Apple and Pear Scion Wood

scions in basket, small.jpg
scions in basket, small.jpg

Apple and Pear Scion Wood


In most cases, a scion will do two grafts with two viable buds on it and in some cases 3 grafts. BITE ME! in particular, I’d like to distribute as widely as possible, so one per person on that variety please.

A note about disease.  None of these varieties are guaranteed disease or virus free.  Apple mosaic virus is very common and most varieties show no signs at all when infected.  It is very difficult to index every tree as virus free and it is difficult or impossible to obtain guaranteed virus free wood of most varieties, so potential exposure is a fact of life for fruit collectors.  The good news is that it is not usually much of a problem in most varieties, at least as far as I can tell.  I have it in my frankentree and only a pretty small percentage of varieties are affected and none of those to the point that they don't produce.  I don't knowingly send out any diseased or virus infected wood, but with it's high prevalence among apple collector/traders, I would not be in the least surprised if some of the wood I have available here has apple mosaic virus.  If you graft an infected scion onto a framework tree, the whole tree will be infected and you shouldn't trade scions off that tree.  Search Apple Mosaic Virus for more information.

I don't necessarily recommend all of these, I just have them.  Any of them may or may not be suitable to various climates as well, so I encourage people to do further research using google with the words > (apple name) apple variety < for instance, >  Golden Russet Apple Variety<, or talking to local growers.

SIZE:  Most scions will be about 7 to 10 inches, which is enough to do at least two grafts, sometimes 3.  Some varieties, like Allen's Everlasting, will tend to grow very short and stubby with closely spaced buds, so they may be shorter.  The diameter will vary.  Some varieties just don't grow very much or have naturally skinny scions.  Price reflects scion size, with small diameter scions being cheaper.  If it's cheap, it's either short or skinny.  I don't send out anything I wouldn't graft, but beginners may have lower success rate with skinny scions.  If the cuts are clean and flat, cleft grafting skinny scions usually works.

See the Grafting index page of this site for an index of information I have put out on grafting.

Select varieties and add them to the cart at the bottom of this page.

Mother:  Massachusetts 1840's Late August (here in sunny California) into September.  Consistently highly regarded in old writings and even adopted by the English.  "For dessert uses, Mother is one of the finest of all the varieties of apples. If kept in a cool place for a few days after picking to insure proper maturity, it becomes one of the most delightful of dessert fruits. Its richly aromatic subacid flavor is relished by the majority of persons, and should satisfy the most exacting tastes. In this condition it is also exceptionally good for all culinary uses, especially for pie and as a baked apple." (Varieties of apples in Ohio, By William James Green)  I can't say it's quite that good here yet, but it is promising no doubt.  I taste it here in this video.

Kerry's Irish Pippin:  An Irish apple from early 1800's.  August.  Very richly flavored for an early apple.  Fruity flavor.  It is a tip bearer.  Smallish apples usually have a sharply raised ridge down one side of the apple.  It can be quite good here and only bested by really excellent apples.  Probably has more potential in cooler climates than here.  A favorite of my friends at The Apple Farm in Philo California.  "An excellent Autumn fruit, of Irish origin, but now commonly seen in the London markets. It is scarcely rivalled, in its season, for high flavour, richness, and beauty." Pomologia Britannica, 1841Small scions discounted for size.  Tasting video here

Wickson:  a very small prolific apple with some crab apple heritage.  It has a unique difficult to describe rich flavor, which is possibly somewhat savory.  Extremely high sugar content, allegedly up to 25% (a friend has measured it up to 23%!).  It may actually be too intense for out of hand eating for some people, but most will find it a favorite.  When asked during a talk what apples to plant long time apple grower Tim Bates said without hesitation "Wickson, Wickson, Wickson."   He also said that it invariably ends up being the favorite of every crop of interns they have on the farm each season.  Bred by Northern California apple breeder Albert Etter early in the 20th century.  His gamble with crab apple genetics paid off with what will probably continue to be considered his greatest contribution to apples.  He named it after his friend the great California Agronomist, author and editor E.J. Wickson, author of California fruits, which shows the esteem in which he held it.  Plant Breeder Luther Burbank also named a fruit after Wickson, the Wickson plum.  A must try apple which also makes great cider and juice.  I have used it as breeding stock and my Seedling apple BITE ME! is one of it’s offspring.  I suspect that if people planted even open pollinated seeds of wickson widely, some amazing varieties would result.  More here.

Vanilla Pippin:  A seedling which has been circulating in recent years.  The name is intriguing, though I haven't found the apple to be any good here.  It does have a somewhat intriguing mild sugar candy flavor if well ripened, but nothing special.  Seems to ripen slowly.  The scion wood is much requested, so I include it here, even though I would not personally grow it and will be removing it from my trial rows. I believe it is a seedling of Pink Pearl, but I don’t quote me on that.

Early Harvest:  This apple had a pretty high reputation in the old days.  I have not been impressed as a dessert apple at all, though it is more of an early cooker, a category which is much less valued now than it used to be. Considering it's great reputation in the past, it may be worth trying.  One of my earliest to ripen.  "...taking into account its beauty, its excellent qualities for the dessert and cooking, and its productiveness, we think it the finest early apple yet known. It begins to ripen about the first of July, and continues in use all that month." (fruits and fruit trees of North America A.J. Downing 1845)

Sweet 16:  This is a pretty, bubble gum smacking precocious girl of an apple.  It often has intense candy like flavors including bubble gum, almond, anise and cherry, though the flavor varies considerably from year to year and even apple to apple.  Sometimes it seems like the best most delicious thing ever and other times it is just annoying and cloying and I want it to get out of my face.  When it goes overripe, it is terrible, mealy, and as my friend put it, "everything I don't like in an apple".  My other favorite quote is from a girlfriend "It's like holy shit what's going on in my mouth?!".  Short window of eating.  Probably great breeding potential.  A modern UofM apple supposed to have some disease resistance.  Mid season.  More here

BITE ME!:  THERE ARE NOT VERY MANY OF THESE, AND I WANT TO DISTRIBUTE AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE, SO PLEASE ORDER ONLY ONE UNLESS YOU ARE ORDERING FOR A FRIEND TOO. :)   Named with of all the people that say you can't grow apples from seed in mind, this open pollinated Wickson seedling is my first seedling apple to bear fruit.  It has mild but pleasant flavors.  Think melon and sugar cane. It has some of the special flavor of Wickson too though, or at least it did this year.  I was quite encouraged by it's flavor this year and suspect that it may develop further in quality as the tree matures.  This variety should be considered in the experimental or testing phase and I would love to get feedback on it from people around the country over the next ten years or so.  Normally I would hold apple seedlings for longer to assess them, but I wanted to release this one right away, both because it is much better than just edible and I consider it something of a poster child for the increasing movement toward seeding, breeding and general proliferation of apple diversity that is afoot.  I'm all about encouraging that movement and this apple, being my very first seedling, flies in the face of the common myth that apples successfully grown from seed are only one in thousands.  Only time and experience in varied conditions will show it's true potential, disease susceptibility or resistance, and how much it is liked by others.  I’m releasing this variety into the public domain, so there are no restrictions on the growth, propagation or sale of BITE ME!  In fact, I'd like to see it as widely grown, propagated and sold as possible and the bundle of scions I have this year is the beginning of that!   More here on the official BITE ME! page which please feel free to share widely!

Gold Rush:  from the PRI Illinois breeding program..  This is a favorite with a lot of home growers.  Supposed to have some disease resistance.  It is a later apple, which improves in storage.  A friend recently said it was the best apple he ever tasted, and that was out of storage in March!  Hasn't been my favorite due to slight banana flavor, but I'm giving it some time and planning some storage experiments.  Other flavors are similar to one of it's parents Golden Delicious (which can be quite good BTW, though a good one in the stores is a rare thing), but with spicy undertones.  Probably a great selection to try out for a long keeper given it's tremendous popularity with fruit enthusiasts.

Golden Russet:  This old American variety is the finest Russet apple I’ve ever eaten and is partly responsible for beginning my obsession with apples.  It is undergrown and underappreciated.  The flavor is intense and complex with a great sugar acid balance and very high sugar levels.  It was used to make hard cider, for cooking and as a superlative dessert apple.  It is not the most well behaved tree tending to grow rangy and bear at the tips somewhat.  I think it might be best to let it grow for the most part and do occasional remedial pruning, rather than taking the Ritalin approach and trying to make it conform to some sort of neat well behaved tree that it doesn’t want to be.  I’m still figuring it out.  I have terrible luck with this variety.  Between packrats and bears I never get to eat any.

Whitwick Pippin:  This is a late hanging apple of very rich flavor and which seems promising.  You can read more about it on Nigel Deacon’s website.  I already think it’s promising enough to use as breeding stock for breeding late keeping, late hanging apples.  Sorry only 4 thin scions available this year.  It seems to be a weak grower.  Tasting video here.

King David:  This is certainly in my top five for growing here.  It has a reputation as a hot weather and southern apple, which also requires very little chill.  It is richly flavored like spicy cider and gets quite sweet when it is at it’s peak of eating quality.  It is also a beautiful apple, keeps well and makes excellent hard cider.  I’ve seen in many times now suffer terrible drought and still pull off a crop of tasty fruit.  The only real problem I’ve had with it is that it tends to bear in alternate years..  That might be improved with regular care, regular pruning and fruit thinning.  My cider making (and drinking) friend Tim Bray’s refrain is “more king david!”  I’m inclined to agree.  When asked about Gold Rush variety, Apple grower Tim Bates said, “it’s no Wickson or King David, but it’s very, very good.” More here

Pitmaston Pineapple:  I don’t know a lot about this apple.  It hasn’t actually performed well here in sunny California far from its cool damp homeland of Britain, but the descriptions are so compelling that I figured I’d list the few scions I have anyway.  Says Stephen Hayes… “The flavour is eyebrow raising, it really does taste of pineapples, you won't believe it until you try. Rich, honeyed and sweet. One of the rarest apples there is, and one of my favorites. Unreliable cropper, always needs thinning, relatively prone to scab and canker, in fact the only thing this apple has going for it is that it has an absolutely fantastic flavor. Season October-November”

Newtown Pippin:  When I was a little kid, there were three apples in the store, red, yellow and green.  This was before Granny Smith was popularized and the green apple of the day with Newtown Pippin, a very old and revered American variety.  It was so loved in England where it was difficult to grow that it was exported fresh in barrels on sailing ships to supply a demand there.  In spite of being quite common, few people have tasted a ripe one.  Like Granny Smith now, they are picked totally unripe and sold and eaten unripe.  It has a reputation as a sterling keeper and develops flavor in storage.  Scions are on the skinny side as that is how it tends to grow.

Zabbergau Reinette:  This variety has grown on me over the last couple of seasons.  It is a large russeted apple, but not really a classic russet flavorwise.  It is quite sharp.  Nothing sensational, but good eating if you like a sharp apple.  Tasting video here. 

Ashmead’s Kernel: A very highly rated English dessert russet. Should be tried in every extensive heirloom collection.

Maypole: A small crab apple with deep red flesh. The bark, flowers, leaves and wood are also shades of red and pink. it is a primitive apple with lots of tannin and not super sweet, but has intensely flavored and very red flesh. The tree is very small dwarfed in habit, with a fairly columar form, so the mature trees are only about 2 feet in diameter and maybe 12 feet tall or so.

Bartlett pear: This is very common on old homesteads because it’s a survivor. It is resistant to fireblight, productive, tasty and early. Very solid variety for practical home production.

Passe Crassane: This is a really neat winter pear. It is picked hard, stored in a cool shed or cellar and brought out into the warmth to ripen as needed. Very Excellent old french pear.

Yarlington Mill: A famous old cider apple from England. Alleged to make a good single variety cider.

Gravenstein: a famous old early season apple. Makes great pies and sauce.

Mere Pippin: Very rare in the U.S. upright growing tree, late hanging/ripening. Seems to have nice flavor.

Steele Red Winter (aka Red Canada): Late keeping winter apple.

Mannington Pearmain: Doesn’t do well here, but highly thought of elsewhere.

Waltana: Bred by Albert Etter and named after his brother and sister in law, walt and Anna. Late ripening and hangs into early winter. Very well liked in Northern California by those who grow it. My experience is still limited, but it was very promising this year.

Suntan: This is a cross between cox’s orange pippin and Corp Pendu Plat, both very flavorful apples. It is very late keeping and intensely flavored often with some pineapple and tropical flavor.

Rubinette: Another cox’s Orange Pippin offspring. Very popular with fruit enthusiasts. Flavorful with good acid/sugar balance.

Heck yeah I want this!