Tag: Orcharding

Apple Sleuths Get a Boost from DNA Testing

By Jacob Mentlik For decades Maine’s apple expert and pomological detective John Bunker has been hunting for and rediscovering rare old varieties of apples. Using all of the clues he can gather, he pieces together the history and possible locations of ancient trees, finds and collects fruit and then spends hours poring over old books

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Scionwood & Fruit Trees

Grafting A primer on Grafting from the MOF&G archives. These are very clear directions about how to graft – here and here. Both of these are printable for keeping close at hand. Here are clear directions on Bud Grafting. Thoughts on grafting from MOFGA’s Landscape Coordinator, Jack Kertesz: Grafting apples, pear and plums is not

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In The Orchard: Get Ready for Winter

Apple scab on fruit and leaves. Photos by C.J. Walke. By C.J. Walke Autumn is an exciting time in the orchard, because you get to taste the fruits of your labors and share the harvest with your family and community. Autumn is also the time to clean up the orchard, prepare trees for winter and

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Mixed Orchard Crops

Jesse Stevens of Sy’s Trees in Sweden, Maine, grows a “hyper-diversified” orchard of more than 1,000 varieties of woody plants. Photo courtesy of Jesse Stevens Honeyberry, Lonicera coerulea, is an underutilized species that Stevens believes is well suited to organic culture in Maine. Photo by Opioła Jerzy, from Wikimedia. By Jean English Farmers from Sy’s

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Spring Orchard Work and then Ice Cream

Delton Curtis grafting at the Seed Swap and Scion Exchange. English photo By John Bunker Springtime in central Maine was designed for orchard activity. The long days and the warming sun lure me out the door like the Pied Piper’s flute. Get up early and cook up a saucepan of apples from the last bushel

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Biological Control of Fire Blight Bacteria

Early symptoms of fire blight in a Liberty apple tree. The branch is just starting to make the shepherd’s crook and blacken. Photo by C.J. Walke By C.J. Walke Managing disease is often a challenging task in organic farming and gardening because pathogens can be very aggressive, additional hosts often exist outside farm boundaries, and most materials

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Further Adventures in the Search for Sarah

Possibly the Sarah apple. Photo by John Bunker By John Bunker Readers of this column will recall my search for the Sarah apple – an old Franklin County variety that originated on the East Wilton farm of John Tufts and was named after his daughter. Old literature described it as “vigorous … productive, an annual bearer [that]

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What Apple Is This Identifying Apples in 2020

Illustration by John Bunker By John Bunker “A further knowledge of the facts is necessary before I would venture to give a final and definite opinion.” Sherlock Holmes, “His Last Bow” Although we usually begin to identify apples each year in August and early September, the Common Ground Country Fair weekend is the official kickoff

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Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly, screenshot of photo by Henripekka Kallio from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Perho.jpg, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license Tree-of-heaven, seed-bearing female plant, photo by Luis Fernández García from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=139593, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.1 Spain license. By C.J. Walke As winter rolls into spring, work in the orchard transitions from pruning and

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Passing the Baton

Whip and tongue graft. Illustration by John Bunker Bark graft. Illustration by John Bunker Delton Curtis grafting at the Seed Swap and Scion Exchange. English photo By John Bunker Not everyone knows that when you start an apple tree from a seed, it will never come true to type. If you plant a ‘McIntosh’ seed and wait about

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