by Dwight Bradley
The Burgundy apple is a large, red, relatively new variety that has some promise as a commercial variety in the colder apple-growing parts of upstate New York and northern New England, and southern Quebec. Pam Warner reports that her Burgundy tree ripened its .first fruit this past growing season — probably a first in south-central Alaska. The tree has quite a history. I got Burgundy scion wood in. 1992 from the New York State Cooperative Fruite. Testers group in Geneva, NY. I grafted several Burgundy trees — including the one that Pam now has — onto Antonovka rootstock. I had more of these than I needed, and gave one, in a pot, to Eric Simpson, who gave it to Pam Warner when he moved away a year or two later. It is now seven-and-a-half feet tall, planted at the southwestern corner of her house (2-3 feet from the building, which Pam thinks is a little too close). The fruit (three apples), when picked in late September, was large, red, with some green on the shoulders, and the seeds were not quite fudy brown. The taste was sweet with tart overtones. I think Burgundy would be worthy of further testing, but it will need some special conditions like Pam’s: southern exposure, close to a house or fence The other Burgundy/Antonovka trees that I grafted in 1992 and planted in my unfavorable spot in Peters Creek have been dead for a few years now A grower I know in a cold Zone 3 location in northeastern Vermont is very enthusiastic about Burgundy. It might do well in Haines.
Bob Boyer found out that a topworked branch of Wolf River also produced for the first time this past growing season. The basic tree, located in the backyard of Tony Route, is a large Siberian crab that was probably planted in the 1920 s. It is in the next yard north of the “8th & M” tree that has been mentioned in several past newsletters. Bob Boyer topworked several varieties, including Wolf River, onto this crab about four years ago. The Wolf River has bloomed before, but this is the first year that it set fruit. Tony Route reported that it was huge (3 5 inches), but did not mention anything about how ripe or edible it was. In northern New Hampshire, Wolf River ripens in late September, about 5 weeks after Yellow Transparent, and for that reason I’ve always doubted that it will ripen in Anchorage. It is generally described as a cooking apple, but in my experience, fresh-picked Wolf Rivers are excellent for fresh eating.