Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

1998 ORCHARD REPORTS

October 9, 1999

 

Anchorage – Bob Boyer

 

Although this was a cold spring and summer, I had more varieties of fruit this year. First I had about 2 pints of kiwis and I harvested over 28 quarts of service berries. I didn’t get as many raspberries this year. I bought a “Fall Red” plant this year. I liked them real well. I bought a John’s Prairie gooseberry. It had a few on this year in a nice size.

Sour cherries that produced included Suda Hardy, Earlimont, Mesabi and Galaxy. My Evans didn’t flower this year. The 2 Sam cherries were loaded with blossoms but evidently didn’t get pollinated. Even though they are self-fertile, they must have bees going blossom to blossom to pollinate itself. There were no pear blossoms this year. I bought a few apple trees this year and a couple of them fruited – Wynochee Early, Apricot, Pristine and Summer Mac. Of the other trees I have, Ginger gold died. My Sunrise showed signs of stress and did not fruit. The 15th fruited but this is an off year. (Biannual) Joyce had lots of fruit. Mantet had fruit. Carroll had fruit as well as Collett. Parkland fruited. Centennial crab fruited. I liked that one. Liberty fruited. The Siberian C peach at Keller’s blossomed this year. It is self-fertile and it set about 8 peaches which at this time have not ripened but one is about 2”.

I finally got my acre (in south Anchorage, near Dimond Center — editor) cleared and the stumps pulled and ground up. The fence will go up next spring.

 

FairbanksClair hammers, 10/7/99

 

I had a good year (a little on the dry side). I bloomed about 7-10 days later than normal but the surprising thing was that the fruit ripened 7-10 days earlier. Started irrigating the first week of May and stopped the first week of August. Excellent plums and cherries again this year. Poor pear crop but the apples were great. Two new varieties ripened for the first time. I had seven apples of Prairie Sun and two of NY 394. Prairie Sun (just released from U. of Sask. in 1998) is a good all around apple and fairly early (1st week of Sept) for me. NY 394 is a deep red cooking apple. Also, I had very good saskatoons this year and I harvested a single nut (Hazelbert).

 

Peters Creek—D. Bradley, 10/24/99

 

It was a moderately successful growing year in Peters Creek, Forty-five out of 90 trees bloomed and 33 of these eventually set fruit; by way of comparison, in 1998, 57 out of 78 trees bloomed and 53 of these eventually set fruit. One possible cause was that some trees overset last year and decided to take a year off. Another possible cause was the extended cold snap of the winter of 98-99, which may have killed some blossom buds.

I continue to regard Parkland as my all- around best variety. It fared better than Norland this year, and I like the taste and texture better than Norland, It definitely benefits from thinning. Norland had an off year. Not one tree out of 26 produced as well as it had the year before. There was some minor tip dieback on a few trees. A couple of trees produced fruit that was stunted — the size of a crabapple. Winter injury? I have two trees that supposedly are Rescue. Both did well this year but they are not the same. One produces long, deep red apple-crabs that are fairly big when thinned. The other produces smaller, nearly round apples that are essentially a pale yellowish green with more or less red striping, depending on the amount of direct sunlight each apple received. On the other hand, both trees bloom early, shut down early, the apples have the same tangy taste, crisp texture, and they disintegrate into the same dry mush in a few weeks unless stored in a sealed bag in a very cool place. If these aren’t different varieties, I’d say that at least there are two very distinct strains of Rescue being propagated in the Anchorage area. I see no point in propagating the smaller kind. I got scionwood for both trees locally. My impression of Trailman improved in this, its second year of production. Last year almost every fruit split open during August. This year, although August was just as soggy, only one or two (out of 50-100 apples) split. It ripened about Sept. 25 and seems to keep at least a month in a cool garage. It has a tendency to watercore, and I noticed several watercored apples that had started to ferment. Trailman has a pendulous branching habit. One tree in particular is a real problem: it won’t grow up. Norda ripened for the first time this year (two apples). I wonder if my scionwood was incorrectly labeled or something, because the apples looked and tasted alot like Trailman to me— small, yellow, oblong, tangy taste with a hint of Golden Delicious flavor. Arbor Dale bore about five fruit, but none of them ripened enough to be palatable, even though I was able to hold off the final picking until Oct. 5 or thereabouts — so uncommonly warm has our fall been so far. Yellow Transparent, Heyer 12, Morden 359, and Crimson Beauty all failed to produce; each of them bore fruit in 1998. I lost two young trees to the past winter: Norcue and Yellow Jay, both on Bacatta.

 

Palmer

 

Jay Dearborn of Palmer reported a heavy apple crop. The Dearborns sold 2200 pounds of apples and pressed about 6 gallons of cider.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

—contributed by Bob Boyer

 

  • Agriculture Canada in Ontario is working on genetically transforming apples and cherries to produce a gene which would keep the fruit from browning. Then cherries and apples would not have to be treated with sulphur dioxide when drying.
  • Zesta Apple is now called Zestar.
  • Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Kearneysville, W. Virginia, has developed a dwarf pear and also a columnar peach to be released in a couple of years. This might be a good idea to grow in a heated greenhouse or to put in the garage for the winter and a heated greenhouse in the summer.
  • Add cinnamon to unpasturized cider to stop E-Coli.