Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

FRONT AND CENTER: CLAIR LAMMERS

March 12, 1990

Chapter member Clair Lammers has been in touch with me a few times over the past two months and has written down some of the things he is testing in a very favorable microclimate close to Fairbanks. During the nine years he has kept records, it has yet to go below -32 F at his location, which is somewhere between 800 and 1100 feet above sea level.

Clair is currently growing 93 varieties of apple and applecrab trees at his location, with the ‘Ranetka’ crabapple being his preferred rootstock. Of these, 44 have survived three or more winters and of those, four have fruited. Those which have survived include not just the ‘Nor’ series apples and applecrabs like ‘Heyar #12’, ‘Kerr’, and ‘Rescue’ but also some apples whose suitability to Fairbanks might not be obvious: ‘Crimson Beauty’, ‘Duchess’, ‘Early Harvest’, ‘Geneva Early’, ‘Honeygold’, ‘Jerseymac’, ‘Lodi’, livland Raspberry’, ‘Mantet’, NY 651’, and ‘NY 652’, ‘Red Astrachan’, ‘Red Duchess’, ‘State Fair’, ‘Sweet’, ‘Trail’, ‘Tydemann Early’, ‘Westland’ and ‘Yellow Transparent’. ‘Heyer #12’ was ripe for him on Aug 26, followed by ‘Dolgo’ and ‘Rescue’ on September 2 and by ‘Parkland’ on Sept 4, 1988.

Clair’s evaluations are not confined to apples. He is growing various Prunus cultivars on Prunus padus (European birdcherry) and on chokecherry trees.

Cherries currently grafted include ‘Meteor’, ‘North Star’, and ‘Montmorency’; cherry plums, ‘Compass’, ‘Sapalta’ and ‘Red Diamond’; and plums, ‘LaCrescent, and ‘Underwood’. Sand cherry, Nanking cherry, and ground cherry (Prunus fruticosa) grafts are also to be found growing on the P. padus rootstock. In 1988, Clair had Nanking cherries ripe on August 26, and sand cherries on Sept 4.

His ‘Pixwell’ gooseberries were ripe August 16. He reports vigorous growth on the ‘Pixwells’, plus Nanking and sand cherries in 1988.

For pears, he has ‘Hudar’ and ‘Stacey’ growing on Pyrus communis. St Lawrence Nursery, being the source. ‘Harrow Delight’ and ‘Harvest Queen’ are growing on OH x F.333 rootstocks; however his pears were only planted in 1988.

Concerning apricots, none but the Manchurians have survived more than one winter for him. He is currently waiting to see how two apricots, ‘Montrose’ and ‘M2’, will survive the present winter.

The most amazing thing he mentioned, however, was that several ‘Concord’ grapevines had overwintered 1987-88 with nothing more for protection than snow. The “bottom line”, of course, will be written this May or June when he sees what has survived this winter.

—R. Purvis

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