Back in April I reported on the surprising blooms on a pair of semi-dwarf apple trees I’d given up for dead after a freak October snowstorm had ripped their roots out the ground, leaving the trees on their sides. I left the trees in the ground, not really expecting much, as grass from the lawn starting greeting foliage from the tree.
Throughout the summer, as the apples formed and ripened, I watched with concern as rabbits gathered, warily circling the trees, trying to figure out if this was something they wanted to tackle, but in the end they only nibbled on the fallen fruit, proving to be far less adept at climbing even the lowest branches than squirrels at climbing the upper.
Even after the rabbits left, I kept waiting for something bad to happen to my ground-level fruit (cats/raccoons/lawn mowers) but, in a rare instance of things in the garden going better than expected, my low-hanging fruit hung in there for the duration, and last weekend, we had a fine harvest!
And the easiest ever! No climbing the tree for the highest apples (they were at chest height); no stiff neck from reaching. This truly was easy pickin’! As for the apples, they were in better shape than those on the still-erect trees, because I had gotten better coverage while spraying (yes, I do spray my apples, but infrequently and guiltily). The apples were, however, about a third smaller in size, a suggestion that the tree, if it had its druthers, would have preferred to have its full complement of roots, and is undernourished.
They may not bode well for its future, but perhaps over the winter it will develop more roots. I see no reason to take it down – if nothing else, it’s a great conversation piece – in fact, my wife is wondering if we shouldn’t pull the others down! Clearly, we’ve been spoiled by going after the low-hanging fruit.
William Alexander is the author of The $64 Tomato: How One Many Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden and, most recently, 52 Loaves: A Half-baked Adventure. His website is http://williamalexander.com.
on October 4, 2012 at 5:42 am, in the category Eat This, Feed Me, Guest Rants.