Tree identification

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by Johnny apple seed, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    Hello,

    I’ve discovered an abandoned apple tree in my neighborhood in Victoria. I’m in the process of trying to find out who owns the land its sits on, as it appears to have been vacant for many years. What I would like to know is the type of apple tree it is and if its past restoring? If its still possible to bring it back to good health and if it sits on public land the fruit could be donated, I would appreciate any input.

    Regards,

    Bill
     

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  2. biggam

    biggam Active Member

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    Fruit looks a little like 'Northern Spy', which has thin skin, firm, fine-grained flesh, mildly tart, becoming sweeter in storage, pleasant flavor (and distinctive once you've experienced it). It's impossible to tell just by looks though; want to send me a sample?
    As for the tree, don't you think it is a healthy tree? Some pruning in the spring of the next few years would probably do it some good, but I think getting some tall orchard ladders and volunteers to pick the fruit is your main concern, assuming a majority of the fruit will be useable (there's always cider!)
     
  3. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    Thanks for the reply…but the problems lay deeper than just getting help picking.
    I just discovered the tree recently and unfortunately it sits on a vagrant piece of land that is slowly being surrounded and eaten by big (condo) developers. And I do believe industrially tainted land? I don’t know if it sits on public land or private, or if its doomed to be cut down soon in the name of progress? I haven’t a clew about botany, I just have a love of trees and look upon this abandoned apple as a complete unnecessary waste, on many levels.
    Its obvious even with my untrained eye, that the tree has been neglected for many years. Yet its still bearing tons of fruit, wormy and bird pecked, never the less the tree and ground beneath is still laden with wasted fruit.
    I/ve begun to educate myself about fruit tree pruning and what I’ve learned so far is that its going to take a few years to get this tree back in shape. And although I want to, however until I learn who owns the land (I’ll contact the city tomorrow) I do not want to start working on the tree on private land, no matter how long its been left unatended?
    If your still interested in positively identifying this tree, as I am, leave me an address where I can send you an apple or two or anything else you may need to solve this. I haven't been able to get an unsoiled apple sample yet, but I’ll do my best. But eating a wormy apple just to taste it is beyond even me!
    One more thing…can you tell its age by the photographs?


    Regards,

    Bill
     
  4. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    Since my last post…I’ve explored a few web-sites dealing with common apple varities and the closest example or match I’ve been able to come across so far is the “Ginger Gold” (Also known as Mountain Cove 509)
    Especially in the greenish golden color of my sample, with a slight red striped brush. Which just seems to add a deeper hue to this mystery?

    Regards,

    Bill
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The BC Fruit Testers Association contributes to UBC's Apple Festival every year - not only do they have various apples on display, but they also have a table set up where they identify apples by fruit. You might try contacting them (and they are based out of Victoria, so who knows - someone might even be familiar with the tree).
     
  6. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    Daniel,

    Thank you very much...I'll certainly look into it.
    What a tremendous learning experience this past few days have been. With all my recent research I've become overloaded with information, regarding all aspects of Apple Trees. And I've barely scratched the surface...amazing! At the very least, if the tree is slated for destruction, which seem’s quite likely, I now know how to properly graft cionwood with rootstock, so that this tree will live on.
    I've become passionate as to the history of this tree now, and I think you may have pointed me in the right direction?

    regards,

    Bill
     
  7. biggam

    biggam Active Member

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    The picture of 'Ginger Gold' on this site: http://www.allaboutapples.com/, is pretty typical, which does not look at all like the picture of your apple.
    It would be difficult to guess the age; I'll hazard to say over 30 years old.
    I'd happily eat a cheek of an imperfect fruit, and I am interested in identifying your tree. The option to email you is turned off in your settings; if you change it I can send you my address. There are a few books in MSU's library, which I have access to, that could help in identification.
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    biggam, you should be able to send JA a private message through the forums software. Click on the name -> send a private message -> compose and send. JA should receive an email notification of the private message assuming the defaults weren't changed.
     
  9. biggam

    biggam Active Member

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    Daniel, thanks. This forum website is awesome; good work.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  11. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    Thanks Michael,

    Every little bit helps...I'll give it a try.

    Regards,

    Bill
     
  12. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    I realize what your saying, however the “Northren spy” is in general a full redish hue, where my apple is mostly yellow green with light red streeks on the top quarter. I made a special trip to the tree to varfy that all the apples share the same common appearance as the one pictured above. Check this out:

    http://ats.agr.ca/applecanada/varieties_gingergold-e.htm

    The site I found the picture of the “Ginger Gold” really made a good match to mine, although I do realiz that for the most part the “ginger gold’s” do tend to be a full yellowish green.

    Regards,

    Bill
     
  13. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    Michael,

    In my spare time I’ve been searching the trees alphabetically, at the site you provided and I’m now in the “H” list now.>>>sigh<<< What a job, I’ve still got along way to go and I’m already getting sick of apples…ha!
    What’s more, there are a lot of varieties listed with out pictures, so I could have passed it by now, but I‘ll plod on?
    I’m in the process of sending some sample apples & seeds to “Bigam” who thinks he can id the tree? I hope they cross the border into the US without to much trouble?
    One great aspect of this search is that I’ve developed an interest in growing fruit trees, and am scearching locally for a good Rootstock to graft the mystery Scions with in the spring. So that this tree will live on...regardless of its parents fate.
    Coincidently, I have a friend that made the most delicious apple juice this fall from abandoned trees, he had discovered on his friends new acreage. He’s doesn’t know the variety of those trees either, I have sent him a link to this site, so we may well have another mystery on our hands?
    I want to thank all who have attempted to help me in this matter and I am in the process of following all leads provided here, at this extremely brilliant board. If I discover anything else, I’ll up date this thread.

    Regards,

    Bill
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The low forking implies it was not grown in a nursery and trained. It could have grown from a seed that sprouted there on the site, in which case it will not have a cultivar name. Such spontaneous seedlings are called pippins. Or, it could have been a seedling grown in a nursery to be used as rootstock. The apple that was grafted onto it may have died or still be present, maybe if you study the structure of the tree you will realize it is actually two trees, one growing up from the base of the other.

    Probably the best bet for getting suggestions for the identity of a found apple tree that really seems to belong to a named cultivar is to take six fruits to a fruit show, such as the one suggested. Six fruits is considered a minimum representative sample (they are not all alike, even on the same tree).
     
  15. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    hello Ron,

    Interesting...Ron.
    One thing that I have noticed in my beginning studies of Apples thus far, is that smart growers try to plant on the edges of mounds or hillsides. And again and again in pictures of early pioneer plantings and later, I see healthy trees planted on theses types of sites. So much so that I consciously look for it now in any picture I come across of full grown Apple trees. This may or may not be common knowledge to a seasoned grower, but to me a newbie, its valid interesting news that I intend to gain from in the future. I realize however, that we all don’t have the perfect landscapes for such ventures and there are of coarse many trees doing well on level lands. Nevertheless, I believe with my limited knowledge that our tree’s hillside site has something to do with its copious output. I can only imagine the incredible abundance this tree would provide had it been under the care of a competent grower over the years? Another reason why I think it was once cared for?
    This brings me to your first observation, natural seeding. Why I suspect it was a purposely planted tree, is because it sits right on the very edge of a moderate hillside. Granted, this could very well have happened naturally as the drainage is perfect. And even though the tree has been abandoned for quite sometime, it’s still relatively healthy. Probably do to its perfect drainage, sunny growing site and absolutely no compition for light in its vicinity.
    I suspect your keen eye regarding the possibility of duel trees is valid as I haven’t been back since I’ve learned about rootstocks and grafting. But I agree the picture clearly shows an offshoot type trunk. This could you may agree have happend after its abandonment to the wilds? I’m going to examine it in much more detail on my next visit, to look for grafting evidence. But again your correct in that it could have been seed planted?
    There being a small problem of it sitting on private land and my uncomfortable ness in trespassing, therefore I wish to limit my visits as I‘ve started to draw attention to myself there. My ultimate wish is to get permission to care for it, for many reasons some of them selfish, as its been sitting in its own pile of win fall Apples and that cant be good for it?
    I’m in the process of trying to reach local people that Daniel was kind enough to turn me on too, and I’m hoping to get six good samples (thank you) from various parts of the tree for them to study.
    Regarding Pippins, I have a sneaking suspicion developing that this trees heritage or lineage lays with the pippin? Don’t ask me why, I cant tell you… it’s just a gut feeling I have after looking over tons of Apples lately?

    Regards,

    Bill
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Roads in apple production areas are lined with thickets and scattered individuals of pippins that probably grew from apples falling off of trucks, as well as from cores tossed out of windows. Other places will have trees growing from discarded cores as well. I don't think you can make much of the history of this tree out of where it is, without any confirming documentation, such as old photos or written remarks.

    Pippin is not a cultivar group or type of apple, the term just indicates the apple came up on its own. A few cultivars are called pippins because that was how they were thought to have originated, there is not necessarily any other connection between them.
     
  17. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    Ya...your probably right. I sure would love to know the history of this tree though? I have a romantic vision of someone carefully tending this tree long ago and I guess I gotta shake that?
    Check out this photo, (Sorry about the quailty) notice where the trees are situated...its apparent that they were planted there for good reason. I have a few avenues left to find out more about this tree. I’ll post anything I can find for those that are interested.

    Regards,

    Bill
     

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  18. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Nice picture. The apples could be at the bottom of the slope because the change in topography drew the planter's attention to that area. Or there were others on the hill that didn't make it because of droughtiness and/or infertility, with the ones at the bottom getting moisture and nutrients coming out of the bottom of the hill. Condition and disposition of native plants also determined by such factors. If you go to a wild area with some of the locally common western sword fern present and look at them you may see that although they are often scattered over a favorable site these do also tend to congregate on the faces of "toe slopes", where moisture and nutrients are more abundant than farther up the slope.

    There IS the convention of planting orchards on sunny aspects, due to so many of the hardy orchard fruits being rose family trees prone to fungal and bacterial problems that may be worse where the trees remain damp for long periods. There is also a concern about fruits getting enough sun to ripen in cool summer climates. Large-scale commercial orchards may, of course be quite extensive, with the plantings rolling right up over hills, down the other side and onto the flats between. The Northwest Washington Fruit Research Station (or whatever the exact title is) is on the flats of the Skagit delta, no hilly aspects there.
     
  19. Johnny apple seed

    Johnny apple seed Member

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    “Here on this rugged and woody hillside has grown an apple tree, not planted by man, no relic of a formwer orchard, but a natural growth, like the pines and oaks”

    Henry David Thoreau

    Granted a grafted tree but another hillside location.

    Regards,

    Bill
     

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