We live in the land of Johnny Appleseed. To our east, not far from here, is Defiance, where he established one of his nurseries on the north bank of the Maumee River. Most of the early apple orchards in our county (Paulding) were started with seedlings from that nursery. Just a short distance west of us, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, lie his remains.
I've always thought that it was cool to think about, that this American icon once walked where I walk today, spreading seeds as he went. And it is an interesting thought, but I learned something last night, while watching The Botany of Desire on PBS. The trees he planted by seed were largely inedible as a snack. Good for cider, though.
When we moved to our house here at Our Little Acre in 1977, my parents bought two apple trees for us to plant. They were both 'Red Delicious,' which I recently learned is probably the best kind to plant here, as they are most resistant to cedar-apple rust.
Those two trees have given us many apples over the last 32 years. One of the trees has always been smaller than the other and has produced less fruit. In recent years, it's declined in health and we've gotten very few apples from it. About two years ago, the tree began to lean considerably and we had to prop it to keep it from falling over altogether. Finally, we decided the time had come to cut it down and plant a new one.
Yesterday was a beautiful fall day and I suggested to Romie that we take care of the ailing apple tree. No chain saw or axe was necessary. Because we'd had plenty of rain recently, the ground was pretty soft. All it took was a good hard shove and the tree fell over as the roots gave no resistance.
Those roots held the key as to why the tree was both not producing much fruit and could not stand up straight. They were shallow and rotting.
We want to plant another apple tree and would like to have 'Golden Delicious.' However, it is one of the varieties that is highly susceptible to cedar-apple rust, which is common around here. The search is on for a suitable replacement.