A story about an apple tree

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brothers
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A story about an apple tree

Post by brothers » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:43 pm

Here's the story. When we moved to our present house in 1996 I ate an apple (red delicious) and a seed with a little green sprout popped out so I planted it in a pot and kept it inside for a year before I transplanted it outside when it was about a foot tall.

There it sat and kept growing for 10 years. In 2006 it finally blossomed. This past June I was overjoyed to see it filled with blossoms and for the first time ever, it bore fruit. About 20 little apples. I even consulted with the experts and bought the appropriate stuff to spray on the apples every couple of weeks to fend off the bugs.

Now the rest of the story. It had a hard life. Our summers are hot and the winters are harsh, if not too long. Anyway, this past summer, specifically July and August, were unusually hot and dry. When I went to check on the tree and it's apples, it was totally dead.

Some violent storms had come and gone sometime in September, and a couple of the apples had been damaged, but that wasn't what killed it. It had a disease that caused the bark to turn black and crinkle up.

There's more to the story. The roots had put up a number of shoots that I had decided to leave undisturbed this summer, instead of pulling them up or whacking them off.

I happened to visit the old dead tree last week and noticed that the shoots are not only still alive, they are actually still producing fresh new leaves! That is completely wierd, because it's winter!

So, we'll see how well everything survives come March and April. I intend to take my grandfather's trusty double bit axe and pop off the tree, but I plan to groom a few of the little shoots to see if they want to take their parent's place. Let's keep our fingers crossed!
Last edited by brothers on Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Gary

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Post by marsos52 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:41 pm

now that cool

save me a apple
marc

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Post by brothers » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:34 pm

Marc, the wife's a good cook, so let's think about a nice apple pie.
Gary

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Post by marsos52 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:55 pm

i am good with that

pie i like
thanks

marc

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Post by desertbadger » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:47 am

Good luck with the tree, Gary. I hope there are many apple pies in your future!

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David
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Re: A picture worth 355 words?

Post by matt321 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:39 am

brothers wrote:I intend to take my grandfather's trusty double bit axe and pop off the tree, but I plan to groom a few of the little shoots to see if they want to take their parent's place.
Apple being the Biblical fruit, there should be a moral here somewhere?

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wenestvedt
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Post by wenestvedt » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:15 pm

Go, little tree, GO!

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Post by drmoss_ca » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:11 pm

Now I'm no expert at grafting fruit trees, but I think it might be possible to take one of those shoots and place it in a slit cut into the bark and sapwood of another apple tree, bind the cut closed about it and give the shoot the cheating benefit of a full-grown root system that will support and feed it so that you might bite into an apple from it before you die.

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I'd rather have a Cox's Orange Pippin, please.
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Post by Blue As A Jewel » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:34 am

drmoss_ca wrote:Now I'm no expert at grafting fruit trees, but I think it might be possible to take one of those shoots and place it in a slit cut into the bark and sapwood of another apple tree, bind the cut closed about it and give the shoot the cheating benefit of a full-grown root system that will support and feed it so that you might bite into an apple from it before you die.

Chris
I'd rather have a Cox's Orange Pippin, please.
My Mum did that with a rubber plant/tree she had and it worked very well... we had a rubber plantation in our living room while growing up...
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Post by brothers » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:41 pm

Chris, that's a good suggestion. I have 2 observations about that. First, we don't have another apple tree! :oops:

Second, the 15 year old root is evidently still alive and kicking, so if it isn't dying from the same disease that got the part above the ground, maybe the little shoots will do better than normal.

I wish I was more of a horticulturist (no I don't really, but) if I was, or if I can locate one at one of the garden centers around here (more likely) then I should try to figure out what the heck happened and if it's possible to keep it from happening again.

Maybe our climate is just bad for apple trees. :?:
Gary

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Post by fallingwickets » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:39 am

Gary

the agricultural extension people are super fantastic.......and they LOVE helping you out

heres the national link....pick a state for more info
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

clive
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Post by brothers » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:55 am

Thanks Clive. Will do!
Gary

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Post by matt321 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:14 pm

Alrighty, how is the sprout surviving summer? 8)

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Post by funkthulhu » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:34 pm

Actually, I have a question about your appleacious progress. When the original tree produced fruit, were they good to eat or were they spitters?

Apples have heterogeneity of reproduction like people. So while all your kids look like you, they don't look exactly like you, and the same goes for the apple tree. Each apple has 5+ seeds and each of them will be genetically unique, each tree makes thousands of seeds like this. While this is what helped apples evolve quickly to fill all sorts of different climates in North America over the last 400 years, it also means that a sweet tasty apple often produces saplings with worthless sour fruit. Each of the types of apples you see at the store was harvested from thousands of cuttings of a single tree spliced onto good root stock. Clones, if you will, to ensure that all the fruit produced will be identical.

All that being said, unless this tree happened to make excellent fruit, you're probably better off just starting over. Especially since these new shoots are root-suckers that won't live as long or produce like the original. But, like Matt, I'm still really curious to see how your tree has fared this Spring.
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Post by brothers » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:42 pm

I don't have a picture right now, but I'll try to remember to post one. The original trunk wasn't too hard to break off by hand. All of the shoots coming up from the roots survived winter and there were 20 or more surrounding the stump, like a little fairy Forest of little trees. I pruned away all but about 5 of varying heights, right now between a foot and a half to about 3 feet tall. They're spaced along a couple of what must be the major living root sections. I like the one that's farthest away from the original trunk, but it's also the shortest in height. I like it because it will develop its own root system, just like the others, and mainly because it's the farthest from the fence, maybe a couple of feet further away from the old stump. My plan's to just see how everything makes out this summer, and in the fall I'll probably eliminate all but one, which I hope will become the new tree, if I don't decide to go ahead and do it earlier.

The apples, unfortunately, died and withered before they had a chance to mature. I was disappointed about that. I don't disagree with what you're saying about the root suckers probably being inherently weak from the get-go. But, anyway, it is an interesting experiment, and It'll be fun to see what happens.
Gary

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Post by fallingwickets » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:08 am

thanks for updating

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Re: A story about an apple tree

Post by brothers » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:41 pm

Updating the story of the little apple tree. It's now about 30 inches tall, still alive. I haven't done anything to it. There are some big rocks stacked behind it, and they'll be moved sometime soon. Anyway, here's a picture I took with my new camera.
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Apple tree 2013 1.jpg
Apple tree 2013 1.jpg (120.62 KiB) Viewed 2518 times
Gary

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Re: A story about an apple tree

Post by ShadowsDad » Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:08 pm

Interesting! But as already written don't be surprised if the apples are sour. I'd continue this just out of curiousity to see what comes of that root that wants to survive.
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Re: A story about an apple tree

Post by brothers » Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:36 pm

I'm just hoping it lives long enough to become a real tree! I'll be amazed if it survives long enough to get even one apple.
Gary

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Re: A story about an apple tree

Post by dosco » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:16 am

My wife and I purchased the house in which we now live back in the summer of 2006. In the backyard was a dead trunk - perhaps 15' high, that had many new branches growing forth. I cut the dead part off and the rest kept growing nicely. It might have been the following spring when I figured out it was an apple tree.

Every spring it produces numerous fruits ... hundreds of baby apples ... that the squirrels decimate. Last fall there was 1 edible apple that "survived." It was quite tasty, and it really bothers me that the squirrels are so destructive. On a side note, the apple tree is not the only victim of the squirrels ... among other things, this summer they chewed up my gas grill such that the regulator and its hose were "cut" from the burner.

Someday I hope to have a nice batch of apples from the tree in the back ... although I am fairly certain that someday will be after I get a pellet rifle and kill any and all squirrels that venture on my property. Although I have "declared war" with the squirrels I have yet to follow up on that decision with any lethal treatment to the little bastards.

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