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Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:42 am
I read about Gravenstein apples as a boy, but only ran into the actual apple variety a number of years ago at Masonic Village orchards in Elizabethtown, PA. I understand it to be a very old variety. Recommended by the orchard as a tasty apple, I bought some and loved them. I do not recall all the uses they mentioned, however. Each fall I would buy a couple of bushels for apple crisp, apple pie and applesauce. Unfortunately for me, the orchard discontinued the variety just a couple of years ago. I understand Gravenstein apples do not keep as well as other more modern varieties, making them less commercially desirable. My experience with the variety mirrored that. It seemed to be "use them or lose them." I loved them in spite of losing a few in storage.
Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:27 am
I plan to grow a small sample of this old cultivar in my collection!
But you are right, they do not keep well as most earlier ripening apples do not. It actually is believed to have originated in germany and brought to america by russian settelers in the 1800s. They are also unique as they thrive in a more damp environment than most apples.
Posted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:01 pm
Unfortunately the Gravenstein variety is very suseptable to fire blight. This is the reason we unfortunately had to remove this variety from our orchards. This was a favorite among the bakers in our community. If someone discovers a control for fire blight, I'd bring this variety back in a heartbeat.
Masonic Village orchard mgr.
Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:34 am
Try looking into the geneva program for fireblight resistance. g65 shows almost no signs of fire blight and many others show very good resistance such as g16, 41, 935 and 202. If these stocks are too dwarfed for your application, try interstemming.
Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:56 pm
Thanks for the advice. I'm still researching the g series and bud series. They are not widely available from commercial nurseries as of now. I plant 1000+ trees a year so finding the time to bud that many trees a year is next to impossible.
However, a great option for the small grower.
Rootstock decisions are limited to the system and equipment I use. Most of the g series are too small for my system. Need to keep at least some of the cropping area above the deers browse level to have success. Using some M-9 / EMLA 111 interstem on susceptible varieties with some success. Still get some Fire Blight strikes but at least it doesn't seem to kill the trees as often as M-26 or EMLA 7. Going to try some Fuji on the GENEVA 16 this coming spring.
Gravenstien was the most susceptible variety I had, almost as bad as Bartlett pears. So I made the decision to remove them to help save the remaining 50 varieties.