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 Old, wonderful unidentified apple needs name and propagation 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:23 pm
Posts: 1
Post Old, wonderful unidentified apple needs name and propagation
I have an apple tree on my property that is at least 25 years old (things grow slowly in alaska)

it is medium size, pale green with a red blush, extremely hardy and relatively early-bearing

the unusual part is that the apple, which is very tart, is DRY inside, so dry i got literally 1 tbs of juice out of an apple. It has an almost...spongey quality. Terrible for eating, but hands down best baking apple ever, as it keeps its shape and never water-logs, so no need for fillers like cornstarch or flour in pies. It is a great keeper too.

A neighbor suggested that it is a Ballarat apple. any other ideas?

I really like this apple and want to make a copy of it, possibly even propagate it and give it to apple-loving folk, as i'm sure its an unusual variety. How do you clone an apple tree? Should I get professional help to graft it?


Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:32 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1154
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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liabobia; I'm sorry I don't recognize your apple variety, but if I were to hunt for it, I'd start with the earliest of varieties - assuming those are what would consistently ripen in Alaska?

"How do you clone an apple tree?" You don't really want to 'clone them.' I've heard it said that you can propagate apples from 'cuttings,' but you'd loose the necessary rootstock that is far better at withstanding (and often used for 'dwarfing') harsh soil conditions. Rootstock, which is often a thorny primitive ancestor to the 'modern' fruiting cultivars, is what you graft your desired variety to. You can of course graft it to an existing tree as well, same idea, only bigger 'rootstock.'

"Should I get professional help to graft it?" Had you been 'down' here on Saturday, and the HOS Scion Exchange, you could have paid $3 to have 'one of us' graft it for you... You'd have had to buy the rootstock, $4 or so - plus the price of admission, but for the additional $3 (the scions, or desired variety were free) - have had a tree! I know you can mail-order rootstock, but I'm not sure about the possibility of sending 'your' scion wood to a nursery that 'custom grafts,' and them sending you back the finished product..? Anyone know of such a thing?

If you've a large enough community, you might put out a request for a local grafter - but don't hold your breath... Here's my Self-sufficient-Alaskan advice: you will have to save some 'wood' from the apple tree you described, as well as come up with one rootstock per desired tree. When you prune your tree, take the one year old 'sucker shoots' (growing strait up) and save about 8 - one foot pieces (wrapped in damp newspaper and twist-tied in a bread bag) in your refrigerator. Take the rest and start practicing the slanting cuts you're gonna need to 'splice' those parts together. Search online (there are plenty) for a site that shows how to make a 'whip & tongue' graft (it may also be called other names..). After your rootstock arrives, practice some more, then do it to both scion and rootstock, wrap with 'whatever,' plant in a garden location, and tell us what happens - or doesn't.

In your case, it sounds as if you could give away as many trees as you come up with - I'd order 5 or so rootstocks (look for a bundled price break), and whittle away! After grafting more trees than I could keep track of yesterday at the event mentioned above - it's hard to 'make' you do it yourself ... but isn't that the Alaskan cost of admission - but be careful :wink:

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Sun Mar 05, 2006 10:03 pm
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