Posts tagged #fruit culture

Lessons from Established Fruit and Nut Trees, Training Mistakes and Remedies

This video is a walk around to look at the lessons that can be learned from some of my fruit and nut trees that have been growing for a while. Between careful and not so careful training, lack of training, regular maintenance or neglect, we can see how things go right or wrong and how important early shaping and training are to avoid future problems. I also taste some Lady Williams Apples off the tree, still good in March! These apples, while especially late this year, demonstrate I think that it will be possible to eventually have apple varieties that routinely hang on through winter and ripen in spring. Two new terms I’ve coined are Winter Hanging Apples and now Spring Hanging Apples, because these are classifications we need, beyond winter apples or storage apples. Next steps in that direction are finding more winter hangers and spring hangers if possible and making intentional crosses between them for new seedlings. Another step is simply promoting the idea and phenomenon in general, which will be easier as more of them are discovered or created. Also important is to test more of these apples in various climates to see how cold they can go, or how other climate factors affect them.

The long reach pruner I’m using in this video is a pretty neat tool. It is not cheap, but it can nearly obviate a ladder if trees are pruned yearly and are under 15 feet tall. That is pretty a major boon, especially if trees are spread out like they are here on myu homestead. I rarely use a ladder to prune anymore. They are also still cheaper than a good orchard ladder, even an 8 foot one. They can cut green wood up to about 3/4 inch if cut at an angle. For older people (or those that will be older soon lol) it could save a lot of clumsy ladder moving and setting up and ultimately could prevent a fall and the complications that often come with broken bones past 70. We got my mom one and I’m going to try to convince my 82 year old friend to get one. He is still climbing rickety old step ladders in the backyard. There is a short review on my amazon store page and full video review coming soon.

Apple Mosaic Virus, Susceptible Varieties in My Collection


Having a lot of apple varieties gives me a chance to make some observations.  One of those observations is which varieties show signs of apple mosaic virus and which do not.  I can make this observation because I have a tree with many varieties that is infected with the virus.  The disease virus is systemic, so any variety grafted to that tree has it.  However, only a certain percentage will actually show it.  I went through the whole collection and observed which varieties show symptom of the disease. 

Of approximately 150 different apple varieties on !Frankentree!, the following are those that show visible signs of the mottling effect on the leaves that can be induced by the virus, also noted is the degree to which they are affected this year:

  • Rubinette, Medium
  • Katherine, High
  • Red Astrachan, High
  • Sam Young, Medium
  • Cherry Cox, Low
  • Sweet Sixteen, Medium
  • Lyman's Summer, Low
  • Pitmaston Pineapple, Medium
  • Hudson's Golden Gem, Medium
  • Pink Parfait, Medium
  • Kandil Sinap, Medium
  • Whitney Crab, Low
  • Bullock's Pippin, Low
  • Mollie's Delicious, High
  • Ribston Pippin, Low
  • Cox's Orange Pippin, Low

There are also 3 or more varieties on the tree which are unlabeled, but affected.  All information considered, it would appear from the limited data I have that something in the neighborhood of 15% of varieties show signs of infection.  Walking around the rest of the property, I see no other trees that show any sign of infection, including the the varieties that are on the above list, but which are also growing as separate trees or cordons.  Most of those duplicates were either grafted a long time ago, or I went out of my way to source scions from elsewhere.  Also, there is none of the disease in my apple seedlings, which is expected, since the virus is not transmitted in the seed.


I don't know a lot about the pathology of the disease.  The only way I can tell a tree has it is if the leaves turn partly white or cream colored and some leaves will turn partially brown and crispy as well, possibly from sunburning on the white parts?  I have seen branches affected pretty strongly, but over all Frankentree seems healthy and vigorous and bears well on good years.  Apparently, it also affects other species. 

I think that the free trading of scions by fruit enthusiasts must be contributing to the spread of Apple Mosaic Virus.  I don't send out scions of anything that I know is infected unless it's so rare that it can't be obtained anywhere else, and the receiver is aware of the disease status of the material.  I would suggest that others do the same.  Even so, since something like over 80% of varieties show no sign of infection, it is likely that we will end up trading scions that are infected anyway.  it is possible to graft a very susceptible variety onto a tree to see if it shows signs, but I would let it grow for more than one season before assuming the host tree is clean.  Other than that, it is probably going to continue to proliferate among fruit collectors.