John Bunker teaches us that identifying an apple tree doesn’t begin with the apple, it always goes back to the root of the tree…unless it is one of the Eric Clapton apples, i.e., you immediately recognize it as a variety that you all ready know. John provides a great metaphor for recognizing apples that you have learned to instantly know, much like you would a riff from your favorite musician.
The core of the issue is your knowledge base of beginning to recognize key attributes that stand out during the identification process.
Where to start?
As John says it, Begin by learning at least 24 varieties.
Two to learn first:
“You want to obsess over a Dingaling Sweet, not a Mac or Cortland apple.”
Is it a seedling tree?
How old it the tree?
- I need to see the tree to determine if it is a seedling
You learn what are the attributes or the characteristics of the tree
Even a hundred years later you can see the graft.
Determining the age
- Trunk diameter.
- Is it hollow. All old trees are hollow, so you can’t do a core sample. “
- “They are coreless”
- Is there a pattern?
- Are they in rows?
- Can you see how they were planted?
- What was the distance between the trees?
When you are finally ready to look at the fruit you have eliminated what it could be.
Can you test the DNA of an apple?
The collection of DNA of apples is relatively new in the span of history.
How do we then find out if what we have is a particular apple?
John says, “You eliminated the pool, you are like Sherlock Holmes”
Apples mentioned in this chat?
- Northern Spy
- Oldman Sweet
- Blue Pearmain
- Northern Spry
- Ben Davis
- Givens originated in Topsom Maine
- Harrison and Hues
- Wanted info on the Fairbanks apple
John Recommends: Books: Apples of New York SA Beech 1904 2 volumes
Location: 167 Turner Mill Pond Road
Palermo, Maine 04354
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