Psyched! Apples FINALLY!

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Chuck R.

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Leavenworth, KS
When we 1st bought our back 40 acres in 08, I started building my "whitetail engagement area", first by adding a feeder, a couple food plots and cleaning up current oaks and a couple of persimmons. Also added a mineral site. Then came the elevated box blind. I also planted a couple pear trees and some saw tooth oaks.

I also a planted an Arkansas Black apple tree with a Dolgo crab-apple tree as a pollinator. I fenced them, watered and fertilized them, pruned them and they grew. That was in the fall of 08, neither had produced a thing until last year when I got 1 solitary AB Apple! I have another AB tree in my orchard by the house that's been loaded with apples since the 3rd year it was planted. I'd just about given up, bad location, crappy soil, bad luck, defective tree, etc.

Checked the crab apple yesterday and low an behold a single crab apple...then I spotted another and another, probably 10 overall! Then I checked the AB, sure enough apples, lots of them! That corner of the property is now a deer smorgasbord 12 years in the making!

To celebrate, I transplanted a couple swamp white oaks I found by our creek to a couple moist spots and last night bought 3 Dunstan Chestnut trees from Walmart of all places. I'll get them in the gournd tonight. Going to take another 10 years for the chestnut trees to produce and probably 20 for the white oaks, but it looks like the deer can munch on apples till then.
 
Congratulations!

The area where I live used to be a major fruit producer. There are many "old" orchards around. Deer and turkey love them. We have a local organization that assists property owners in rehabilitating these orchards and re-establishing the heirloom varities of fruit.

I was talking to a parent of one of my students who has been involved in this and owns property with such an orchard. He said when hunting season rolled around he just got up and watched the deer from his back deck. When be saw one he liked he shot it. He said it was one of the best deer they'd ever eaten.
 
Good for you. It's nice when fruit trees finally start to produce. Been planting apples on hunting ground now for 40 years. Used to be I would buy what was left at the end of the season from the local nurseries and found that not all apples are equal when it comes to deer apples and being able to produce with no maintenance. What does very well in my backyard orchard ain't worth a lick in the woods many times. Lately I have been concentrating on planting Antonovka trees. Russian "snow" apples. They ripen late are very cold hardy and their taste actually improves when left on the trees after frost. They also do well without pruning or spraying. Pretty much an heirloom "wild" type of an apple. Get 'em b from my county forester for a price cheap enough that I plant 5-10 on public land every year. Feels good to give something back to ol' Ma nature.
 
Congrats on adding another layer of enjoyment to our beloved sport. You are insuring that your property will only get better.
I gather a box of persimmons and keep them in my jeep during bow season. I stomp my feet around to mask scent with them before I set out towards my stand.
 
Nice! I have a question...do you know what the “minimum chill hours” are for the trees you planted, and are you meeting them in your area?

Lots of fruit trees like apples, peaches, pears, and others require a certain number of hours during the winter of below 40 degrees temperatures in order to produce fruit. Apples here in Texas are usually 200 hour varieties, while apples in the northern states often require 1200. This is so the tree knows when to come out of dormancy and bloom.

Lots of big box stores here sell apples that are NOT good for this area. The trees will grow fine and leaf out in summer, but they will not bear fruit without sufficient chill hours.
 
Buzznrose, yup the trees meet the criteria, and it's odd that the one AB hadn't produced even though it had an 8 yr head start, while the other has produced a a lot. I think I just picked a bad spot, plenty of sun, but its in a slight bowl and I didn't do a soil test. I researched most of my trees on line for zone and also pollinators, then tried my best to procure locally.

Buck460XVR, I'll look up the Antonovka trees. The AB are also late dropping, and are supposed to keep well even when laying on the ground. Our rifle season normally starts 1 DEC, so the later dropping the better. I'm also going to add some earlier for variety and to cover muzzleloader and archery.

Armored farmer, we're lucky, there's already a small persimmons grove sitting on the area now. I've cleaned up those trees and have stopped mowing close to it in hopes we get more from it. A couple years ago I watched a little 6 pt on his hind legs rearing up to grab a couple.
 
My parents have an ancient persimmon tree in the barn lot. Deer love it. My dad jokes that hes going to sit in the shop with the door cracked open to get his deer.
We once had a coyote get pretty tame while dining on persimmons. Mom and dad got a kick out of it, so he got a pass. He would get on top of the hay bales and howl at sunset. At least he kept the other vermin out of the hay yard.
 
Buzznrose, yup the trees meet the criteria, and it's odd that the one AB hadn't produced even though it had an 8 yr head start, while the other has produced a a lot. I think I just picked a bad spot, plenty of sun, but its in a slight bowl and I didn't do a soil test. I researched most of my trees on line for zone and also pollinators, then tried my best to procure locally.

Sounds good. I’ve learned some trees just seem to spend their first several or more years establishing a solid root system. Could be you planted your tree above a rocky spot and it needed to really stretch out. Just a guess...I have rocky soil and am having to be patient with several of my peaches and apples...
 
If you have persimmons, then you probably don't need apples to attract deer. I found a persimmon once that a tornado had snapped many of the branches while they were loaded with ripe persimmons that fermented afterwards. I climbed a nearby oak and in 30 minutes a fat doe came right towards the tree. I dropped her with 4-blade Hoyt tipped arrow. Then I ate a few (~10) of the persimmons. I actually got a small buzz on.

I applaud you for planting more fruit trees on your site. We continually take from the land without giving back so you set a good example.
 
Sounds good. I’ve learned some trees just seem to spend their first several or more years establishing a solid root system. Could be you planted your tree above a rocky spot and it needed to really stretch out. Just a guess...I have rocky soil and am having to be patient with several of my peaches and apples...

It's even worse with the oaks, 1st couple years nothing as they build their root system, then they sort of just take off gaining a couple feet a year. I've pretty much given up on planting saplings for that reason. I'd like to see some benefit during my lifetime.
 
The long leaf pine, native to the Southeastern US, has an interesting beginning before it takes off. Obviously pines have nothing to do with feeding deer, but the long leaf depends on fire to spread, and the gopher tortoise, when it resides in the forest of this special pine, provides shelter for over 350 different critters. Look it up, a great story.

Have a blessed day,

Leon
 
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