eliminating poor apple varieties

thomis(7)September 11, 2013

Its too bad one has to wait so long to try an apple variety to see if you like it or not. When I started my orchard 6 years ago I went by suggestions and was able to taste test a few at the nursery. But the majority of them I hadn't tasted. This is my first epic year harvesting all the varieties in my orchard and I'm ready to eliminate a few that have really disappointed me.
Red Rebel is very bland and tasteless.
Yates never developed and good flavor and didn't improve in storage either.
Carolina Red June is good but it has a very short window of opportunity...wait too long and its terribly mealy.
Virginia Gold came highly recommended but is just so so to me.
Bevan's Favorite is a very pretty apple but dry and bland.
Old Fashioned Winesap ripens so late that by November there's nothing left for the critters to mess with making it an easy target.

I also wonder if different soil conditions affect the flavor.

The ones I've really enjoyed, though, are Liberty, Aunt Rachel, Grime's Golden, Hewe's Crab, Goldrush, Smokehouse, Blue Ridge King and Blacktwig.

I'll be tearing out some 6 year old trees this November and replacing them with these.

Just my observations :)

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Hi Thomas; you don't list your location, which may have a lot to do with it. You have a lot of Old Southern varieties there, but if you're farther north, they may be a bit bland if they don't get enough heat. Red Rebel is outstanding here in Southern California, Carolina Red June is a mush bomb.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 3:17PM
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Just a couple observations from an amateur...

If you are basing your decisions on one season for a variety, would it be reasonable to give it another season, since weather and other factors could contribute to an off year?

Second, rather than cutting them all down, consider grafting them over to varieties you like and can access scison wood for - you won't have to wait nearly as long for more apples

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 3:51PM
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Dont discount Ginger Gold, Gala, Fuji and Stayman. I have 2 rows of Bevens but I'm pulling one rpw out and replacing it with Pristine. Pristine beats the socks off other apples that ripen at the same time in my climate. I like Williams Pride also, but had a lot of problems with Bitter Pit on my first crop last year

Based on your black drainage pipe I might guess that you are in NC or you have at least been to David Veron's orchard in Reidsville, NC

I'm just down the road and making an attempt at a 1 acre HD orchard. 400 trees with 400 more to go!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 5:09PM
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I would recommned grafting a new variety on as well instead of starting over with a completely new tree. I have a few they are just one or two years old now and if they are not what I like I will graft a new variety to them. That way I still have a large head start instead of starting over from scratch.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 5:26PM
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You're right, I could top-work the trellised trees by cutting them off at the lowest wire and grafting there. Definitely a viable option, since the root system is already developed. I've grafted so many trees in my orchard that I had to stop. One semidwarf on mm111 has upwards of 6 or 7 varities and I can't keep track.. I was diligent about labeling at first but I eventually got lazy!

Yes, I have been to Vernon's orchard, thats where most of my trees and scion wood are from. I'm about 45 miles east of his farm, in central NC.

That's crazy that Red Rebel is delicious in Cally.

I updated my page with some more recent pics.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:13AM
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I have Red Rebel, here in SC, that I bought from David Vernon
and mine has very good flavor. From your list, it appears that you like apples with more complex flavor than ones with pure sweetness, since the ones you're going to cull are the latter.

I'd love to graft other varieties, but where do you guys get the scion wood from?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:07AM
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Friends, neighbors, etc.
I have also done scion swap through the mail with complete strangers but I won't do that anymore as I have received some badly diseased wood.
I'm not sure if the nurseries would ship scion wood. I think they'd rather sell a whole tree. It might be worth asking, though.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:32AM
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