In 1997 I planted two semi-dwarf apples trees: Golden Grimes and Cox’s Orange Pippin. Neither tree produced many apples lo all these many years, and what they did produce was twisted and wormy. The deer enjoyed them. I figured it was because we live on an old, “reclaimed” strip mine. I was complaining about this one day last fall and a friend asked if I pruned them. I said, “Yes.” He said, “You have to prune them so you can throw a cat through the middle of the tree and the cat can’t catch a single branch.” I thought, “Well, I do have a lot of cats…”
I pruned them back hard, not that hard because, darn it, the cats kept catching a branch or two (just kidding).
The Golden Grimes apple tree produced so many good apples I don’t know what to do with them. Two of the baskets below and the bucket were taken off the tree before the picture to the left. The apples aren’t perfect because I do not use pesticide spray, or any spray of any kind. I throw chemical fertilizer at their feet a few times a year and the chickens poop under them (as they do lightly over the whole yard). The only difference was the brutal pruning. Thank You, Dave!
So what about the Cox’s Orange Pippin? I actually have two Cox’s Orange Pippin apples trees. The one in the other location, shortly after I planted it, was blown over. Snapped at it’s base. Disgusted, I left it there. It didn’t die, but I had no more time to fool with that stupid tree. Finally I looked at it and saw that about 25% of it’s bark was intact, so I grabbed the small tree, pushed it upright mashing the splintered halves back together and wired it in place with four fiberglass posts between the wire and the tree. I thought, stupid me, winter will kill it; but it didn’t.
A few years later there was a single small apple on that tree, and I picked it as I was passing one day and took a bite. Best apple I’ve ever had in my life.
Several years later, one more apple, and I watched it and waited and then: it was gone! I complained to my daughter, who admitted eating it. “You didn’t tell me!” Which I admitted was true. “But, it was a really good apple.”
This year both the Cox’s Orange Pippin by the Golden Grimes, and Broken Tree had apples. The deer favor the Cox’s Orange Pippin, too, and I didn’t get a single one.
Next year I will shoot all the deer… No. But I’ll think of something, may be netting.