Monday, May 19, 2008

Apple Trees

The yard is full of flowering apple trees. Their scent fills the whole place. The last couple of days of warm weather has brought out lots and lots of native pollinators and the trees are humming with them. Above is one of the 6 100 year old apple trees in the yard that were planted at about the time our house was built. This one we call the Apple Pie Tree because noone has been able to identify it. The fruit is red striped and very tart and makes the best apple pies of any of our apples. We also make wonderful apple catsup from these apples.

In addition to the old apples we have planted 6 more apples mostly out around the pond.
And all over the place are dozens of wild crab apples, Malus fusca in the picture above. I think maybe one of the reasons we have such a healthy population of native pollinators may well be because of the abundance of these pretty wild trees. They provide lots of pollen and nectar for these insects. I'm not sure what they all are. If I look very closely at all the bugs in the trees there are a lot of different ones. I'm sure a lot of them are mason bees, which look like small bumble bees.

And there are also a lot of seedling apples trees in the woods, along the road, in the fields. Many of them come from a thrown apple core but some are also crosses between fruiting apples and the wild ones probably spread by the birds. The fruit on these tends to be bigger than the tiny wild ones, more like a modern crab apple, but not as big as a regular eating apple. Their flavor runs from awful to good. But the sheep enjoy all of them.

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