they had turned out.

It wasn't great, but there were 5 or 6 that should have grown into lovely little trees.  No where near my original plan.

I was busy with the garden, spring chores, critters...  I totally neglected them.  When it finally occurred to me to check them again, they were all dried out and dead.

However, I struck gold one day at Canadian Tire.  They had 4 apple trees in stock.  Four Zone 2 apple trees.  Apparently someone there was a gardener, and got annoyed with that automatic shipping policy.  She told off TPTB last year, and ordered her own stock this year.  Stuff that will actually grow here.  What a concept!

I bought them all.  They were already loaded with tiny apples.  We added them to the forest garden area (which I also totally neglected).  Husband and the bigs used the post hole digger to drill nice deep wide holes to plant them in, and loosen the soil to let the roots spread.

Then we overwatered them.  Because all that loose soil held the water.   And every time it rained, the water ran there.  Dad figured it out before we killed them.  We stopped watering, but most of the fruit was already cracked and rotting.

Then it got hot and dry for awhile.  But the forecast said it was going to rain.  So we still didn't water them.  And we almost killed them.  the leaves were falling off mid-summer.

And despite all of that, they're still alive.

No apples this year though.  They're all shrivelled up.

My three year old trees (started from seed) are doing well.
Only 4 more years to wait and see if they'll produce fruit.

Of the other apple trees, the ones we bought that weren't zone 2,  only the root stock on one survived last winter.


  1. we plan on putting in a small fruit orchard next spring - we have a really great nursery here and they only stock what grows well in our zone. we are looking forward to apples, pears, peaches and a bunch of berries.

    we live in framboise which is french for raspberry and there are acres of them growing wild on our land. this year we had to put too much effort into getting our raised beds going, tending the garden - all that kind of stuff. but we regularly went and picked a bunch of raspberries - they are delish - but i just didn't have the time to get to them to can or make jams or sauce, etc.

    next year i will for sure!

    i am glad that after almost killing your apple trees a few times that they managed and survived!

    your friend,

  2. Wendy,
    You are many apple trees ahead of me! I suppose this is how we learn. But, oh the lessons are hard. I will be reading in four years to see how it's going. Even here is the South in the US, some of the nurseries don't carry what is right for our zone. You would think anything would thrive here, and maybe something might thrive. We learn too late sometimes that just because it is sold right down the street that it might be all wrong. You have a nice sturdy crew and knowledgeable people. Planting a tree with apples would stress the tree, so maybe it was not all your fault.Keep us posted on the rest.

  3. Not sure if you have the same access to Arbor Day foundation.. but we got a lot of fruit trees and some hazelnuts from them this year. We got the membership.. so the trees were very reasonable.. very reasonable.

    lol Apple tree genetics are a thing of wonder. You can plant thousands of them.. even all from the same "parents" and get thousands of different possibilities. Variations in fruit, ability to survive regional weather, disease/ bug resistances.. all different.

    Don't worry about labeling them, fruit trees are only true to type by means of cloning. Rootstock can be purchased and you can graft your own. It seems challenging until you do it. Grafted trees have a few years where problems can occur.

  4. kymber- thanks and good luck with your orchard! I can only dream of peaches and plums, lol. If the apple trees survive I'll try pears again in the future.

    PP- Isn't that just crazy? Of course a lot of nurseries don't really care about what will survive or thrive, just so long as it sells!

    Anne-The Arbor Day Foundation hosts/sponsors an event once a year here, and hands out free White Spruce Seedlings. Woohoo! lol. Not really something I need around here.

    I live in a 2A growing zone. Short growing season, very cold. Most fruit trees will not survive. Of the 6 trees we bought in the past (zone 4, the best available at the time) (4 apple, 2 pear) only the root stock from one has survived. I need something that will survive here before I worry about grafting on to it.

    I am aware that apple trees will not produce seed true to species. It's the endless possibilities that interest me. I'm hoping for some fruit bearing trees that will adapt to the weather here.

    I label them for my own interest. It is slightly more likely that a crispin seed will eventually produce something more similar to a crispin apple than a golden deliscious, although in all likelihood, they'd both produce something more like a crab apple.

    And since I have 120 acres, and not much else planned for the next 7 years, I might as well keep trying.

  5. Ouch... zone 2! That explains a lot!

    The original orchard by us was planted some time around 1900. The valley they are in is rather protected and nature was allowed to select what following generations were to come from the originals. So far.. still no luck getting anything similar to the parents (bitter was a surprising attribute.) Even the pears, although very very prolific, no quality trees as of yet. Then blight hit, no resistance in our apples to it (pears unaffected. The apples are alive, just no fruit.. and the wild plums are dying off.) Many farms here have "wild" apple trees, most are lack luster at best and left for the deer.

    So I am replanting the orchard at that farm and the other farm with known cultivars.. and as well experimenting with seed too.

    In particular because apple wood is wonderful for smoking meats. ;)

    With apples (as well many other fruit trees).. it just amazes me the range, and the luck each cultivated strain brings. I didn't mean to hinder you, just suggesting to hedge your bets.