Heirloom Apple Blossoms Photo

Gnarled Old Apple Trees

I love my gnarled old apple trees. They were already old when I moved to my farm, and now they have a couple more decades on them. My first reaction was to prune the heck out of them, but they did not like that at all and pouted for a couple years. They spent their energy on growing literally thousands of new, kind of weak branches, and no apples. Afraid I had almost killed them with kindness, I vowed to leave them alone and just accept any apples they decided to grace me with.

It worked, and after a few years they began producing again. The apples are different types, and I get them from July to October! Now, I don’t do much pruning (yay!!) but that means I mostly get apples on the outside of the trees only, because the growth is so thick in the centre.  One tree died off, and I started to think about how I could preserve these wonderful trees.

Holding On To The Heirlooms

Last fall I gathered a bunch of seeds while making applesauce. I’m very excited to try and start them! Apples don’t produce the same tree as the parent when grown from seed. While it is an exciting chance to discover the next great apple variety, it doesn’t help me hold onto these heirlooms.

Air Layering

Next idea: air layering some branches to start new trees from the old. This is my special project for 2017! Check back for updates on my progress with this garden project.

Heirloom Apple Trees photo