Questions on: Apple Variety
Ron Smith, Horticulturist, NDSU Extension Service
Q: I'm wondering about the texture of woodarz apples. I like apples with a crisp, somewhat hard texture, such as honeycrisp, sweet sixteen or zestar. (e-mail reference)
A: I assure you woodarz is a crisp, hardy apple and one of the best for winter storage.
Q: I have been hunting for a Haroldson apple tree for several years. Can you recommend any nurseries that might carry it? (Spearfish, S.D.)
A: I don't know for a fact that the following nurseries carry the Haroldson apple, but I suggest you contact Lowe's Garden Center in Minot, Cashman Nursery in Bismarck and the Kroshus Garden Center or Baker Nursery in Fargo. These are just a few of the major nurseries or garden centers in the state. If none of these folks handle it, then it's a good bet that no one else will either.
Q: Some time ago I wrote and asked for help in locating an apple that old timers called the sheepnose apple. Some of your readers replied concerning what they believe it is. I am afraid none of them were correct, at least in regards to the apple I am searching for. I have a huge ancient tree in the orchard that is the sheepnose apple I am searching for. From what I have discovered, the sheepnose was at one time very popular in German/Russian communities and no doubt was brought to this country from Russia. The fruit is small, golfball sized, and yellow. It ripens in late July and is very sweet and mealy. The fruits are pointed on the end like a sheep's nose. I have not been able to graft a new tree from the old one. Can anyone out there help me? I would like to get some new trees started before this one dies. (Freeman, S.D.)
A: Perhaps this appeal will work for you this time. There is a large reading audience out there. I am sure that your request will eventually reach receptive eyes.
Q: I have an apple tree problem. The trees are 5 years old. They are colonnade apple trees or pole trees. I have five varieties; maypole crabapple, emerald spire, crimson spire, ultra spire and scarlet spire. They grew to be beautiful trees, but only the crabapple tree bloomed and grew a few apples. The other trees have not bloomed. I have pruned them but not a lot. The trees are now about 15 feet tall. I don't know if I should trim them or not to make them bloom. (Miller, S.D.)
A: It takes about five to seven years for many apple trees to set fruit to any great extent. You might try pushing a spade into the ground to sever some of the roots, but don't overdo it. If it works, you'll see the results in 2005, not this year.
Q: We just moved to our farm here near Ellendale and want to plant some fruit trees and bushes What kind of apple trees would grow best here? I would also like to plant some gooseberries. I know gooseberries will grow , as a neighbor has an old one they would like to get rid of. The gooseberry bush, located underneath another tree, is around 50 years old and quite large. I know I cannot safely remove the entire plant without damaging the tree. The bottom of the bush, with all its branches, is about 3 feet by 3 feet. How much will I need to take to get a viable plant , and when would be the best time to dig them? Also, I have a chance to get some mature grape vines from a friend in Minneapolis. Will they grow here? (Ellendale, N.D.)
A: Plenty of apples: Hazen, Sweet Sixteen, Haralson, Fireside, Honeygold, Prairie Spy, State Fair and Redwell to give you some selections off the top of my head. Concerning the gooseberry bush, dig ASAP and get as much of the root system as possible, after cutting it back to about 4-inch stubs. Grapes will grow in North Dakota, but it depends on the variety. If the friend is willing to give you some canes to root and try, give it a shot. Your location is almost in what is considered the "banana belt" of North Dakota, so your options would be open for better selections than for much of the rest of the state.
Q. I have a problem with one of our apple trees. I am not sure what kind of apple it is. I am enclosing the leaves from this tree. They get this way every year and don't bear very many, if any. There is another tree which is a Haralson that does not get these kind of leaves on it. Was wondering what is causing the problem.
My other sample is from a pine tree or cedar tree whichever it is that gets these little clumps all over. This spring it had these all over about as big as small eggs. We pulled them all off, but this fall they are coming back. Is this normal, or is there something I should be doing to prevent this? The cedar tree and the apple trees are both in the same area. Is there any connection to the two problems, and if so why does it affect the one apple tree and not the others?
I have never used any spray on any of the trees. Is there something I should be using?
I enjoy your column in the green sheet every week. (Wessington Springs, S.D.)
A. Your apple tree has scab, and the juniper has female cones. Apple scab develops on some tree species due to weather conditions and the vulnerability of some trees. Haralson and Red Duchess are good examples that are resistant.
The fungus overwinters in infected leaves, so autumn sanitation is the first step in control. Get all fallen leaves removed. Next, spray in the spring before leaf-out with lime sulfur, covering the entire tree, if possible. Then as the leaves unfold spray with Captan. See the enclosed extension publication, PP454, "Diseases of Apples and Other Pome Fruits," for more information.
The juniper is simply making normal sexual expression bearing fruits.
Thank you for writing.
Q: In response to the person wondering about a sheepnose apple, the Whitney crab sheepnose has blossoms that looked like a sheep nose. (Geneseo, N.D.)
A: Thanks for the educational information on the Whitney crabapple—the sheepnose apple. I learned something today!
A: I'll see if your letter draws a response when I publish it. If it does, the two of you can communicate with each other directly.
Q: A friend has a great apple tree in her front yard, an excellent producer with great tasting red apples. My miniature Dexter cows just love those apples, so I wanted to get some started. I planted some in a starter tray with no luck. At the same time I stratified some by putting some seeds on a damp paper towel, tight sealed the container, put them in the refrigerator and forgot about them for about two months. To my surprise a few had sprouted, so I planted some in a starter tray and some are nearly 4 inches tall. I planted some more seeds that had sprouted later in Jiffy peat trays, and they’re coming up now. What would be my next steps to insure their well being? I've enclosed a picture in hopes that you could identify the species these trees are. Any information will be greatly appreciated. (E-mail reference, Jamestown, N.D.)
A: Your apple seedling looks terrific. But all apple seedlings look alike, so it is impossible to tell what variety it is. The apple species is one of the most genetically prolific plant species that we work with in horticulture, as witnessed by all of the different varieties that are available. Your trees will have to go through a hardening off process this spring. Move them outdoors gradually when the weather is balmy -- 30 to 45 minutes the first day, gradually increasing the time each day until they can take the North Dakota weather conditions. When they are sufficiently hardened, plant them carefully in their permanent location, taking into account their eventual mature size. Be sure to get the apples yourself, in five or six years, before your cows do!
Q: Enclosed is a leaf from what I think is a tree that is growing in my flowerbed. Can you tell me what kind of tree it is? Can Prince Consort black currants from a nursery in Canandaigua, N.Y. be grown here? I would also like to know what causes cabbage to get brown leaves? I planted three junipers in with my apple trees. Will this hurt the apple trees? (Lisbon, N.D.)
A: The leaf looks like it came from a crabapple.
You mention Canadaigua, N.Y. As a teen, I used to go boating and camping therea beautiful spot! But, to grow your desired currant here is not very likely. It is probably a cultivar of Ribes sanguineum, which is hardy only to zone 5.
Concerning the cabbage, it sounds like grey mold, a fungus that commonly develops on stored cabbage. Cabbage needs to be stored cold, but without freezing and at a relative humidity of 98 percent or higher.
Just because you have apples and junipers on your property doesn't mean you'll automatically have cedar-apple rust. I've had the two on my property for the last 13 years with no dire results. Just keep your eyes peeled.
Q: Can you tell me what is causing this black spotty film on the apples I have enclosed? Also, what kind of apple is this and when should it be picked? (Oldham, S.D.)
A: I'll dispense with the tough question first: Apples are like twins, sometimes (actually most of the time) difficult to tell apart. My guess is that it could be a Jerseymac (a complex hybrid) or Lodi. Of the two, I would place my bet on the latter.
The spotting on your apples is known as sooty-blotch and flyspeck. This descriptively named fungus is mostly a weather-caused problem and does not impair the eating quality of the fruit, once it is peeled. A good orchard fungicide spray in early summer will easily control this.
Pick the fruit when it tastes good to you! Select a likely apple—wash and peel it, take a bite, and if it is everything you ever wanted in an apple, pick away! If not, wait another week or two. The longer apples remain on a tree, frost or not, the sweeter they become.
Q. Hope you can tell me what type of apple this is. The tree is usually loaded. This year there were a lot on the ground because of hail.
Love your advice each week. (Jamestown, N.D.)
A. Well, thank you for the compliment! While I was debating what the apple was, Jack Carter, NDSU Professor Emeritus and a real apple expert, walked in and spent about three seconds in identifying it. We then confirmed his diagnosis by tasting it!
Your tree is a Prairie Spy, introduced from Excelsior, Minn. The fruit generally matures between late September to early October. It stores well. The fruit is nice and large and the mild delicious flavor makes it multipurpose.
Your fruit was not as red as they normally would be because of the lack of sufficient sunlight. It was likely harvested from deep within the canopy of the tree.
Thanks for writing.
Q. Enclosed please find two apple exhibits. Exhibit A comes from the family farm north of Turtle Lake. It is a good producer and an excellent keeper. It is good for fresh use and for processing. Exhibit B comes from a lot in McClusky. I took some with the owner's permission and the apple has an excellent tangy flavor and is also excellent for processing. I would like for you to identify them for me. I have no idea what their botanical names might be.
I am also enclosing a catalogue clipping which offers a Japanese Persimmon hardy in zone 4. I live in a protected area here in Beulah close to zone 4. Please tell me what you know about the Japanese Persimmon. I am wondering whether any type of persimmon might be reliably hardy in the Beulah-Hazen area.
My last question involves walnuts. It seems that a few folks have luck with growing black walnuts despite the fact that they are listed as zone 4 hardy. Why don't more people grow butternuts instead? The butternut is listed as being zone 3 hardy. It is a better quality nut, and it reaches maturity and produces sooner than the black walnut. Please tell me what you might know about this subject. In closing I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I also thank you for all the useful information which you have afforded me in the past. On a personal note, I truly wish that you could appear at some sort of lecture let's say in Bismarck so that I as well as other interested folks might hear your input. (Beulah, N.D.)
A. Identifying apples is done mostly by consensus. Many are like trying to identify the difference between twins.
Dr. Jack Carter, Larry Chaput and I came up with the following: Exhibit A - Minjon; Exhibit B - Sweet Sixteen. I have enclosed our current circular H-327, "Fruit Tree Culture and Varieties in North Dakota," to help you consider others.
Much depends on the seed source for the hardiness of the black walnut species in our region. If you plant some, make sure they have come from a North Dakota source. Black walnut is favored, I suppose, for the potential value of it'slumber, in addition to the nuts. The butternut is a beautiful tree and is valued as a timber source. It could be that people take pride in growing something that is notsupposed to make it in our region.
I wouldn't put any dollars or effort into growing persimmon, in spite of what the catalog says. They need a great deal of moisture and well drained soil two things North Dakota is usually short on. Besides, their fruits don't ripen until late October and by then, as you know, we could be entering winter.
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