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"Preserve the old, but Know the new" -- Ancient Chinese Proverb

A Network for Trees and their Friends

Newsletter No. 12, Spring 1988


We've had several mud seasons already and the frost will soon be out of the ground. We hope that you're anticipating a productive planting season. The upcoming SCIONWOOD EXCHANGE will be a chance to rekindle your enthusiasm and connect you with plant and human ties. This issue of the newsletter may remind you that we have much yet to learn and to share. We hope that the common thread this network serves to knit is woven integrally into your handwork for this summer.



The Common Ground Fair in 1987 went by us quickly, irregardless of some stiff winds. Here's a fraction of what blew by our booth.

We learned a few things about mulberries… Swan Island (near Merry Meeting Bay) at one time saw efforts to develop silkworm culture. There are still remnant mulberry trees there that could prove very desirable. Can anyone check this area out? We were also told of the whereabouts of several older trees in Alna, Pittston and N. Whitefield (2 miles from the Fairground!). The latter were brought to our attention by Ellis Percy who independently has been looking into raising mulberries for pigs. (Note: we gladly gave Ellis some Korean pig plants — which could prove to be a most useful ground cover for him.) We will try and have mulberry cuttings for rooting (propagating — not feeding!) at our upcoming Exchange.

George Vigue of Norridgewock stopped by and offered some first hand insight on hybrid poplar. Younger plants sometimes get swollen stems that eventually crack open and dry up. Also, the roots can really bulge out of the ground. Nonetheless, he's seen 10 year old trees 60 feet tall and two feet of growth in a two week period on some trees (located near a leach field).

David Funk came in again with some thought provoking questions and ideas. He'd like to know where all the local nurseries are to supply 'edible landscape' and other plant materials to the general public. (our rebuttal—they're coming—but slowly! Fortunately Mark Fulford was there to point the finger at. His offerrings alone were encouraging to David. David informed us of a 'minor fruit' being used to make sherbert in Japan and of a tree peony, hardy to zone 3 with 10 inch diameter silk-like flowers. We're encouraged by these reports, and do appreciate David's concerns and comments that help keep us in line.

Glen Holt of Belgrade related how his 12 year old Sungold and Moongold apricots have borne reliably and regularly. He may have just the right microclimate for these and we're certain that similar conditions exist elsewhere.

We bought a box of burr oak acorns (35 Ibs. worth) to the Fair to pass out to the crowd. About half of these got taken to various corners of New England. Maybe some will make it to the seedling stage.

Mark Fulford had a fine time showing 'native' Kiwi fruit to folks and getting some incredulous looks when they tasted them. Needless to say we look forward to more show and tell and give and take at future fairs.

Our special thanks, goes to the Ketchum family for their assistance with the set up and break down or our booth.

Plans for next year's booth have begun and we'll be working on visual displays and other 'fixtures' to improve its educational value. If you can lend a hand or have ideas to share — please let us know. MOFGA has expressed an interest in getting an organic orchard booth established and may need your help. Give them a call if you can provide assistance.


We had a respectable turnout of participants and botanical specimens at this event. Workshops were well attended and several people returned for their 3rd or 4th stint as iecturers. We wish to convey our thanks here…and look forward to seeing and hearing these folks again. Here are a few highlights of the day:

Mr. Roscoe Cunningham arrived early from Jefferson with a nice selection of over a dozen old-time apple varieties.

Mary Roper and Bob Danforth brought a generous amount of Mt. Desert Island Kiwi for everyone to sample.

Gert Roberson shared seed of a bladder senna that she grew on her Montville farm.

Sandy Olson had a number of native and exotic plants for people to take home.

Ken Stewart managed to bring a few 'ringers' again from a Pennsylvania collecting trip. A box of paw-paws were gingerly tried but much enjoyed by the crowd. Ken also distributed some sizeable hickory nuts and probably a few more oddities that made their way to various parts of the state.

During the course of the day, Will Bonsall, Mark Fulford, John Navazio and I were taped for a MPBN radio interview. Broadcast that following week, its message was to alert people to the shrinking genetic diversity of plants.

Undoubtably, we missed much more of what went on as things kept a steady pace during the day. We do want to thank Sue Anderson for her assistance at registration and those people who pitched in at clean up time.

Who would like to volunteer for next fall's gathering? I'd like to take a break from some of the preparations. Tenative plans call for hosting this event at Mark Fulford's barn in Munroe. Please consider if there is an area you could assist in. There will be time allowed for at the Scion Exchange for further discussion and recruitment.

OUR NEXT ISSUE should contain information about some of the following and more: Orchard Plants for Beneficial Organisms, Edible Landscaping Notes, A Home Orchard Plan (maybe) and (perhaps) Asian Pears. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE what you may have already learned about these and other subjects of interest to northern growers.


Brian Caldwell — BOX 63 West Danby, NY 14896 — NAFEX Chestnut researcher, sends the following: Weevils could be a problem in new plantings. They can be introduced in planted seed or from discarded store bought chestnuts. Avoid bringing them into an area or wormy nuts will result. Brian's never heard of a truly blight resistant tree. The Watertown Chestnuts that Bill Mackentley's been watching have been infected with a hypovirulent strain for many years now, and are still healing their cankers. Their progeny looks promising but it's too early to tell. Partial resistance occurs in several grafted trees at a grove in Bluefield, WV 24701, overseen by John Elkins of Concord College. Some progress is being made on several fronts and Brian recommends that anyone with an interest stay in touch.

Stephen Bryer mentioned that his woods contain many large sprouted stumps. Bark cracks occur naturally on these trees at about 20 years of age and predisposes them to blight. Should an effective method of dispersal be found for the hypovirulent strain—reliable seed crops might ensue in just a few years.

Alex Shigo, noted tree pathologist, has proposed that many tree species follow cycles of zigs and zags in their effort to survive. American Chestnut, it would appear, is on a zag.

Jerry Sass reports that he has 3 healthy 5 year old seedlings at his North Anson home.

Robert Carroll of Temple, has located an American Chestnut in a blighted area that bears regular crops.

Jay Cook of Tenants Harbor feels that the trees at the Forest Entomology Lab in Augusta are superior in form to anything developed at the Connecticut Research Station—probably because they are true American.

All this brings us to the picture featured in the last newsletter—a cross section of a tree once grown by Louis Lipovsky of Brunswick. We stuck that Wanted Poster in at the last minute, as a filler, when we realized we were short a page. The response wasn't overwhelming and for such a half-hearted, effort that's to be expected. The folks at TRANET did pick up on it and now the message is out globally of our interest in obtaining seed. Truthfully, we're not in any position to take on any sort of chestnut project—though we'll be happy to pass along seeds. Someone should pick up the slack in Maine regarding chestnut research—as there appears to be some potentially useful breeding material out there. It remains to be seen what will happen. Doug Stark retired from the Forest Service this past winter. Along with Louis Lipovsky, he's spread a lot of seedling trees around. Most, if not all of this work was unsupported by a thick skulled bureaucracy that listens only to softwood rhetoric. If you need any inspiration get down to that laboratory building in Augusta where we held our first scionwood exchange and take a gaze at those trees. They have a message for all of us.

Zig it Castanea dentata …and thanks Louis and Doug.

Anyone fortunate enough to find viable seed might consider using sawdust (old pine works well), to keep the mold in check.

The following plum varieties are listed as worthy of trial in many areas of the state. Certain varieties do not appear here because of a lack of information about them or because they're presently unavailable from the nursery industry. Comments are pulled from catalog descriptions and the remarks of others. Please help us put together a more accurate picture by submitting your own observations.

Varieties are listed by their relative (decreasing) hardiness, but please use this only as a rough guide. Many factors will determine if a plant will survive for you.

Plum growing involves a certain amount of diligence to control a few diseases and the major insect pest—plum curculio. Black knot, often seen on wild cherry trees, can be a serious problem, mostly on European types. Brown rot, a disease affecting the fruit, is more prevelant on Japanese plums and their hybrids. Proper sanitation in the orchard and surrounding areas may help to reduce the damage from all of the above. One special note: plums are believed to harbor a virus that affects apricots.


EUROPEAN (Prunus domestica)
GREEN GAGEseveral sports exist, brown rot succeptible, cannerMANY
STANLEYprune type, good cannerMANY
JAPANESE AND JAPANESE X AMERICAN HYBRIDS (Prunus slicina and Prunus salicina x Prunus americana)
WANETAgood pollinator, good quality fruitFT, SL, SW, HF, GU, FA
SUPERIORthere may be 2 listed under this nameMI, HF, GU,
TOKAexcellent pollinatorFT, SL, RM, SW, OU
UNDERWOODSanta Rosa type from U MINN., long ripening seasonSL, ST, SW, HF, GU, FA
ALDERMANbear youngFT
SOUTH DAKOTAgood pollinatorNY, GU
METHLEYself-fruitfulHT, HS, AC, NW
SHIROmany require thinning for good size fruitMANY
STARRING DELICIOUSsome disease resistanceST
OZARK PREMIERbrown rot resistant, good quality fruitNY, HT, ST, AC, HF
NY 1502ripens early and over extended periodNY
These are hybrids of Western Sand Cherry (Prunus beseyi) and native or Asian plums. They are natural dwarfs, early bearing and hardy but short lived.
SPRITE AND DELIGHTThese are two distinct hybrids with similar hardiness to the above. Bloom very early in the spring. Sprite is succeptible to brown rot and may be attractive to birds. Fruit can stay on tree without affecting quality. Plant as pairs.PV, ST

A plum-apricot cross that is edible and ornamental. Self fertile. Early blooming. Fruit is usually fragrant and trees have shown to be quite hardy.


Sources of Plums and Rootstock

MB MOOSEBELL FLOWER, FRUIT & TREE CO., Rt 1, Box 240, St. Francis, ME 04774

MI MILLERS, Canandaigua, NY 14424

NW NORTHWOODS NURSERY, 28696 S. Cramer Rd., Molalla, OR 97038



RM ROCKY MEADOW NURSERIES, Rt 1 Box 104, New Salisbury, IN 47161

SL ST. LAWRENCE, RD 2, Potsdam, NY 13676

ST STARK BROS. NURSERY, Louisiana, MO 63353

SW SWEDBERG NURSERY, Battle Lake, MN 56515

AC ADAM'S COUNTY NURSERY, PO Box 108, Aspers, PA 17304

BC BEAR CREEK NURSERY, PO Box 14-11, Northport, WA 99157

FA FARMER SEED & NURSERY, Fairbault, MN 55021

FT FEDCO TREES, Box 340, Palermo, ME 04354



HS HIDDEN SPRINGS, Rt 14 Box 159 Cookeville, TN 38501

HT HILLTOP NURSERY, Rt 2, Hartford, MI 49059

JU JUNG SEED CO., Randolph, WI 53957


Prunus cerasifera (Myrobalan Plum) is a commonly used understock and recommended for European Types. It is virus prone, so tree life may be shortened. Certified virus free strains are being developed and trialed. They are not readily available and their suitability for this area is not presently known.

Prunus americana, Prunus nigra or Prunus salicina can be used to insure added hardiness. Some compatibility problems may occur with use of the first, so it is recommended to plant the graft union below the ground level.

A few semi-dwarfing rootstock are offerred. Their prospects for this area, are presently unknown.

* Japanese plums are reportedly easy to root from cuttings. *

BEACH PLUMS are native to the coastal Northeast and points further south. They are tolerant of salt spray and sandy soil and are popular seaside ornamentals. The half inch diameter fruit are tart and primarily processed into jams or jellies. Autumn, and Stearns are varieties selected for their fruit quality, but are not offered by any source at this time.

POLLINATION: While some varieties are self-fruitful, all will do better with an accompanying pollinator. Choose pollinators from within groups (e.g., European). Chances for adequate pollination are improved by matching bloom periods, proper spacing, favorable Spring weather and active bees. Early blossoming varieties are especially subject to the vagaries of the weather.


Where have all the local plums gone? In FARMING IN MAINE 1860-1940 by Clarence Day, there is reference to a Fall Fruit and Flower Show held annually by the Maine Pomological Society. One year an exhibit of Maine grown plums was displayed that "exceeded the collection shown the previous week in Boston by the American Pomaological Society". What factors may have led to plum neglect? Here are some speculations: Specialization in the orchard industry with an apple emphasis. Fewer mixed farms and again more specialization (i.e. dairying). The succeptibility of many varieties to black rot and brown rot and inadequate control measures. An influx of cheap, domestic fruit.

Some people have even suggested that we may have skipped a generation whose interests may not have been very botanically orientated. Given the shorter lifespan of plums versus apples—the cultivars of our ancestors are not likely to have survived.


A variety bred by professor Meader and coined from a local Indian word meaning red. It is a sister line of Purple Heart and its fruit are equally good. The red foilage of this plant gives it outstanding fall color. Cocheco shows excellent hardiness and resistance to brown rot. It is not presently available through the nursery trade. Mark Fulford expects to have trees available next year.


Prunus insititia - (Bullace Plum) - thicket forming, near dwellings, native to Eurasia.

Prunus maritima - (Beach Plum) - primarily restricted to beaches and dunes.

Prunus nigra - (Wild, Canada, Red or Horse Plum) thicket forming, near dwellings, widely distributed.

Local wild plums show a high degree of variability in fruit quality and tree habit. A nearby, upright growing tree bears a few small tasty plums regularly. Our own scraggly wild thicket blooms profusely, but we've yet to see any fruit. Down the road is a healthy looking stand of young trees—looking very promising as rootstock material, but also without any fruit. At least one old cultivated tree does not appear succeptible to black knot. We urge you to scout out possibilities in your area.

Prunus salicina mandschurica—may not be a plum for everyone but Bill Mackentley of St. Lawrence Nurseries claims that the flavor of some of these seedlings is as good as some named selections. These plants blossom late, so they are not hurt by frosts, and fruiting can occur from July to late September. We expect to have some of these on hand at the SCION EXCHANGE and/or FEDCO TREE SALE.

John Bunker is plum tester and coordinator for the NORTH AMERICAN FRUIT EXPLORERS (NAFEX) and handles correspondance from plum growers from around the country. His own extensive planting of plums is still young and he admits to not knowing just how these will fare for a few years yet. John helped us prepare an earlier handout detailing plums and many of his comments are repeated here. Contact John at Box 340, Palermo 04354—if you have any specific questions (and please include a SASE).


This past Fall, Lainie and I paid a short but delightful visit to Tripple Brook Farm in Western Mass. Owner Stephen Bryer had more than a few plants to offer and we came away with the following:

Stephen raises 15 species of bamboo. The tenderest, he lays down for the winter like grapes. His cactus garden was an eye opener too, but he mentions in his catalog that some Oputunia species grow wild as far north as the Arctic Circle! Pawpaws will range right up into Canada and he expects to someday be a source for hardy ones. He finds the leaves of these plants rather interesting—as no critters (goats included) seem to eat them. Seedling Korean Pine that he started around eight years ago, initially grew slow, but are doing well now, approaching 5-6 feet in height. Steve reflected on how acorns have fed more people throughout history than any other plant. He views trees, as more important soil stabilizers than grass for the Northeast. Steve applies 'polyculture' to the growing end of his business in a number of ways. Much of his nursery material thrives in grove like conditions under a sawdust mulch. Containerized plants are raised in a sand lined and sawdust bermed poly house. (On one windy and 10°F day the thermometer inside registered 92°F!). The wet sand works well for capillary watering and as thermal mass. The sawdust is an effective north wall insulator. With 2 layers of plastic on the end walls this system could take plants through a winter unheated and maintain temperatures of 30°F or better. Stephen reluctantly uses plastic, awaiting the day when he can afford a glass structure. He does forsee this technique being adopted to overwinter a range of tender plants. Such unheated or slightly heated growing spaces could match or exceed the winter climates of southern areas. In fact one Toronto grower is having great success raising fuzzy skinned KIWI, under a quarter acre of glass! For further information regarding the culture of a wide range of plants we suggest you request a catalog from TRIPPLE BROOK FARM, 37 Middle Road, Southampton, MA 01703. Short of an apprenticeship or first hand visit—this should prove to be a stimulating guide.

Very little of our time was devoted to tracking down promising plants this fall. One 'find' can be attributed to a late December sightseeing venture with visiting relatives. We had stopped for a quick scenic picture in Stonington. Along the side of the road were a couple of small apple trees that I'll admit did not even register with me at first. Inevitably, someone pointed these out - and something inside me clicked. In the ground were frozen but nicely shaped large, yellow fruit with a red/orange blush. Their flavor was acceptable though alternatingly sweet and watery. The skin had a hint of bitterness. We'd like to try these at their peak another year - let us know if you can collect some. —And next time you're out touring—keep your eyes peeled for wayside attractions.

Just how many palatable seedling apples are out there? An often quoted figure is that only one in a thousand will have top notch qualities. If you can settle for less your searches needn't be so fruitless. Denis Culley reports that about 1 in 5 of the apples he's come upon are useful for home consumption with minor processing. Need another excuse to comb the countryside? Join in the popular collectibles trend—but instead savor the flavors. A fruit in the bush might be worth two in the kitchen.


Mark Fulford's latest kiwi venture is a comparison of the storage potential of fruit picked late last September from 6 distinct vines on Mount Desert Island. The fruit was stored in an open box which nearly froze in a root cellar in early January. At least one selection made it to mid March and scored an excellent rating for flavor although it was only mediocre in quality when first picked. This particular vine (no. 6), shows stunted growth, but bore heavily, with nearly grapelike clusters. Many of the other vines have respectable fruit (no. 5's were 1⅜" x 1⅛") yet only one has been pruned in recent years. One vine (no. 1) has a 7" diameter butt and covers nearly a fourth of an acre! This kind of variability suggests that there is still much to be learned about these fuzzless Actinidia.

Other minor fruit, though less popular now, might share the limelight someday - with some assistance from plant breeders. Mark got a few pointers from professor Meader on what it takes and it boils down to this: A sense of imagination and the ability to throw away what isn't useful. ED. NOTE.- Most recently I saw an article that painted a dismall picture for plant breeding efforts in the Northeast. It appears that biotechnology is luring potential breeders into areas of micro-specialization. Also, many plant breeders concentrate on crops for other growing areas where a higher return might be realized. Perhaps with a rudimentary understanding of genetics and open minds, we can help to paint a more pallatable scene.

Is there a repository for plants that are succombing to development pressure out there? Richard Libby has scions of several old apple trees that were recently chipped into oblivion (well, almost anyway). He has descriptions of the fruit but doesn't know what varieties they may be. If you'd like to propagate these contact him at 495 R Allen Ave. Portland 04103 - or look for his scions at the exchange.

Doug Clayton heads up a similar rescue effort at the former Wendall Mosher nursery in southern New Hampshire. A collection of over 120 apple varieties is being distributed to interested persons. Some are offered by few sources or none at the present time. Contact Doug at 11 Old County Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452. He will probably be sending us some scions for the exchange.

Dave Patterson thinks that Cornus kousa should make an attractive addition to northern landscapes. He finds the blossoms to be hardier than Cornus florida and the blooms are quite showy. One specimen at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plains, Mass, —'special no. 5'—has been observed just loaded with fruit. The fresh fruit is good flavored but for some unknown reason it cooks up bitter (sour skin?). Propagation from seed is easy enough and grafting is not difficult. (ED. : We expect to have seed of Cornus kousa 'chinensis' available at the exchange.)

Russell Libby reports that foraging for wild hazelnuts in the St. John Valley is a time honored tradition. Since there may be worthwhile selections that local residents know of—why not sponsor a nut contest? A similar contest, in conjunction with the Common Ground Fair, could also be a rewarding endeavor. Anyone want to take a crack at this sort of contact with the public?

Russell also sent in an article of a real life Elezard Bouffier (THE MAN WHO PLANTED HOPE AND GREW HAPPINESS). Ferdinand Larose established the largest forest planted in Canada—108 square kilometers. As an agricultural rep for two countries he worked doggedly at many improvements in crops and even breeding techniques. In the early 1920's he directed tree planting efforts in an area then known as "Bourget's Desert"—.to combat farmland erosion. The trees today are a testimony to his own perserverance and the work of a small army of tree planters.

Glen Koehler's official title is IPM—Assistant Scientist. He'll work out of the Extension Service's Pest Management Office, 491 College Ave., Orono 04473 (581-3880). Mostly he'll be out in the field working with growers who now use or wish to use an Integrated Pest Management program. He recognizes that the needs of home orchardists may be overlooked due to budget constraints. If you have suggestions that you feel would benefit the backyard fruit grower—please convey them to him.

John Ball is a recent transplant to the faculty at Unity College. He'll be in charge of implementing an Urban Forestry program next fall. Besides an impressive set of academic credentials he brings with him skills as an arborist and pomologist. John hails from Minnesota via Michigan and looks forward to meeting other avid northern fruit growers. Give him a warm welcome at the Scion Exchange and share some of your fruit raising experiences.


Vitis riparia leaf apperance-green underneath.

Vitis labrusca leaf 'felty' underside.

George Stilphen will plant 222 trees this Spring for the Norlands Preservation Orchard Project and would like volunteer help. Included in the orchard will be varieties mentioned in early diaries of this Living History Farm. A complete Maine collection of apples as well other 'diary fruits' will be part of this planting. Contact him at 743-9420 if you can lend a hand or foot. Mr. Stilphen also has a few other projects pending. Publication of the Bradford Thesis—APPLE VARIETIES IN MAINE, including color plates and appendices looks promising. This is, by his estimation, "the best source work in the English language". Anyone interested and capable in helping with this task should get in touch. Besides a Beekeeping guide, he's been asked to produce a primer on Tree Fruit Culture in Maine. He would appreciate assistance with the latter, especially in the area of nut growing.

AUTUMN OLIVE and other Eleagnus family members now have a fan club—thanks to NAFEXian Hector Black, RT. #14, Box 159 Cookeville, TN 38501. Besides their ability to fix nitrogen, several bear edible fruit. This fall I sampled a few local 'olives', and found some that were not objectionable at all. A brix test revealed that they measured a respectable 14. (A MT. Desert Kiwi tested 16 and a local grape also scored 16 in this test which registers soluble solids—or degree of sweetness.) Some improvements were made in the 1940's with the development of the 'Cardinal' strain, a popular conservation plant. Dependable yields and pest and disease resistance were its major attributes. More recent selections of this plant for improved size 'Elsberry' (3/8"—1/2"), and size and sweetness 'Redwing', should be available from Hector Black's Hidden Springs Nursery in the near future-— along with other 'agnus' relatives. Keep your eyes peeled for potentially sweet autumn olive this summer and enjoy a bit of minor fruit exploring. Hector reports that he needs help this season and would consider a partnership. Write or call.


Many so called 'SAFE' pesticides—AREN'T. This is not intended to be a thorough report—but we'd like to see one. We recommend that you do some investigating yourself if you continue to use these products.

SULFUR—some people are especially sensitive. Symptoms of poisoning are similar to those of an extreme case of the flu.

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH — Minute particles from inhaled dust can cause silicosis.

ROTENONE — While no record of human fatalities have been reported to the EPA and a Spanish study linking rotenone to carcinogenicity has been disproved, questions of ecological and human health effects still linger. Fortunately, 'use only as a last resort' has become the recent catchword for this product, because of its high biological profile. Rotenone will kill pigs, birds, fish and most insects (though not bees). It has a low for the applicator—and can be highly irritating.

What can you d'o to reduce your exposure to spray products?

-Learn to identify your pest problems,

-Know what you are applying, and

-Dress appropriately, beginning with a respirator.

Denis Culley suggests that learning basic orchard insect identification may be easier than your first driving lesson. The following publication should help to keep you on track.


Brunner and Howittm, 1981. North Central Regional Extension Publication No. 63, $3-50 from M.S.U. Bulletin Office PO BOX 66^0 East Lansing, MI

If you would like to stay informed of the latest developments in pesticide (mis-)use and regulations, contact the following. — NationalCoalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides 530 7th street S.E. Wash., D.C. 20003 or Protect Our Environment From Sprayed Toxins c/o Bo Yerxa, Grove, ME.


We pass along the following from an August '87 ALASKA magazine article by Ruth Fairall.

There are 2 ways to get around the muskiness of highbush cranberry:

1. Pick the berries before they are ripe, when they are completely red but not yet soft. At this stage they are filled with sugar and pectin and the odor when cooked is minimal.

2. Add lemon or orange rinds to the cooking juice.

Ruth recommends juicing the berries with a baby food grinder or similar device, rather than cooking them down. Six quarts of berries should yield eight cups of juice. For jelly, mix the eight cups of juice with four cups of sugar.

CRAB GRAB BAG Delicious apples are rampant out west and as one of the by products of the cannery industry, their seed gets used for raising inexpensive root-stocks. We noted a few area crabs sporting delicious type fruit from uncared for suckers. We've seen enough variation in size color and taste to make it an interesting search. The one spotted by the Interstate ramp in Waterville has impressively large, yellow, blushed with red fruit, that are quite flavorful. Ornamental crabs are becoming increasingly popular. Perhaps an edible urban landscape is just a few pruning cuts away. Meanwhile, these delicrabs add a bit of intrigue to urban explorations.


Here are some tips for the care of young apple trees gleaned from a talk by Dr. C.G. Forshey of NYSAES, Highland, NY.

The two biggest problems to be found on 5-10 year old trees ares

1. Poor leader development.

2. Too many, or poor placement of scaffold branches.

On Northern Spy and other late to come into bearing varieties it is important not to prune the central leader.

Some factors that will retard the development of young trees include:

-A poor site and late planting.

-Poor site preparation and poor nursery stock.

-Competition from grass or weeds.

-Poor pruning.

-Early fruiting.

Early fruiting and lots of fruiting can cause upright limb growth near the trunk, and outer limbs that will droop and then turn up. In most cases these will never develop into productive trees.


Talk about screw ups, someone from the Geneva, NY experiment station mentioned that 98-99$ of all plant material brought into the US has been LOST!! That includes a shipment of 2,000 pounds of pear seed. Some of this stuff undoubtably was planted— yet for various reasons much was cut down or otherwise disposed of.

We mentioned in the last newsletter that cemeteries might be a likely place to find 'thrown away' nursery pots for small time propagators. But we hadn't realized that some outstanding plant material might also be lurking there. At least one well known nurseryman makes it a habit to scout out these places for rare and old time horticultural specimens.


WANTED BY EDITOR: An active interest in this particular column. A lot of horticulturally related swapping could be taking place between our scheduled Exchanges. We invite you to list your wares or wants here.