Orchyard Season in Review

Bees on Goldenrod

Another growing year is drawing to a close, and it’s time to have a look at the Orchyard’s year.

On the face of it, this was not an overly good year. The raccoons made off with all the cherries, the insects got all of the apples, and something else cleared out the grapes. The year began with a wet and stormy spring followed by a rainless summer and a relatively normal early autumn. The deer and weather combined to damage many of the small trees, and a round of cicadas hit the young growth on the older trees fairly hard.

Looking for positives, though, the plants all survived the drought conditions, the older trees all set fruit, and when I last looked the meadow was full of bees collecting goldenrod pollen for the cold months ahead.

Foxwhelp – strong tree, very upright, no fireblight, minimal scab, light cicada damage, fruit set.

Porter’s Perfection – very strong tree, moderate cicada damage, almost no scab, set fruit, heavy leaf eating insect damage.

Roxbury Russet – promising start, about 5 feet high with good branching, needs shaping cuts in the spring.

Vandevere – very strong tree, light cicada damage, set fruit, leaf eating insect damage, no fireblight, light scab.

Winter Banana – Heavy lean but roots starting to firm back up, heavy scab, set fruit.

Red Delicious – Tree strong, some cicada damage. Some spurs showing brown and dried leaves, but no dead branch tips. Possible blossom blight? Leaving alone. No evidence of fruit set.

Betsy Deaton – about 5 feet tall, promising start

Pomme Gris – Heavy cicada damage, no evidence of fruit set, light scab.

Pittmaston Pineapple – Massive cicada damage. No evidence of fruit set. Very light scab.

Golden Russet – Tree still not stable on roots from 2007 washout, but keeps growing anyway. Heavy cicada damage, light scab, fruit set.

Claygate Pearmain – Tree strong and healthy, moderate cicada damage, set fruit.

Old Fashioned Limbertwig – Damaged in spring storm (top half blown away and broken), good subsequent growth but fighting deer and weather. Had to reinstall a deer guard for the upcoming winter.

Gala – Broken top in spring storm and mauled by deer. Also heavy cicada damage.

Bramley’s Seedling – Still weak on it’s roots but keeps going. Set fruit, light scab.

Cannon Pearmain – Massive cicada damage otherwise quite healthy. No fruit set, tree relatively strong.

Cox’s Orange Pippin – Heavy cicada and leaf eating insect damage, no evidence of fruit set, tree strong.

Unknown (possibly Pomme Gris, possibly rootstock) – Very strong tree, light scab, fruit set, the best tree in the orchard.

St. Edmunds Pippin – Roots getting stronger, moderate cicada damage, set fruit.

Arkansas Sweet – Tree doing well. Some scab and cicada damage, what the other two from it’s planting year would be like if they had not broken in the spring storm.

Moonglow Pear – Coming along, some deer nibbles.

Kiefer Pear – lots of leaves this year but little in the way of vertical growth, what is there appears healthy.

Orange Quince – good growth, some brow leaves, looks like either insects or drought related.

Pineapple Quince – good, strong growth.

Bing Cherry – still holding on despite being a favored deer nibble. 4 years in the ground and it’s shorter than it was when planted.

Duchess of Oldenburg – Very strong tree, fruit set, light scab.

Golden Delicious – Heavy cicada and leaf eating insect damage, light scab, strong, no fruit set.

Original Cherry – the long, slow, decline in health continues, no thanks to the raccoons.

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