Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

ORCHARD REPORT 1996

October 9, 1996

 

by Helen Butcher

(Received July 8, 1996)

 

The Golden Transparents received for Mothers Day 1986 have had a steady, not always consistent production. Several years ago I started culling down to two left on each group with resulting larger, regular-sized apples. Maybe the weather played a part? The trees are in the open with only the early morning sun shadows from my neighbors’ houses. Eating these apples reminds me of the summer apples picked off our trees in June in the Issaquah-Bellevue area. One year I left them on the trees too long, so they were soft and didn’t keep. I then started picking earlier. Stored with paper towels between the rows, or with a separate section for each, they are handy in the refrigerator.

 

The last year, there have been a lot of leaf rollers, which spread from my currants. Karl Franke last year finally settled oil cutting the roiled leaves, but if the trees don’t have lots of foliage, that can be a problem. Caught unaware too late, Malathion spray helped but did not solve the problem. I also have been snipping those 1 can reach. Karl says he lost about half of his trees this year(?), but all mine survived, with some poor pruning by the moose who come every morning.

 

I had a disaster last year with my Beacon. Completely defoliated with no fruit — I thought it was a goner. Perhaps I may have mistakenly watered it with some chemical residue. This year it bloomed, but half of the tree has decided to give up, while the other half has leaves and small apples, so maybe it will survive.

 

Another crabapple over ten years old was saved from destruction by blooming, with three or four blossoms, ft has yellow falling leaves every year, but still manages to keep a lot of the green. This year I watered it more than usual. My big crabapple had large fruit last year, two inches in diameter, very sweet. No doubt because of our late warm weather, and my decision to leave them on longer. Because I wasn’t enthusiastic about jam, I cooked the cut-up apples, added cinnamon, and froze them in half-pint containers. Putting the cooked apples on toast was very tasty, without the sweetness of frozen or cooked jam. Wine making was attempted a couple of years ago, but the bottle I received was not drinkable and was poured out. Should have saved it for flavoring.

 

The earthworms underneath the apple trees when first weeding were sprightly, but most of any others I saw were lethargic and appeared half dead. Since we’ve had such a dry summer, maybe they are surviving underground. Gifted a few when giving away raspberry bushes. Have so far no slugs and one early cutworm when the soil was turned over. As soon as sign of slugs shows up when we get rains, I put out boards which they like to hid under, turn over, and spray ammonia water which dissolves them. Or, dip in a jar of ammonia water. Getting them early reduces their impact later in the summer, I have found.

 

To end this story, thanks to Bob Boyer for pruning my trees this year. And for successfully grafting because my friend bought a “Butcher Golden Transparent” from the apple growers’ grafting party.