Renovating the OLD Apple Tree

We have a few really old apple trees on our property, they were planted by the original homesteaders in the late 1800’s, which means they are all well over 100 years old. Last spring we lost one to a late spring blizzard, it was in rough shape and needed to come down anyways, so we harvested some of the wood and took it to a local sawyer to mill up for us. There’s right in front of the house that’s an amazing tree. It’s been overpruned and underpruned. The last few years I’ve been slowly trying to get it back under control.

The very old apple tree in front of the house, it has four or five different kinds of apples grafted onto it.

This tree is a lovely tree, vigorous and has lovely curvaceous branches. As I read more about pruning I can see how it ended up this way and am trying to prune for the future, hoping we can keep it thriving until the next generation lives on this property.

Some of the branches were badly damaged in an early blizzard a few years ago. The tree was in full leaf when the blizzard came and resulted in a few damaged branches (these need cut).

I can’t imagine what this tree has seen, year after year of good weather, bad weather, good crops, bad crops. It remains a stalwart in the garden, thriving despite its age, quietly growing and producing food for us and for the the wildlife.

None of the pruned branches go to waste, we cut them up, put them in the garage attic to dry, and use them as kindling in winter.
This is the branch of our favorite apple on this tree, it’s a large early apple that’s similar to a Golden Delicious. We use it to make applesauce or apple butter. The rest of the apples ripen later and are cider apples.

Most of the apples produced by this tree are cider apples, which we harvests and use for that purpose. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and mix together to make a lovely cider. No doubt this was the purpose of the tree when planted almost 130 years ago. With the other old apple behind the garage we’ve been able to make gallons and gallons of cider most year as well as jar and jars of apple sauce and apple butter. We’ve also fed our pigs and chickens countless apples over the years and what falls late is gleaned by the deer in winter.

Do you grow apples? Do you have any old fruit trees on your property?

2 thoughts on “Renovating the OLD Apple Tree

  1. We tried growing an apple here in Houston and it survived a few years but last year it died. It certainly never reached a huge status. Just not the right zone.

    1. That stinks, I’ve heard they don’t do well down south. Since I grew up in Colombia I never really ate apples, Mangoes, papayas, passion fruit, coconuts, and all the tropicals were the fruits we grew and enjoyed. I’m learning to love northern fruit, but I still have a soft spot for all the tropicals I can’t grow here.

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