by JERROLD KOERNER
December 26, 2001
We are late in getting out our written evaluations on our trials of early ripening apple varieties here at the nursery. Ketchikan experienced another horrible spring, much like the spring of 1999. The apple bloom was delayed more than four weeks, spring temperatures were below normal, and rainfall was at record levels. The first six months of 2001 – January 1 to June 30 – Ketchikan recorded 94 inches of rain. Needless to say, pollination was minimal and none of our cherries or plums produced any fruit. Actually, this was a good year for weeding out the marginal varieties. Any variety that can set and ripen fruit under these conditions must be given credit.
One of these varieties, seldom grown in Alaska, is an old Scottish apple called James Grieve. It set a full crop of large, juicy apples even though they ripened a month later than normal. The only other trees that set a full crop were our old standbys: Akane, Northfield Beauty, Redfree, Williams Pride, and Wynooche Early.