Category: Orcharding

Cold Hardiness and Winter Injury in Fruit Trees

By C. J. Walke This past winter was one of the coldest and longest winters we’ve experienced in Maine in recent years, and that brought up questions about the cold hardiness of our fruit trees and the potential for winter injury to them. Trees can be damaged by prolonged exposure to extreme cold, as well

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Loss of Scab Resistance in Once Resistant Apple Cultivars

Scab on an apple. Photo by C.J. Walke. Scab lesions on apple leaves. Photo by C.J. Walke. By C. J. Walke For organic apple growers in the Northeast, one of the major disease challenges is managing apple scab in orchard trees. Apple scab, caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis, can severely affect unsprayed or unmanaged

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Stone Fruit

Gummosis on an ornamental cherry. Photo by Roger Griffith, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_wood By C. J. Walke Most Maine orchards typically grow apples and pears – hardy, long-lived pome fruit that withstand cold Northern winters and the tests of time. However, stone fruits of the genus Prunus (peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots) are a pleasant addition to the

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Antibiotics

Fire blight in apple. Photo by Sebastian Stabinger, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_tree_with_fire_blight.jpg By C.J. Walke The Debate Since the inception of the National Organic Program (NOP) in 2002, the antibiotics tetracycline and streptomycin have been approved for use in apple and pear production to combat fire blight (Erwinia amylovora), a bacterial disease that affects the pome family.

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Fruitless Year

Toki Oshima illustration. By C. J. Walke The 2012 orchard season ran the spectrum of crop yields across the state, with some orchards experiencing total crop loss due to freezing temperatures at the end of April, while others had a typical year. In the MOFGA orchards, three consecutive nights between 26 and 29 F during

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Organic Apple Production

1996 Farmer to Farmer Conference Steve Page and Cynthia Anthony’s presentation at the Farmer to Farmer conference sparked a wide-ranging discussion about how to produce apples organically. This is Steve’s third orchard, and as he said, “The first one was experimental, and so are all the others since.” In many ways, Bear Well Orchard in

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Grow Your Own Fruit Trees

By Roberta Bailey Planting fruit trees can be a big step, a commitment to a place and to one’s self. Some people plant trees as soon as they settle on a piece of land, knowing quite a few years will pass before they see fruit. For others, that same knowledge keeps them from planting. The

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Pruning

Correctly pruned branch. Bunker illustration. By John Bunker The ice storm in January damaged many thousands of trees throughout much of Maine. Although it wasn’t much more than light rain, and drizzle, it certainly took an incredible toll on our landscape. Fortunately the apple trees fared pretty well in most yards and orchards, most certainly

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GYO Orchard

By Roberta Bailey Close to 2 acres of the Common Ground Country Fair’s permanent site is being planted to an experimental orchard. Another quarter acre or so will be a tree nursery. Both sites will be test plots for soil amendments, cover crops, rootstocks, and new and old fruit cultivars, hardy and tender. A portion

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Orchard

One symptom of brown rot is an oozing canker, as shown on this ‘La Crescent’ plum tree. Photo by C.J. Walke. By C.J. Walke Over the past few years, interest in cultivating organic tree fruit has steadily increased, as has the general desire to integrate these perennial crops into backyard garden and farm ecosystems. This

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