Posts tagged #Frankentree

A Visit to FRANKENTREE, With Over 85 Varieties Fruiting This Season!

Wow, frankentree has really kicked some apple tree butt this year with at least 85 varieties fruiting out of 150 grafts.  He looks amazing and I'm pretty excited to retry some old varieties and some new ones as well.  it's just a good apple year in general, and most of the trees are coming through year two of severe drought pretty well.  The apples on frankentree are on the small side, but I've had some pretty tasty ones so far, like the two great crabs I reviewed in July, Centenial and Trailman.  Check it out, its quite a sight!

I know I talk about Frankentree a lot, and multigrafting and frameworking in general, AND I keep threatening to tell you more about how to do it all, but it is coming!  I swear!  A lot actually ;)  I'm trying to tone it down lately, but it's just hard to express myself without cursing like a sailor sometimes!  Well heck, what was I saying?  Oh yeah, it's definitely coming and it's gonna be good.  If I wasn't already stoked enough about the idea, and convinced that it should be the rule rather than the exception, I'm even more stoked after seeing frankentree drooping with so many different apples this year.  I WILL influence thousands more people to do this, either directly or indirectly.  Maybe not to do it like a totally obsessed nutball such as myself, but at least to stick some new and exciting varieties with varying ripening times on that old tree out back.   Well, I'm going to try anyway.  That's the plan.  Help me out by sharing this video on social media!

Two Sweet Crabs That Don't Pinch! Trailman and Centennial, Delicious Super Early Crab Apples,

Here is my review of two crabs that fruited here on Frankentree for the first time ever. Centennial and trailman are very similar and seem to ripen at the same time.  Both have good flavor and very good to excellent texture, even after a recent heat wave with consecutive days over 100 degrees, 101, 103, 103 in the shade.

I have a particular interest in crab apples that are edible out of hand, with good dessert quality and these two really fit that description.   They are not only very good to excellent in eating quality, but they are also the second apples to ripen here, this year in the first two weeks of July.  "First early" apples are usually low in sugar, grainy or mealy and just not that great for eating.  Time will tell more, but I can already tell from just a few samples that these apples are a great find.  I'll probably be breeding with these in the future as I think excellent dessert crabs are something that needs work and has great potential.  These are super easy to eat, since you can eat the entire fruit with the core, seeds and all.  The seeds only add to the flavor, like an almond flavor filled center.





Introduction to Frankentree Video

This is an introductory video I threw together to stoke people up on the idea of multigrafted trees.  Quite a few fruit collectors use this technique and, while Frankentree is a more extreme example, I increasingly think that multigrafted trees with 3 to 30 varieties or so will serve the average person with a few trees much better than single variety trees do.  Add to that the edifying character of the work, the increased involvement in one's own food supply and the neato factor and it seems like a pretty easy sell, except for the intimidation factor.  I'd like to maybe think this out better and make a more refined version as well as a detailed video tutorial on some of the specific strategies and skills, but this will have to do for now.  The original Frankentree post has a little bit of information on grafting with pictures of a couple of different grafts.



Simple, Efficient, Cheap, Flexible Biochar Trench Video, and Frankentree Trailer

Coming next weekend!  I guarantee the actual video is less exciting than the trailer, but it is much more edifying!  This video will just be an introduction to the idea, and the benefits of frankentreeing.  I will certainly put together a much more technical video in the future.

Below is my second fast motion video on the two simple biochar methods I've been experimenting with.  A few notes...

Fuels:  I suspect that pieces larger than about 3 inches are better either split down or charred by another method, and chips might be better done in a TLUD or some such device.  I haven't tried either in the trench though, so that's just speculation.  I doubt that large wood will char well in the trench because it takes so long to char all the way through, but chips might be just fine if fed pretty constantly in thin layers.  As long as everything you're putting in turns to charcoal and you're not getting a lot of ashes or a lot of smoke with it, you're doing well.  I've done green and dry wood.  Dry is better of course.  I think the jury is still out on green wood.  The one I did mostly with pretty green wood was a very hot, large pit and the wood was brushy allowing for the ingress for large amounts of air.  It was still pretty sluggish and I'd certainly tend to let the stuff dry for a summer first if possible.

Wood size and shape:  It's hard to say without actually measuring things, but the trench seems to have a very efficient conversion ratio (wood to charcoal with low ash production) if the material is of a nature that it can be laid thickly and flat onto the coals, and of course if it is tended adequately.  This method takes a little more effort than last week's open burn, since you have to dig a hole, but it handles certain materials better.  I've done a number of these now and have found that they don't handle tangly brush all that well.  I did pretty good with douglas fir limbs, but not with oak, madrone and similar branches that have a lot of twigs poking in every direction.  The fir limbs are pretty linear and stack into the trench closely enough to get by.  If the fuel doesn't lay into the trench well, it will allow too much oxygen to reach the coals and result in more ash formation.  So, really tangly stuff that takes up a lot of volume of space might be better burned in an open pile, or reduced in size and shape to fit into the trench better.  When I take trees down, I typically limb up the 2 1/2" to 3" branches and larger, setting them aside, while anything smaller is brush for burning.  So, I'll usually end up with a pile of each, larger stuff with little to no brush for the firewood pile or the trench, and small tangly stuff for the open pile method.

A trench burn using mostly untrimmed douglas fir limbs worked adequately well.  Better than very spreading tangly type branches, but not quite as well as lengths and chunks of wood without any small branches.
A trench burn using mostly untrimmed douglas fir limbs worked adequately well. Better than very spreading tangly type branches, but not quite as well as lengths and chunks of wood without any small branches.

Trench v.s. Pit Shape:  You could just dig a round pit, and that might be good for small wood, and especially small chunks like lumber cutoffs, but the long shape allows burning of long wood without cutting it up which can be a huge savings if long wood is what you've got.  It of course works fine for short wood too.  I haven't done a burn in just one end of the trench, but it seems like it should work fine as long as the open end of the fire has wood added to it same as the top.  If nothing else, the trench could be blocked with dirt of bricks for small burns of short stuff.

Other options:  FYI, this is based on the Japanese Cone Kiln concept, and you can also do it in other containers, like a webber BBQ for micro scale (be sure to seal any holes on the bottom).  I think you could also use an old wheel barrow body.  You can see Backyard Biochar for more on the cone kilns and other simple methods.

The burn requires maintenance, but not constant maintenance, so bring a book or a project to work on.

Summarizing:Between this and the open burn pile method in last week's video, a lot of wood types that most people have access to can be charred easily, with a minimum of preparations, planning or technology.  Considering the simplicity and low inputs of these two methods, there seems little reason not to turn the woody resources that accumulate around a homestead, or even backyard, into charcoal instead of ash.   That is my main message here.   You could of course turn smaller stuff into compost, but since charcoal can serve some of the purposes of organic matter in the soil (nutrient reservoir, microbe housing, moisture holding and soil texture changes)  but permanently with a one time applications, it's worth considering charring it in your webber for a while, or some of it at least.  It's not a complete substitute for organic matter, but it should, in theory, help you get more out of the organic matter and other nutrients you add to the soil in the future.  I add some organic matter to the soil, but I consider the most important the plant roots that are left behind after every crop.  

Anyway, that's more than enough said.  Most of what you need to know is in the video...

Posted on October 4, 2014 and filed under BioChar, Forestry, Garden Stuff.

And a Frankentree in Every Garage


If I were president, the essay assignment goes when you’re in grade school.  I remember thinking “but I don’t want to be president!”  But... if I was, I don't think I'd promise a car in every garage, though I'd probably keep the chicken in every pot.  When I moved here to Turkeysong, I had to decide what fruit varieties to grow.  Inspired by friend and apple guru Freddy Menge, a scrappy young tree that was already here, was used as a framework to test out apple varieties.  Before that it produced hard green apples.  What started as an interest, grew into something like an obsession and the tree became more diverse every year starting with 25 or so varieties and ending now with about 140.  My friend Spring dubbed it Frankentree because, at her house, that’s what they call anything cobbed together from odd parts.  The name stuck.  The term frankentree is also used for genetically modified tree varieties, but it has already taken off among apple collectors, so we'll just have to see who wins.  And maybe someone searching for info about GMO fruit will run across our frankentrees and be ignited into constructive action instead of plunged into despair at how the world can be dumb enough that we take the risk of genetically engineering an apple just so it won't brown when cut.

Frankentrees are awesome!  They may take a little attention to maintain, but the advantages are many.  There are so many trees out there that provide too much fruit of one variety in too brief a period for the people that use them.  Other trees just produce fruit that no one likes.   These trees, if they are healthy enough and the form is not too wacky, are very valuable as a base to work from.  A reasonably well formed healthy tree can come to yield nourishment in abundance, interest, variety, valuable information, and even self confidence and self reliance, over a long season.

This isn’t going to be a how to article, it’s more to kick you in the butt and get you started thinking and experimenting this year article.  If you have a tree, or access to a tree that is not very exciting in the fruit department, why not try grafting on something new?  Well, I’ll tell you why you should graft on something new, or actually more like somethings.

Apple trees are an ideal format in which to learn grafting and begin fruit collecting.  Pears are a close second, and then plums.  Apples are easy to graft, very useful, widely appreciated and there are many varieties to be had, thousands actually.  They also are hard to beat in terms of seasonal length.  I have very good to excellent eating apples from August to early February, and that is straight off the tree, not accounting for storage.  You may not be able to get that in a very cold climate, but the season can still be quite long.  The ability to have a long fruiting season is reason enough to make a frankentree, but there are many more motivations.

a riot of variety
a riot of variety

Frankentreeing will teach you something, and you can teach that to someone else.  You’ll learn about different varieties of fruit, what their seasons are, what they taste like, whether they keep or not, and very probably their histories.  You’ll learn the art of grafting, without which we would not have all these varieties of fruits in the first place.  And you’ll learn what varieties do well in your area, which is extremely valuable.

You'll also end up as a keeper and preserver of variety, a sort of seed bank or scion repository that you can share out or trade from.  No doubt some of those varieties will be very old.  And old or not, more diversity in more places is assurance not only against permanent genetic loss, but also that diversity has a real place in our daily lives.  We have to live our appreciation of variety and the romance of diversity in crops for it to be real and not just an abstract idea we picked up from a foodie book.

Multi-grafted trees are not only ornamental in their own strange way, but they’re also a great conversation piece, and a frankentree will make you look cool!  Wait, screw that, if you make a frankentree, you are cool!  Everyone who visits here loves frankentree!

You’ll very likely have more fruit on a frankentree.  First of all, pollination will be great.  Apples can self pollinate to a very small extent, but they really need pollen from other varieties in order to fruit.  Your frankentree will be downright indecent in it’s public orgy of bees and pollen!  But wait, there’s more!  You’ll also get more fruit in the long run because you’ll inevitably end up with some that set fruit very readily and consistently, and some that avoid spring frost because they bloom late.

Your new skill is marketable as I’m finding out.  How many people will pay you to make them a fruit tree that gives them four to six months of the most delicious apples adapted to your region?  Let’s find out!  I just did my first paying frankentree job (bride of frankentree) for my neighbors Dan and Leslie and they seem very pleased to try giving an old apple tree a makeover.  It made good apples before, but it will make lots of different good apples now.  I have another such job scheduled this spring too.

Preparing the bride.  I prefer to prep the whole tree at once so that grafting proceeds quickly.

Preparing the bride.  I prefer to prep the whole tree at once so that grafting proceeds quickly.

bride of frankentree all grafted up and no place to grow.  Note the one branch left to the original variety on the left hand side.

bride of frankentree all grafted up and no place to grow.  Note the one branch left to the original variety on the left hand side.

I’m a problem solver.  I not only solve them, it order to be a good problem solver, I have to look for them constantly in everything.  Just ask anyone who has had to live with me.  So what’s the downside to a frankentree?  There are very few really.

If the tree is too old and you have to cut down to large stubs, you could get some rot that will shorten the life of the tree.  In many cases, that is not necessary though.  I prefer to stay within cuts that are 3/4 inches and down, but you just have to weigh the value of the tree as it is and the value of it as a frankentree, or more usually the value of a certain form of the tree, because if it’s very overgrown, you’ll want to simplify the framework and probably bring the head down.  That’s will make it easier to graft, maintain and harvest.

It takes time and energy.  Sorry, but I see that as a good thing over all.  It’s like saying it’s a lot of work.  If you’re not totally stoked about making it happen, do something else.  Otherwise, activity that gets you outside feeling interested, taking care of your own needs and building self reliance... that’s all up side!

You’ll have to maintain the tree a little more closely.  Some varieties are really vigorous and grow large and some are small and weak, so you can sort of keep an eye out to check the big ones and maintain a little light for the weak.  I lost sleep over that when I first started, but I didn’t need to, because it’s no big deal.  You’ll also have to prune off some suckers here and there as the base tree sprouts a shoot once in a while.  sometimes those shoots will be more vigorous than the grafts, almost like the tree would rather grow itself than be a frankentree, which makes sense.  My guess is that the investment you have in the project will make you more interested in maintaining the tree well.  Your personal investment means value to you.  It’s.... well, personal.

You can introduce disease.  The one that is most common is virus.  It will cause the leaves of some varieties to turn into a mosaic of light and dark areas.  It's not fatal and doesn't seem to affect most varieties here.  I basically don't worry about it anymore.  The affected leaves can become sun burned easily.  Frankentree is infected and so are many of my other varieties.  Probably many more than I know, since most show minimal to no symptoms.

That’s all I can think of.  I may sound like a propaganda machine, but I want to be!  That’s how stoked I am about the idea and my enthusiasm comes from the pleasure, interest and knowledge I’ve reaped from me experience in this realm, and the way I see people respond when they find out you can do this, or take the walk to the orchard to meet “frank”.  I’ll hopefully be giving you more specific detailed resources for frankentreeing in the future.  In the meantime, go to a scion exchange if there is one near you, or join the North American Scion exchange and trade by mail.  You may not have much to trade now, but there are quite a few generous collectors out there, and once you get a few varieties, you can start trading.  If you don’t know how to graft, check out the many youtube videos, and hopefully I’ll add one sometime as well.  I’d even like to do a detailed video just on frankentrees to give you more specific information and tricks to increase your success rates in grafting.  In the meantime, here are some basic ideas to keep in mind.  And for you locals, remember, the Mendocino Permaculture group's scion and seed exchange is this weekend Feb 1st Saturday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  It's free with free grafting classes and rootstock for sale.  I'm teaching hands on grafting coaching after the main grafting lectures.

Keep the framework of the tree, but thin it out and bring it down in height and in toward the framework, especially if it’s poorly trained, neglected and rangy.

Try to make smaller cuts and graft into wood 3/4 inch and down when possible, but don’t graft to the outside of the tree.  Try to graft in closer to large limbs.  If you graft only to small outside wood, you’ll end up with a tree that grows out and out and the inside of the tree will all still be the original variety.

Note long scions.

Note long scions.

Learn cleft grafts.  They are easy and good for grafting small sticks to large stubs, which is usually what you end up doing when reworking a tree.

Wrap tightly in multiple layers

Wrap tightly in multiple layers

Two views of the wedge cut and the scion fitted into the cleft stock.  Note again the flat cuts make a tight fit
Two views of the wedge cut and the scion fitted into the cleft stock. Note again the flat cuts make a tight fit

Use grafting paint (“wax”) liberally (I use doc farwell's, hopefully it’s not too toxic :/).  Use it to really seal the clefts left open after grafting, but also to paint the whole scion lightly.  Painting the scion is helpful to keep moisture in until the graft heals and the tree can start sending moisture and food to the scion.  You might have to paint the open ends of the clefts twice to make sure they are sealed well against rain infiltration.  It's ok if a little wax gets into the cleft.

Keep your grafting knife sharp!

Use long scions of 6 to 9 buds or so.  This will give you fruit sooner.

Thin the area near the graft of other shoots if possible.  You want to direct growth energy into the new graft.

If apples form the first year, leave them!  You don’t usually have to pull them off to favor growth like you do with a young tree, because the tree is driven by an established root system.

Don’t unwrap the grafts too early.  The leafy shoot will act like a sail and can break the graft.  Unwrap before the wood becomes constricted.  If you are concerned, just re-wrap it till the end of the season.

When you unwrap them for good in the fall, paint the graft union with a thick coat of grafting paint so you can keep track of its location.

Always label!  I use aluminum tags with copper, aluminum, or at least galvanized wire.  soda cans cut with scissors work fine and sections of aluminum venetian blind strips and old aluminum printing press plates work great.  Scratch the name in and write with pencil too.

So, if I’ve sparked your interest, just bust a move this year, even if it’s a small one.  Get some scions from a neighbor or a local apple orchard and make a few grafts.  You can wrap them tight with cut rubber band strips and paint them with thick latex paint so you don't have to invest in grafting supplies.  You can use a utility (razor) knife or pocket knife if you don’t have a grafting knife.  Practice on prunings a little until you can make flat cuts and grafts seem to fit pretty well.  You’ll learn something and if your few grafts take, you’ll have confidence to move forward.  Maybe I need to start a career as a motivational speaker.  Are you stoked yet!


Come February and March I rarely step outside without the essential pruning shears stuffed in my back pocket.  The grafting knife gets sharpened and the fridge becomes crowded with scions (cuttings of wood from fruit trees) for grafting projects.  At this time of year, most of my time seems to get used up planting, mulching, caging, pruning fertilizing, training, inspecting and grafting fruit and nut trees.  And then there's !Frankentree!...

The owner planted an arkansas black apple some years back, but the top must have died and only the rootstock survived because the apples were small hard green things not fit for eating.  Not if you're a spoiled human anyway.  One day I found 4 to 6 inch claw marks covering one side of the tree up to 4 feet and more.  Long curls of bark hung from the scratches.  A few broken branches near the top told the story of a bear climbing the tree to get at the fruit.  When I first saw this tree I was very excited because in spite of receiving no care whatsoever beyond establishment it was putting on good yearly growth and looked healthy and vigorous.  I figured maybe some of the trees I intended to plant in the future might do this well without excessive pampering and was happy.  Since the apples were useless I went straight away to the Scion exchange and collected a large pile of scions to work the tree over to different varieties.  Every year in early to mid march Tamara and I go out to the !Frankentree! to add more varieties.  I graft the scions onto the tree and she makes labels and takes notes to keep track of what we put on and when.  As of today there are 84 distinct varieties (now 140), several unknowns from which the tags were lost or never put on and a few repeats.  The tree had 20 plus varieties of actual fruits on it last year, but the Stellar's Jays pecked nearly all of them to complete ruins while they were still hard and green.  As soon as acorns were ready enough they abandoned green apple eating and went to work on them.  If the ignorant villagers don't come after her with pitchforks, axes and chainsaws for being an abomination of nature, I have high hopes for an abundant diversity of apples to taste this summer through winter.

I removed pretty much all the growth from the tree the first year and replaced it with apple varietals.  Some people do this process in stages, but I don't think it's necessary if the tree is healthy and vigorous enough and if less crude methods than the usual are used.  The usual top working method, known as topworking, involves loping off limbs 2 to 5 inches in diameter, splitting them open from the end and stuffing in a couple of scions cut to a wedge shape. This method leaves only a few new shoots per tree, and those few shoots have to grow out and gather sunlight for the whole tree.  This method also leaves a large open wound which is not unlikely to become infected.  This chainsaw and axe method of grafting over a whole tree is quick and cost effective, but the small scale orchardist can get fruit much faster and preserve the health of the tree at the same time by making lots of smaller cuts and putting on an equal number of longer scions, a technique known as frameworking.

At first I used a side graft method from the Grafter's Handbook that just didn't work that well.  In this method you cut into the side of a main branch deeply at an angle.  The scion is cut to a wedge shape similar to that used in cleft grafting (see pics below) and then simply stuffed tightly into the cleft which pinches it and holds it in place without any wrapping.  It does have to be covered in grafting wax though.  The success rate on these grafts was probably less than 50% which is very poor for apple, an easy to graft fruit.  I also didn't like the fact that the branches then came out at an angle right along the parent branch instead of growing out and away from it.  that makes a bark inclusion in the tight space between the parent branch and the new scion branch, which arrangement is both weaker and more disease prone.  It is also very hard to line up the cambium layers in this method because the bark on the branch and the bark on the scion are very different thicknesses.  I imagine one could get a better take with practice, but I still don't like the other drawbacks.  The advantage is that you can put a new side branch on wherever you like, which is great when there doesn't happen to be a shoot to graft onto.

Since then I've done almost exclusively whip and tongue or cleft grafts which work great.  I only use the side cut method above when I need a branch where there is no small stub to graft onto.  Now that some of the older grafts are quite large I'm grafting material onto the ends of them to try out new stuff.  If something fruits and I'm not impressed with it, it can be replaced by something new that I'd like to try out.  I have a growing apple wish list large enough to require a couple more !Frankentrees!  When adding scions I get the longest scions I can.  Unfortunately people cut them short to fit into plastic ziploc bags, so they are usually shorter than I would like.  I learned from the grafter's handbook to use long scions with 8 or 9 or more buds when top-working (working over an existing tree to new varieties) because they will fruit faster.  When grafting onto a young roostock you need only two buds and one of them is just for insurance in case the other doesn't grow.  I usually select the stronger of the two and pinch out the other early on.  The rationale for using long scions in top-working is proved out by experience. If there are only a couple/few buds on the scion then they will all go vegetative and grow into long shoots.  If the scion has many buds generally the ones near the tip will grow out into shoots and the shoot can afford to turn the lower buds into fruiting buds.  I've actually gotten fruit the first year when there were already fruiting buds on the scion.  That kind of precocity is unusual, but it's not unusual to get a few fruits the second year and a good little crop the third year.  Early fruiting can also be encouraged by summer pruning.  Pinching back any vegetative shoots that you don't require to grow long will encourage the formation of fruiting buds near the base of the shoot.  Pinch a little off the tip when it has grown out pretty long and then come along once or twice more during the summer and prune it back yet further.  At the end of the season you end up with a shorter shoot with the lower buds differentiating into fruiting buds.  It seems to work pretty well on many varieties and helps to control the more vigorous growing types so that they don't take over the tree.

At some point !Frankentree! will hit some real world limit as to how many varieties you can practically fit on one tree and still expect to get good fruit from them.  I use the tree somewhat for holding wood I might want later and early on I just wanted apples period.  Now I'm more inclined to use it to test varieties I want to try.  Many rare varieties are very difficult to find samples of for taste testing.  Furthermore, even if you can find them there is no guarantee they will be in their best state, in fact, they usually won't be.  some apples are best off the tree.  Others ripen and improve with storage... some with lots of storage time, some with only a little.  Some years they taste better than others.  Besides, I want to know if the apple does well here and actually tastes good when grown in this climate, or stored until March or April or may.  The Earliest apples on !Frankentree! so far are Red Astrachan in mid to late July and the latest is Lady Williams which should hang into February.  The Jays knocked the last Lady Williams off the tree in mid January and it wasn't ripe yet.  So far the most intriguing apples !Frankentree! has bourne have been Karmijn de Sonneville, Cherry Cox (yes, that's an apple not a pornstar) and Egremont Russet.  I think this year is going to be very fruitful for our mutant friend... if the jay problem is resolved.  I'm trying to think of a human comparison to !Frankentree!, but it's not really possible.  Each variety of apple was originally grown from a seed or occasionally, as in Cherry Cox, was a mutated branch of a particular variety of apple known as a sport... in the case of Cherry Cox it was a mutant branch on a Cox's Orange Pippin tree which is widely thought to be the benchmark in flavor for apples.  You might think I only got Cherry Cox for the name, but really that was only 9 /10th's of it.  It has the complex flavor of Cox family apples with a varying degree of cherry essence in there.  I do like saying Cherry Cox though.  Anyway, each variety is genetically different and has been cloned by grafting cuttings over the years... in some cases hundreds of years.  Court Pendu Gris which I grafted today may be go back as far as the 1300's!  So imagine if people had these little stubs that you could graft bits of other people onto and they would grow into arms identical to those peoples arms.  So a person could have like 84 arms... except the fingers have leaves and are holding apples.  Dude, that shit could totally happen!  !Frankentree! indeed.

Operating on !Frankentree!

UPDATE:  During the 2010 season I had about 30 varieties fruit on frankentree.  Some I had already had before and some were new.  A few were eaten by birds.  I have so far usually added about 20 or 30 new varieties per year, so If good blooming weather prevails this spring, hopes are for a large number of new varieties in the 2011 season.  Some varieties like Connell Red (which looks like just regular fireside to me) and red astrachan are getting grafted over because I'm simply too little impressed by them and need the space.  With many new scions acquired through trade this year I need all the room I can get.


UPDATE FEBRUARY 2012:  One of the risks of putting a lot of varieties collected from random sources onto one tree is the risk of disease transmission.  This spring, sadly, Frankentree was infected with the Apple mosaic virus.  It is a common virus in Apples.  Varieties vary in their susceptibility, but all can carry it.  Susceptible varieties will show chlorotic (having a lack of green chlorophyll) spots on the leaves with may become sunburned in the summer.  The virus doesn't kill the plant, but it can make it less healthy and productive.  By the end of the spring a had 140 unique varieties on Frankentree collected over about 6 years.  All of those are now infected with virus.  Most are replaceable, but a couple like rose pippin and Beccas little pink tart might be difficult to replace.  Regardless, I am unable now to use the wood from frankentree as propagation material for my own use and to trade with others.  I can still use him as a testing ground for the varieties that are already on there, as well as for testing new material that I can reacquire if I decide I like it after it fruits.

Varieties which showed the most symptoms are:

Cherry Cox Ribston Pippin Gold Rush Cameo Netto’s Late Tart Hudson’s Golden Gem Sunrise Allington Pippin Karmijn De Sonneville Connel Red Allen’s Everlasting Cox’s Orange Queen Ambrosia Lady Williams

The better news is that we got 30 or more varieties of apples off of him this year.  We're looking forward to trying even more next year.  I will be thinning out a few losers this year as some material that was put on just to hold it over, and maybe adding a few things to test, but mostly I think Frankentree will become less of a test tree now and slowly be shifted over to just the varieties which prove to do well and taste great.

UPDATE 2014:  I get a lot of different apples off Frankentree every year now.  The Mosaic virus has proved to not be much of a problem and doesn't seem to affect yield or much of anything really.  See also my youtube video introducing Frankentree