[NAFEX] My BIG Question (Sunrise apple)

sdw12986 at aol.com sdw12986 at aol.com
Fri Dec 14 23:09:14 EST 2007







Why is this my BIG question?

1. This is the question I was pondering last spring that made me decide to join this group.

2. It will probably end up so big that people will get bored and stop reading.



When I first joined this group, last spring, I introduced myself and told about how
I have 4 apple trees, 3 of which I grafted to multiple cultivars. (I
grow other fruits too but this is an apple question.)



Spring of 2000: I obtained 5 or 6 different apple scions and added
those to what I had growing on my apple trees at the time. I had high
hopes for Mantet and Red Baron so I grafted one branch on each of 3
trees with those two. Other cultivars got one branch grafted. Then
there was Sunrise. I ran out of prime locations so made just one graft
on a lower branch of one tree. It was a branch that I had originally expected to
prune off after the tree got bigger.



Summer 2006: It was a great year for apples that year and I got my
first good crop of Sunrise. I loved it. I wished I had made 3 grafts of
that one and only one or 2 of Mantet and Red Baron. I would have to
correct this.



Early spring 2007: I collected scion wood from my own branch of Sunrise
and also from Chestnut, which I liked well enough to add another branch
somewhere. The scions of Sunrise looked dead. The cambium layer was
brown. The Chestnut scions (and other apples that I cut just to compare
the cambium) were all normal and green.

The winter had been an odd one. Temperatures in the 40s and some 50s
right through the middle of January followed by a sudden plunge into
the -30s on several occasions over the next 6 weeks. I figured that
must be the end of my Sunrise. I cut several more scions looking for
some hint of green cambium. I stored them away except for 6 scions
which I tested by placing them in a cup of water in the kitchen window.
Two of those showed a little life and opened some green bud tips. I
decided to go on with the grafts and try to save Sunrise from
extinction in my yard.



Late spring 2007: I made 3 grafts with my questionable Sunrise scions,
along with about 15 other apple and pear grafts. I had 100% success
with the pear and all the other apple grafts but the Sunrise grafts
were completely dead.



Summer 2007: Now here's the weird part. I expected my Sunrise branch to
be dead since every scion cut and every pruning cut showed brown
cambium and since the scions didn't even try to grow. But no, it was
just fine. It leafed out normally. I expected that maybe it would
collapse and die soon after leafing out but again, no. The entire
branch grew fine and healthy and produced another nice crop of Sunrise
apples. (They ripened a full 3 weeks later than the year before and I
wasn't as thrilled by the quality but I could say that about most of
the other apples I grow.)



So finally, the question. How can this be? How is it possible for me to
find brown cambium every where I looked and have the best of the scions
prove to be dead when I grafted them but then have the entire rest of
the cultivar grow happy and healthy anyway?



Steve in the Adirondacks


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