Monday, January 23, 2012

"New" Apple Trees

I was walking along the lower edge of the property fairly close to the county road. This is not an area we frequent, as it is exceptionally overgrown with brambles of various sorts. It's tough going and very steep. The path I was taking would lead me just above the old Harr farmhouse, which was sold off years ago before we owned the land. The trees were mostly locust and hickory with some very old oaks appearing occasionally. However, I came upon a very old apple tree, perhaps 40-50' tall and maybe 24" in diameter. The ground underneath the tree was all torn up by deer and bear, so the tree must have produced a decent crop of apples. As I continued, I came across another apple tree, this one smaller, and then another and another. Four apple trees in all, and that was just walking in a line parallel to the road. We've owned the property for more than ten years, and this is the first time we have seen these trees.

These fruit trees must have been planted by the Harrs many years ago when they still lived on and farmed the land (they sold it about 20 years ago). Now, they are next to impossible to find in the overgrown land, and they need to be pruned and have the nearby locust and hickory trees cleared so they get more sun. (Nice that the pruned apple limbs are perfect to smoke a Boston butt.) With a little bit of attention, these trees should again prosper as they once must have.

The two problems with rehabilitating these trees are firstly their extreme inaccessibility, so that the chain saw and clippers have to be hauled in on foot, and secondly how to keep the bears from getting all the fruit. The trees are far enough from the road so that bears can't be seen, and far enough from our house that our dogs won't keep them away. We may have to fence them off with an electric fence during the summer. It would be really nice to see these trees produce a nice apple crop. Wonder what variety of apples the Harrs planted?

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