[nafex] crab apple disease resistance

Devin Smith dvidedevo at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 6 17:39:45 EDT 2014

A picture and caption I noticed at the recent Maine Tree Crop Alliance Scionwood 
Swap reminded me of an idea/question that has long been brewing in my 
mind about the seeming resistance of crab apples to all manner of bugs 
and insects. Perhaps its not surprising that bugs in particular would go for the big choice fruits given the chance. Still, it seems that there 
is some mystery to be uncovered here. It just doesn't seem that crab 
apple trees typically suffer from the onslaught of plague and pestilence here in the northeast. Maybe the fruits are just so small and numerous 
that the curculio riddled drops aren't noticeable? Still doesn't explain the blemish free fruit festooning every branch. I suppose high levels of tannins could be a factor. Still, it seems that some of the better eating crabs are quite often free of blemishes somehow. Whatever the explanation, are similar 
mysterious forces at work when it comes to summer apples. It seems that 
Transparent apples, for one, seem to suffer little if any damage. Has 
anyone else noticed this, and if so, how do you explain it? At the swap 
this year, I focused largely on getting some choice crab varieties in the hopes that these might prove quite a bit easier to grow. Any thoughts?.
-Devin Smith
Witness Oak Polycultures
Rockingham, VT

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