We have two Liberty Apple trees in our backyard, and one Mac Free. They are semi-dwarf trees, they two varieties fertilize each other.
We planted these trees when they were small little things, bare root sticks really. They came via parcel post. That was in early Spring 1998. We planted them a few days after they arrived, a day after we found out we were expecting our second baby. That baby will be 5 years old this November.
We originally planted the trees in the front yard, and decided to move them to the backyard after we had a landscape plan developed for us a few years ago. In the Spring of 2002 we finally moved those trees, when they were still dormant. We got a few apples when September came around. The year before they produced a few apples, but they didn’t make it to maturity. Everyone we told that we had moved those trees that year were surprised when we told them they blossomed fine, and were fertilized too. Moving is supposed to be stressful, and fruit trees “tempermental” I suppose.
Anyhow, we had a better deal this year. They were in their new ground for a year when Spring woke them up. I got brave after the little apples started to grow, and pinched many, many, many of them off. The two Liberties have always grown better than the Mac Free, and their blossoming is more profuse. Well we had four and five apples in one spot. One or two in one spot is best. So sacrificing those baby apples is necessary, for some nice apples come Autumn time.
At the end of August I found a few apples on the ground, and we ate them. They were crisp and sweet, but a bit tart still. Today is September 6. I went and check the ground around the trees, as I have since I found those other apples in August. And today there were apples on the ground, partially eaten, and a few non-eaten ones. I saw weird bugs on the trees, same as I had on the tomato plants last week. Those plants have all died off now, so I guess the bugs moved over to the trees across the yard.
At any rate, I tested a few apples and some came right off the tree. I saw a couple of shriveled apples hanging there, and more bugs around, so I made a snap decision and gathered up my skirt and harvested every last apple. They might have lasted another week out there, but the bug issue wasn’t worth it. The children loved the apples I cut up for them this evening. I cut the two that had some soft spots, and a few of the others that are very little. We got several little bitty apples.
Of the average size, we have over 2 dozen Liberty Apples. That’s the best harvest we’ve ever had. I have some pruning to do now. Fire Blight hit the trees late this year. They were into major production when the first sign showed up. So I let it go. It wasn’t too bad, just bad enough that it’d be nicer to have been able to take care of it earlier. We don’t have any way of really taking care of it without spraying the whole tree.
Well, the Mac Free, it had two apples on it this year. One disapeared mid-summer. The other continued to grow, and was one of the ones I found on the ground the end of August. It was a nice size, very pretty. I mixed it up with the Liberties though. I didn’t mean to. So hopefully we’ll get more apples off of it to see what they are like next year. This poor tree had a rough start. I had to prune it when it was brand new, the top was all moldy. Then I let it go a couple of years, and finally pruned it last year so that the shape was better, and the one side of it that was growing more than anyother, but not the primary part of the tree, got stopped properly. Well after that, the rest of the tree took off. So we should see better blooms on it next Spring. Second-year spurs produce blossom and fruit.
I like these trees. They are taller than me, but just a bit. I can harvest them with just my hands with my feet on the ground. I’ll miss them when/if we move ever. Beautiful they are in Spring, with pale pink blossoms, so sweet to smell! In the summer they are pretty, all leafed out with little apples growing every bigger, getting ever redder. In the Fall they are pretty too as leaves change, but can’t recall what they look like precicely. I’ll report on that when the time is right. Winter, they have a lovely knarly shape that looks nice, especially when snow comes down, or an ice storm hits. Winter interest turns to early spring when buds begin to swell … spring comes round again.
Well here we are, at Autumns door. It won’t be long until Winter comes a’knocking, then Spring again. Time flies. But we have apples this year. A nice pie or two are in order, I dare say.