-by Dwight Bradley
For those who have producing apple trees, this is a good time of year to watch for particularly desirable branches for propagation. Whereas new apple varieties result from seedlings, many improved strains of existing varieties have come from observant growers who notice something different on one branch of a tree. For example, redder fruit, larger fruit, pronounced calyx lobes, abundant spurs, and so on.
Although there are no large-scale apple breeding efforts in Alaska, bud sports are one potential way to quickly improve our lot as apple growers. So keep an eye out for branches with particularly larger Norlands, Parklands, Rescues, and so on. Flag them now to be cut for scionwood next spring.