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Are there any ever purely ornamental varieties? We had several younger trees the former owner planted and they seem like big cherries. I'm not even sure how to really prune them so I haven't much touched them. They're more vertical than anything, I'm not really in love with them.
 

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I'm on lifetime homesteading project number 5, all in Indiana and Michigan.
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Are there any ever purely ornamental varieties? We had several younger trees the former owner planted and they seem like big cherries. I'm not even sure how to really prune them so I haven't much touched them. They're more vertical than anything, I'm not really in love with them.
You might have flowering crabapples, which are strictly ornamental. Only birds like those after they freeze and then thaw in the spring, and even some of them aren't really sold on them.
 

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I have a whitney crab apple...excellent fruit. The apples are 2 inches plus. I just experimented with canning some with light syrup & a cinnamon stick. My son says they are solid apple sauce. I just made some apple juice for jelly with a mix of apples.
 

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Whitneys are excellent, and the bigger size helps. I've made cider with nothing but Whitneys, and it's superb. Freeze in water jugs and thaw when ready. Love that stuff.
 

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Since moving to the Ozarks, I have unsuccessfully attempted to grow Whitney crab apples three times. :(

I like crabapples spiced and pickled.

This is a nice recipe:

 
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Since moving to the Ozarks, I have unsuccessfully attempted to grow Whitney crab apples three times. :(

I like crabapples spiced and pickled.

This is a nice recipe:

I see Whitneys are good for zones 2-9. What has been your experience with them? At which stage did you have your troubles?
 

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I see Whitneys are good for zones 2-9. What has been your experience with them? At which stage did you have your troubles?
The stage between planting them in the ground and saying, "Grow, dangit!" and the point at which they died.

J/K

I planted them, watered them, and kept an eye on them. First one died after a year, second one made it to second year.

Third one barely limped to 4 years, but just died off.

All three times, they were planted in different spots, in case the previous spot was a poor choice.

Last one, I planted into one of my raised beds.
 

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The stage between planting them in the ground and saying, "Grow, dangit!" and the point at which they died.

J/K

I planted them, watered them, and kept an eye on them. First one died after a year, second one made it to second year.

Third one barely limped to 4 years, but just died off.

All three times, they were planted in different spots, in case the previous spot was a poor choice.

Last one, I planted into one of my raised beds.
Were they full sun locations? Lack of timely moisture seems most likely, unless there's some other indicator. What was your watering program? Where did they come from? How did you plant them?
 

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Were they full sun locations? Lack of timely moisture seems most likely, unless there's some other indicator. What was your watering program? Where did they come from? How did you plant them?
They were from Stark Bros. I put them in full sun. Watered according to directions for the weeks following planting, but no consistent watering program.

Planted them according to directions: Dig hole bigger than roots, don't remember how deep. Put tree in ground, according to directions.

Of all possibilities, it seems that lack of a watering schedule may indeed be the culprit, although my other apple and pear trees do not seem to have suffered from my benign neglect. Perhaps in the case of the crabapples, the neglect was not so benign.

How often are the trees to be watered?
 

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I have always been told that trees need an inch of water a week for the entire first year. The best way to do that is to set a five-gallon bucket with a couple of holes in it next to the tree. Unless you have perfect rainfall, fill that bucket once a week. If the ground is sandy or gravelly at all, water will pass through to the subsoil quickly. Your area is likely to be both sandy and gravelly. Don't neglect to water trees in your area in the winter also. The rule is to water until roots are well and deeply established, and that can be a considerable period of time. Even when established, apple trees on quick-draining soils will appreciate additional water in dry spells. Think about whether the roots down just a foot are likely to have the moisture they need in any given week.
I had a Whitney in the UP of Michigan and it was a regular producer every other year. Hang in there. That variety is worth it. If you don't have a Snow Apple, I recommend it highly.
I've stopped doing business with Stark because they quit honoring the promise they made when they purchased Miller Nurseries a few years back. Stark is now back to just selling the officially popular varieties with very few heirlooms.
 

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I have always been told that trees need an inch of water a week for the entire first year. The best way to do that is to set a five-gallon bucket with a couple of holes in it next to the tree. Unless you have perfect rainfall, fill that bucket once a week. If the ground is sandy or gravelly at all, water will pass through to the subsoil quickly. Your area is likely to be both sandy and gravelly. Don't neglect to water trees in your area in the winter also. The rule is to water until roots are well and deeply established, and that can be a considerable period of time. Even when established, apple trees on quick-draining soils will appreciate additional water in dry spells. Think about whether the roots down just a foot are likely to have the moisture they need in any given week.
I had a Whitney in the UP of Michigan and it was a regular producer every other year. Hang in there. That variety is worth it. If you don't have a Snow Apple, I recommend it highly.
I've stopped doing business with Stark because they quit honoring the promise they made when they purchased Miller Nurseries a few years back. Stark is now back to just selling the officially popular varieties with very few heirlooms.
My soil is rock and clay, except for the areas to which we've been adding copious amounts of rotted stall bedding and compost.

Watering must be the issue. I'll stay on that.

Yeah, I'm pretty disappointed in Stark. The first year of the Great Unpleasantness, they oversold, then sent out some pretty nasty dead gooseberry "plants" - and refused to replace more than one item in the order. SMH I recall when they bought out Miller a few years back, but do not recall the myriad promises they made. Not happy with them, so I'm open to suggestions for other nurseries.

Snow Apple? Must seek it out. :)

THANKS!
 
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