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 Rescue or damage? 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 204
Location: SE Portland
Post Rescue or damage?
A month or so ago, I decided that my 5' tall apple (Ashmead's Kernel on M111, last year's graft) wasn't doing as well as it might, and I thought it could use a larger pot. What I found in the old pot was far too much native clay - I had been trying to get the little thing used to the conditions it would be spending the rest of its life in. So I transplanted this poor child (into better dirt) in the summer, which is something I never like to do. It has not improved, it does not seem to be growing, and the leaves are stiffer than I like to see and somewhat chewed.

The more recently bud grafted crabapple is actively growing, has soft, flexible leaves, and is making me feel very guilty about its unhappy cousin. I'm guessing that the best thing I can do at this point is make sure the Ashmead is watered and keep it from suffering more stress. Should I return it to my mostly shady back yard? Any other suggestions of how I can actively apologize to it?

Thu Jul 07, 2005 5:11 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Marsha, your thinking-out-loud is sound. "Should I return it to my mostly shady back yard?" I have a 6 year old Braeburn apple tree the deer had completely defoliated when it was "2" (snuck their head under its chicken-wire fence!). I figured it was a goner... But I made the effort to shade it from the midday sun (with an ugly blue tarp over the steel fence posts), watered it well (in it's permanent clay home), and it grew another set of leaves - and survived - in midsummer!

I'd set "Ashmead" where it receives morning, and partial midday sun; if it rejuvenates itself, "inch it" back into full sun. As I've been moaning lately ... it's a great year for disease! Let's hope some sunshine does everything / one some good.

Is your crab apple trapped in clay too? If so, save the transplanting for January! Most rootstock is bred for its ability to handle various soils; i.e. clay. But I think you're always better off potting with as rich and well-draining blend of soil as you can afford. Due to the constriction of a pot, trees need all the nutrients they can get before being set out - anywhere. Every potted nursery tree I've bought has had that "rich" treatment; and once they arrive here in Clayville - they've done as well as could be expected.

PS; Hi to my Friends in Southeast! 8) (Marysville & Marshall)

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:28 pm

Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 204
Location: SE Portland
Phew. Thank you for your words of encouragement. The crabapple began its - or someone else's - life as a very bad graft I did. The Ashmead graft succeeded, but the crab did not. The same rootstock was later bud grafted, and because that didn't look too happy, I treated it much more nicely and never subjected it to native clay. I think I will repot it this winter, but it doesn't seem to be suffering.

My choices of location for the Ashmead are 1) east side of one house in pretty substantial shade; 2) west side of that same house (where it is now) in mostly sun with some shade; 3) east side of the other house with essentially no shade yet (the Garry oak is far too young to be offering much); or 4) the west side of that second house where my other young trees are starting to provide a little shade. I think it's going back into the east side forest. Near the edge of the driveway it should get some sun. I think I'm going to put it into the ground this winter, since I've finally figured out where it will go. Even if it doesn't improve this summer, it should be happier in the ground than in a pot. (And if it doesn't make it, then it wasn't the right tree for that location, right?)

Thanks again,


Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:27 pm
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 204
Location: SE Portland
Post Less than 3 weeks later...
:D It's alive! My long-suffering Ashmead is coming back. Two of the three growth buds have new leaves, and the third feels like it's close to giving birth. Now if I can only ressurect the poor, potted blueberry that burned recently...

Thu Jul 28, 2005 8:44 pm
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