Thursday, November 30, 2006

Long Live The King


One of the things that attracted me to the house I now live in was a beautiful apple tree that was in the back yard. The previous owner told me it was a King and that I could expect a good harvest every year.

The next spring it blossomed with thousands of flowers and I watched the apples develop over the next few months. The apples got larger and larger until they became the size of a monkey’s head. These were indeed King Apples. You only needed two or three of them to make a pie.

My first harvest was several grocery bags of apples. I made pies, apple sauce, apple cakes and cobblers. I gave away bags to local horse owners. I was amazed by how productive this tree had been.

I took good care of that tree, carefully pruning it and dormant spraying it. I fertilized around the drip line and probably had ten more years of excellent harvests. However, every tree has a life span, and over the next eight years the harvests declined. In its final year it produced only one apple.

It was a sad day when I removed the tree. I have other apple trees, but none ever as good as that King. I plan to put in a couple more Kings next spring. Though it will be years before they ever produce as well as that tree, it will be my gift to who ever lives on that land after I am gone.

16 Comments:

Blogger Boo7 said...

Beautiful apples!!! I had no idea that a tree had a life span...makes sense I guess...everything else does....I just was not aware of it!! I have a pear tree out back that sometimes has an awesome harvest....but we rarely get any as the wild animals get it first....or my dogs....they both love, love, love pears....it's so funny to watch them select one that has just fallen and then bring it over to the patio to munch on.......:)

7:14 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Yes, Boo, fruit farmers take trees out that are of a certain age. In the wild trees can go over 100 years, but their most productive years are their first thirty. The tree I cut was 75 years old. It had some disease issues.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Make sure to go to a knowledgable, local nursery and buy GOOD trees.
When we bought our place we had about 30 apple trees scattered around. Those trees don't get worms, leaf rollers, nothing.
The only spray they get is rain.
On the other hand, we planted a dozen Bi-Mart $9.95 apple trees about 10 years ago, and they have every apple malady known in science.
Good apples, but high maint.

8:30 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I won't shop at any place that has the word "MART" in its name.

There are only two (I think) varieties that are very resistant to everythingin my area on the Coast. One being the Liberty, the other I forget. Granny Smiths don't do well here because they can get a disease from alder trees. My Gravenstein (SP) is doing very well.

A King does well in this area as well, but it does require yearly attention. It is worth it to me to do what it takes to get this sort of apple.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Nomad said...

I Loved your post.

I too have soft spot for anything that has something green and leafy on it (and produces food)...

I would like to plant a circular orchard on our land sometime soon and want to start researching good varieties of fruit trees to plant.

It is about the earth, harvest and the goodness of hand/homemade food.

You might be interested in a site about Tarte Tatin a unique French type of Apple Pie. www.tartetatin.com

Gosh all that talk about pie has made me hungry...

Happy baking

1:24 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

I love apple anything and cooking with them makes the house smell so good!

Amazing that your tree was 75...we have an old apple tree in our back yard that is all twisted and knarled but still manages to produce a few apples every summer.

I wonder how old it is...

1:57 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Nomad,Canadian Rockies eh? You need some content on your site. Turn it into a blog!

We just finished the last of our apples, so no more pies for some months to come.

BTW, I love Canadians...even Moosehead.

1:58 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Trish, unfortunately there is only one way to find out.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

If you are THAT attached to the taste of the apples of an old tree make sure to plant your new trees prior to removing the old one.
You can then graft scion from the old to the new and can continue that great old taste.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Boo7 said...

coolbeans....who knew all these things about trees!

7:52 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Dang, I wish I'd thought of that, Gearhead...

5:53 AM  
Blogger CB said...

Thanks, Guy, glad to be your muse! Aren't the Kings GRAND? Nice post. Where o where did you get your new King tree? I have looked high and low, since the kings we have came from my friend and former in-law's 100+ year old orchard and are slowly declining. We did know about the grafting part, however we want to start with a King tree.

9:21 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I've seen them before on the net or in one of those herritage seed catalogs. I haven't ordered one yet. I'll keep you posted when I do. We can share an order if you wish.

10:03 AM  
Blogger CB said...

Hey, that sounds good. I can get the grafts from my in-laws trees. You can try the apples first to see if you like the flavor and want to use the graft. Personally, we really like them.

2:42 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I love Kings. Have you had any luck with grafting? I've tried several times without success.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The graft eventually gave over to whatever the main trunk was. I am wondering if the same would hold true if they are both kings but just grafting an older variety to a newer variety.

1:07 AM  

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