Saturday, November 7, 2009

Apple Tree Story

When we purchased this house, there were numerous palm trees and three fruit trees growing in the back yard: a small lime tree, an orange tree, and an apple tree. While the apple tree grew a fair number of small apples, we rarely got any. The top of the tree, where the apples were, was over the roofline, difficult to reach with a ladder, and dangerous to reach from the roof. The branches did not appear able to hold our weight should we try to climb for the apples.

The people who live across the street from us are the original owners of their house, having moved in when the neighborhood was being built in 1952. They tell stories about who lived in which house, about walking up the hill with their children to play in the mud pit that was being built into the local state college campus.

I mentioned the fruit trees to them, and the man said that a furniture store had been giving away apple trees as part of a Washington's Birthday sales promotion. He had gone up there and brought a tree back to the house, but wound up giving it to the youngest son in what is now our house, who was eight or so at the time. I think this son is five or ten years older than Zirpu and I, so doing the math quickly I think this tree is about forty years old.

There was a long branch leaning over the fence and hanging the neighbors' yard next door. A few months ago Zirpu had some arborists come to remove some trees and to trim the apple and orange trees, which were too big to harvest. I have learned it is healthy for fruit trees to get picked, and we really did need it to be shorter for us to pick the apples.

The arborists started to trim the tree and learned that the big branch hanging over next door was almost dead. They did a much more severe trimming than I thought they would, because the rot in that branch went all the way into the trunk. We won't get apples from it this year since the trimming was done too late this spring, but the tree seems happy now. It certainly looks better. Next year we'll be able to reach any apples it produces.

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