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[nafex] Re: Pest resistant apples

Joe wrote:

A common thread in these mythical "old trees which bore clean fruit
every year" stories is that the tree is old and is growing in an
abandoned farmstead with very few other insect reservoirs.  We have
always jumped to the conclusion that the reason for these trees being
clean is due to them being some magical cultivar.  I have to believe
that the environmental conditions of the trees is more important than
the cultivar.

My reply:

I live near a busy street called "Orchard Road"...apparently the name 
use to fit, now it is more like Suburban Sprawl Avenue.  The point 
however is I have many opportunities to find "old" trees that are 
bearing healthy fruit with no human intervention.  It helps that the 
Park District knows of my interests and make a point to note trees as 
they find them.  Anyway, for a couple of years I would get all excited 
about the "clean fruit" I would find and the super cool varities that 
would result from my breeding attempts...well, it hasn't exactly 
worked out that way...in fact, had I actually used my training I would 
have saved myself a whole lot of time. 

I would graft these trees over to M27 and set them out.  Funny but 
they were crunched and munched by every critter, every insect that one 
could imagine.   So I began to think, and being the ever curious yet 
slothful ball of fur that I am, that thinking usually involves a cold 
bottle of Dr. Pepper and some feeble excuse to the wife about how I 
have something important to do...but I digress...

One sunny day I sat near a stream admiring the deer laying under the 
trees, fondly noting that the branches were up high, a sure sign of 
deer pruning, I was over joyed at my talent for noticing the obvious 
when it dawned on me.   I hopped on over to the tree and watched the 
deer flee, and then I smelled it...mint...wild mint everywhere...to be 
precise freshly crushed wild mint...growing underneath in the shade of 
the tree...and surrounding the tree, wild flowers of all varieties, 
thousands upon thousands of them... 

So there we have it, beautiful apples growing in an untilled meadow, 
surrounded by wild flowers, and undeneath swarths of mint, freshly 
crushed by the prancing and pawing of little deer, who must delight in 
crunching on the fallen apples along with the squirrels, rabbits, 
skunks, racoons, all supplying fertilizer at regular intervals...I 
don't know about you , but that is not much like my yard...no wonder 
the apples were nice, they were living in paradise...

the fluffy one

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