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 kneeling apple tree 
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Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:22 am
Posts: 13
Post kneeling apple tree
Wow, :roll: one of my favorite apple trees has suffered a severe set back, and i want to try to save it. I have a tree that was originally King, but i top grafted it to Roxbury Russet 20 years ago. It has made us some really fine hard cider. Its origin predates me so i don't know the rootstock or age but it was a stout 20 feet tall 20 years ago. this last fall we had an unusual wind while the tree was fully loaded with fruit and it came down. It must have happened in slow motion because none of the not-quite-ripe apples fell off. (Many apples remained attached while touching the grass.) A large scaffold limb stopped it from going much past 45 degrees. the apples continued to ripen and we got 17 gallons of cider from it.

so i've gathered some scion to top graft my scabby Jonagold tree over to Roxbury Russet, but in the mean time I'm hoping to keep the kneeling tree as long as it will be productive. I've cut back some of the low branches and placed a flat rock under the knee so it won't root or sink down in the dirt any farther. Does any of this make sense? Does anyone have experience keeping a crippled tree?
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Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:44 am
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 420
Location: SW Washington
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
What a beautiful tree. I bet it will be putting out apples for years to come.


Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:49 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1163
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
I’ve a leaning Gravenstein apple tree that’s been propped in one way or another for most of it’s life. Twas my favorite tree as a kid - cuz with a running start I’d sprint right up its trunk! …I’d say it’s now 90 years in, and I’ve a photo of my Grandmother at approximately age 16 sitting in front of it … many years ago

Image

I’ve also stood trees back up. Assuming they’ve broken, thus lost some root structure on the ‘far side,’ I’d also prune them a bit heavier (right now) as there will be less stored energy returning from the root system.

But propped up, the tree you’ve pictured should continue to live and produce. I wouldn’t depend on that old scaffold limb to brace it for long …but the remainder of the tree looks great, and likely well worth saving.

Hey – I’m envious of those blueberry plants in the background …nice stand :P

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Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:49 am
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1369
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
I have had many trees lean over. I wait until the ground is soaked with water (or make it so) and push it back. It has always worked for me. I usually push it back before it hits the ground all the way.

What is really difficult is when the tree snaps off below the graft. Then it's just rootstock. :(
JOhn S
PDX OR


Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:04 pm
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Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:22 am
Posts: 13
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
Thanx for your words of encouragement. We did a wassail on the 17th, lit a candle and spilled some cider on this tree, so we're very hopeful.


Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:12 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Camas, Washington
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
Two of my apple trees have leaned over during ice storms when the ground was wet. I left one as-is since I am going to cut it down. With the other, I drove a T-post deep into the ground and used a come-a-long to winch it back upright, then secured it with sturdy ropes attached to more buried T-posts. I was very careful with the winching because I did not want to break the tree. Once I had it as tight as I was comfortable with, I would go out a day after every heavy rain and winch it up a couple of clicks. I did that until it was fully upright.

I also have a huge old english walnut which also fell during an ice storm. At first I thought it was dead, but it is still very much alive - just horizontal. It made for the coolest kid play structure in the neighborhood. We later built a tree house on/in it.

Dave


Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:41 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1163
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
Good work, Dave. I actually used a 2.25 ton floor jack on that big Gravenstein apple tree … groaning, creaking, then shifting ‘sideways’ - I thought it was going to break the jack! I’ve massive ‘solid poured’ concrete blocks under it now, and just gave it a serious pruning …with some chainsaw work 8)

Here in Yamhill County, McMinnville was once known as ‘Walnut City.’ Back in the Columbus Day storm of 62 I’m told it pretty much wiped out that industry as hundreds of walnut trees had been laid over. Half were stood up, the rest were removed. …now they’re vineyards.

A passed friend from a pioneer family described her father as having made a lot of money that winter using his tractor to sand up English walnut trees around the area. Nearly all of those orchards are gone, with only scattered trees … and their tell-tale graft unions on Black walnut rootstock. Yup, between Filberts and Grapes, Walnuts are history around here :|

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Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:22 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Camas, Washington
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
Interesting history on the walnuts, Viron. Our tree is about 3 feet in diameter so I think it must be quite old. Our whole neighborhood used to be orchards, mostly plums (the area is called "Prune Hill"). There are still a few old fruit trees here and there.

Here is some interesting history on the prune industry that used to thrive here:
http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/mar/ ... rune-past/

I like the part about some lucky young woman being crowned the "Prune Queen".


Last edited by davem on Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:19 am, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:51 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1163
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
Dave,

That was well done, and I had to also laugh at this line: “…and the Prunarians, led by their much revered “Big Prune,” would host a wide variety of prune-related events.

The comments following the article from readers were also interesting. It sounds as though prunes were a going industry clear to Salem … and I’d have thought out here in Yamhill County we were at the heart of it!

Timber for 70 years now, I’ve some neighboring property that had once been a prune orchard. I remember noticing stumps until around 25 years ago. In fact, my dad would drive us out from Portland to ‘raid’ an abandoned orchard just up the hill from where I’m at, then back to town to split – pit and can them by the quart. Actually, though we’d buy dried ‘prunes,’ I ate the majority of them canned, which I prefer over dried, though fresh is best!

My grandmother had an Italian prune tree in Portland …that was the only good thing about school starting … biking to grandmas to gorge on fresh prunes. I remember how proud I felt being turned loose on that tree to ‘prune’ it. Sold and gone, I’ve not been able to get a prune tree to last more than 3 years out here. A passed friend and local orchardist told me there are nematodes of some kind that survive in the ground where prune orchards have been and will instantly attack the rootstock of a new tree – and that the only way to grow them locally is to plant a seed. I guess they do grow fairly true to seed … though I’ve not been that patient. Having removed three trees over a ten year period was enough for me.

My Dad tended local prune dryers, with one going up in flames every few years… Some relatives a couple valley’s over had prune orchards and a dryer when my dad was younger … their dryer burned :shock: I believe one of the last local distributors of dried prunes closed on the south side of Forest Grove (Washington Co.) maybe 20 years ago… “Oregon Prune Exchange, Forest Grove, OR 97116, Cooperative.”

My old friend, Helen Webb, had …procured a special prune named for the Zimmerman family who found it as a sport in their orchard … likely linked to: “GEORGE ZIMMERMAN Yamhill Owner of a 90 acre prune orchard”… It was supposedly a coveted variety, not sure if they patented it. I believe most of the dried prunes were ‘Brooks,’ no doubt from Brooks, Oregon…

My favorite prune, or European plum was/ is called the Petite, you can still purchase the trees I believe… though my graft came from an HOS Scion Exchange decades ago. Petite’s were used as pollinators amid block plantings of Brooks, or so I was told. There’s one orchard just south of Forest Grove that’s fun to watch as it comes into bloom, you can see the slight difference in bloom time which highlights the rows of pollinators vs. the more numerous production trees.

you’ve obviously got me going here… My dad said the most excitement he can recall in ‘this neck of the woods’ was when a bear had been breaking down limbs in a local prune orchard (they’d also go after them for getting into honey bee hives) and after ‘a dance’ on Saturday night, when everyone was well lubricated with alcohol – the bear hunt would begin. Every so often someone would be accidentally shot, but rarely died…

The good ol’ days :roll:

...Regarding your walnut tree, can you see the graft union? Some of the oldest trees I’ve seen were grafted quite high on their Black walnut ‘rootstock,’ and the graft ring is quiet prominent. …wonder if it was to avoid deer browsing… back before the deer had been thinned out.. And if there’s no apparent union, many English walnuts were simply planted as seed.

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Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:40 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Camas, Washington
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
Thanks for the history, Viron, that is great.

My neighbor has about 7 Italian Plum (aka prune) trees which are part of the original orchard trees. Two years ago I stood in one spot under one of the trees and filled a 5 gallon bucket without even moving. Unfortunately 95% of the plums go to waste. I like to dry them, they are really sweet & sticky - way, way better than any dried plum from the store. I also like to make a sort of "cookie" with a dried plum between two dried apple rings.

I will look for a graft union on my walnut tree.

Here is the walnut tree/treehouse in winter:
Image

And summer:
Image

I tend to store things under the house so it looks a little messy in the winter. The tree house was originally supported by the tree in one corner, but as the tree branches grow, their weight pulls the trunk closer to the ground. So I had to add a post. I need to add some better bracing too, since it no longer has the tree to "grab".


Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:11 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1369
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: kneeling apple tree
What a cool tree house.
John S
PDX OR


Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:38 pm
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