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Posts: 28183
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

An anticipated volunteer

When I prune my apples and pears in spring, I keep some of the pruned branches to dry for the grill but use some of the branches as supports and border fencing in the garden, and stick some of the branches in the surrounding ground.

The ones stuck in the ground sometimes leaf out and bloom, but usually does not strike roots and are dead by the time they need to be cleaned up for re-planting the bed or by Fall.

Also, there are usually some volunteer seedlings that grow from most probably bird-sown seeds. I let some of those grow just for fun. But most of the apple-like seedlings are from the crabapple tree with tiny yellow pea-sized fruits which was itself a volunteer way back when.


In my Espalier Fence Row, one of my trees died a couple of years ago when it was girdled by rodents or rabbits over the winter. I haven't cut down/dug up the dead tree yet but I really need to replace it and have been shopping for what to plant in its place -- OK to plant another apple? Should it be some other fruit?

...but I noticed this spring that there is what looks like an apple growing halfway between the dead one and the Seckel pear, the next tree over. I left it to see if it would survive -- sometimes the volunteers are from store bought apple seeds and they exhibit common local diseases that would kill them or at least affect them severely (there's one in the Kid's Garden that gets covered by Downey mildew every year -- very slow to grow -- that I'm still trying to decide whether to keep though it's been about 4 years)

This volunteer in the Espalier row got a bit of fireblight, but seems to have shrugged it off.

Since I don't tag the prunings I stick in the ground, I have no idea if this is one (though I vaguely remember sticking one around there before) or if it might be a volunteer seedling. It could even be from a dropped fruit from the lost Pristine.... And another possibility is that it's a root sucker from the Pristine's rootstock.
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Posts: 807
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:11 am
Location: Sussex. England

Re: An anticipated volunteer

Whichever it is should be interesting to see what it looks like when it fruits.

Green Thumb
Posts: 590
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Pacific NW

Re: An anticipated volunteer

I agree the outcome would be interesting, but alas, what you get is statistically not likely to be what you want. You might consider planting one of the disease resistant varieties. That way you know what you have and don't potentially lose several years only to have to start over. If the other tree is very slow growing and you have seen evidence of disease, I would remove it and plant something less disease prone. I have pulled several trees, that ended up with cedar rust from neighbor's trees etc. I am removing one this year that became compromised. I saved it long enough to harvest, but clearly the tree needs more help then I have time for. Whatever you decided- best wishes.

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