Varietal Apple Pollen for Cross Pollination/Breeding

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Varietal Apple Pollen for Cross Pollination/Breeding

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If your apple blossoms are still unopened, there is still time to cross pollinate.  This is pollen from a few select varieties that I've used in breeding new apples.  Applying this pollen to the unopened flowers of your favorite variety will create a new variety of some kind.  It might be good and it might be great!(um and it might kind of suck :-/ )  There are numerous ways to make the pollinations.  None are particularly hard, though some are kind of fiddly.  Watch my video on making pollinations.  I have kept pollen at room temperature and used it the following year, but I can't say whether that is a good idea of not and don't recommend it.  If there seems to be interest, I'll do this again next year.

This is fresh apple pollen from this year dried in small vials to be used for cross pollination.  Each vial contains the male parts (stamens) of 10 unopened flowers.  The blossoms are selected in the balloon stage, before they open so that no cross contamination with other apple varieties is possible.  The petals are removed the the pollen bearing bits of the flower are removed and dried slowly.  As they dry, the pollen is released.  Ten flowers on a good pollen producing variety produces a lot of pollen and can pollinate many flowers.  10 flowers worth is probably overkill for most people. 

Gold Rush.  Don't be put off by any of my reviews of Gold Rush.  I'm not a huge fan because it has some banana flavor that I don't like.  I'm pretty sure I'm overly sensitive to that flavor and many people say they can't taste it at all..  It is a truly outstanding apple for richness and keeping quality.  It is highly rated and even a favorite to many.  It combines long keeping quality, firm texture and high flavor with considerable disease resistance.  quotes from the PRI breeding program page on this apple:

'GoldRush' is the tenth apple cultivar developed by the cooperative breeding program of the Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Stations (Crosby et al., 1992). Fruiting has been observed at various locations in the United States, including the Purdue Univ. Horticultural Research Farm for 13 years and Rutgers Univ. for 3 years.

The fruit is characterized by a complex, rich spicy flavor with a high degree of acidity and sweetness. Acidity moderates in cold storage, resulting in exceptional overall quality after 2 to 3 months. The apple retains its complex sprightly flavor and crisp, firm texture for at least 7 months at 1 C. The cultivar has been rated consistently as the highest quality apple after storage of all selections or cultivars tested at Purdue Univ. The fruit produces little cuticular wax and does not become greasy even after 7 months in storage. Moisture content of the fruit will need to be managed by various methods to prevent dehydration in storage, but even when shriveling occurs, the flesh texture remains crisp. Fruit thinning will be required to produce large fruit.

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Sweet 16:  This is a newer variety from the University of Minnesota breeding program.  It has intense flavor and high sugar.  The flavors include cherry, "candy" or maybe bubblegum, anise, almond and can be sometimes amazing and other times cloying or too sensational and unbalanced.  Sweet 16 does not keep particularly well and when past it's prime it can be really terrible.  Eating a good one is an experience.  I have used it as a parent quite a bit because I want to see how the genes that produce those flavors might manifest when crossed with other apples, like the cherry flavored Cox's Orange Pippin sport Cherry Cox.  It is claimed to have some resistance to apple scab, cedar rust and fireblight.

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Kerry's Irish Pippin:  This old variety makes small fruits with exceptionally rich flavor for a summer ripening apple (august here).  It is not my favorite summer apple, but I used it a lot for breeding this year because it is very good and has some excellent attributes.  The fruits usually have a distinct line or raised ridge up the side.  It is very highly regarded in the old literature and generally recieved unanimous praise.

20S5—Apple Kerry Pippin (Inquirer). —The rage for size and colour seems to be on the increase, and smaller and less attractive Apples like Kerry Pippin are in danger of being almost neglected. For private use there is no comparison between, say, Worcester Pearmain and Kerry Pippin ; the former is unquestionably the more valuable variety for sale, but the latter is infinitely superior In flavour, and is just the size most people like for dessert. As a bush tree this variety is very' prolific, rarely failing to bear a crop, and on a light, warm soil the fruit attains a lovely colour on the sunny side. Very few varieties of Apples will equal this for flavour in its seasonSeptember—and any intending planters will do well to add this delicious little Apple to their collection. By all means plant a tree of Kerry Pippin.   Gardening illustrated, Volume 18, 1897

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Grenadine:  grenadine is an apple that could use some work, but has some promising genes.  It was developed by apple breeder Albert Etter and named by Greenmantle Nursery.  It has deep pink flesh running to red when very ripe.  the flavor is probably the most intense of the etter reds that I've tasted, reminding of fruit punch and berries.  It is a reliable cropper, though ripening is uneven and drops are somewhat of an issue.  By the time it reaches high flavor and color (which are the same thing) the texture generally goes off.  It is a genetic gamble, but I've gambled on it a lot in my own breeding efforts.  Albert Etter didn't shy away from gambling on primitive apple genes and his efforts really paid off.  His choice to pursue the improvement of red fleshed apples was a challenging endeavor that needed more work.  We can continue that work with the genes in apples like Grenadine.

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