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The ManyTracks Orchard

Lilli Apple

wild seedling tree in front of shop

fruit tart, small-med. light red splashed green fruit


Grafts: Discovery / Zestar


wild seedling apple named Lilliwonderful cat LilliBulero

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apple from wild "Lilli" treeWild seedling tree, south of shop, east of Bulero. Named after our wonderful cat Lillibulero (named after the English tune of that name). Medium size tree tree. Small-med red splashed green, somewhat tart apples. First notes of apples harvested in applesauce 2013, "large basket apples from se shop tree, cooked & victorio". Started pruning. Apples most years are not very good so starting grafting better varieties to tree. Plan to make it 1/2 Zestar, and 1/2 Discovery.

2023 - Removed all Cowgate plus a lot of original, clearing around grafts in early April pruning. Mid May grafted additional Zestar and Discovery. Record hot, dry May & June. Had scattered tip or fireblight in original, pruned out when noticed. First Zestar apple and several Discoverys (see those pages). Lilli apples better than usual though still many splits. Had plenty of apples this year so didn't make use of any. Will continue cutting out original branches as grafts grow.

2022 - Cut out a lot of the original including one large top limb. Tied many grafts to horizontal. Cowgate very vigorous. Some nice growth on oldest Zestar and Discovery, beginning to see more of overall form as they grow  now.

Lilli full of blossoms. Fruit better than usual, not bad flavor for a tart/some sweet apple. Some splitting but OK. Would use them if didn't have plenty of others. What a contrast to Cowgate.

Mid summer I noticed Cowgate had a lot of fruit - how nice! Except that at some point I realized they didn't look quite right. Got ladder to get a closer look and found they were all rotten - completely, brown, to the core rot. What a disappointment. Pulled them all off, maybe a dozen. Apparently our "climate" down here in the valley just wasn't to its liking, or the rootstock it was grafted to. But it obviously wasn't to be. I pruned off quite a bit of the growth but will wait till late winter to completely remove it since the earliest grafted branches were quite large and a pretty good portion of the tree. Will continue grafting Discovery and Zester to be most of tree.

First apples on Discovery! See that page for details. No fruit yet on Zestar grafts but they are growing fine (see Zestar page). 

2021 - A lot of pruning, clearing spaces, opening up around grafts, bringing top down and in. Working toward future replacement of original tree with the three grafted varieties.

Discovery - grafts growing slower but doing fine. Tried a direct graft but it didn't take.

Zestar - growing fine. Direct grafted another branch.

Cowgate - grafts growing vigorously, large enough to pull some branches down and do some pruning.
     Mother tree fruited well and was dropping a lot of fruit mid August (maybe I should rename Cowgate to Early Cow!). I was able to pick about 1 1/2 pecks (not easy since the tree is in the bottom of a ditch). Fruit mixed maturity, soft to firm. Not real sweet but OK, macintosh flavor, mixed shapes & sizes. White flesh, rather coarse, quickly browns. I'm wondering now why I thought this was worth grafting! But maybe it doesn't like this unusually hot year.   LATER - Cowgate removed 2022.

2020 - 5/3 pruned out a lot, working toward grafts replacing original. Sawed off top trunk/limb. Fruit once again poorly. Tree is healthy enough.

2019 - 4/30 cut off top limbs & others, cleared around grafts + planning future. July - fruit set in clumps like crabs. Thinned what I could reach from ground. Fruit not good, split, rough.

Zestar grew enough to cut top & graft nearby (graft broke off later).

CowGate long growth - cut piece and direct graft more/less East - didn’t thrive, cutoff. Orig OK.

Discovery2 new graft nw, grew fine.

2018 - Light pruning early. End July pruned out quite a few branches around grafts plus uprights. Some fruit, rough, lot of splitting, rough skin, med-small, not usable. Good growth on tree; many uprights will need pruning next year. Eventually let grafted varieties replace top of tree, leaving bottom branches for deer.

CowGate ‘17 graft - grew well, strong 24" shoot.

Zestar ‘17 graft - small growth 6" tip + several buds. Healthy.

2017 - Summer light pruning for shape. 6-2 blossoms opening (with BlOx, Beacon). Med/light blooms. Light fruit set; thinned some. med-sm fruit, some cracking but good enough sauce apples. End Aug/early Sept. A few left mid Sept. Leaves somewhat rough, blight, aphids but good dark color, healthy. Re-access fruit quality next year, whether to graft over most of tree or not. Tree is nice shape.

Grafted Zestar (from Marie, GF) and CowGate (road apple on e side Fox Rd by pasture gate). Both popped but not a lot of growth. Rough year for most trees. Graft another next year. 

2016 - cut out a lot of trees south & around so now more in sun. Pruned quite a bit to open & narrow top. Looks good. Moderate blossom, light crop med-small fruit. A bit rough but OK, rather sour.

2015 - more pruning for shape, height and some thinning. Light blossoms.

2014 - applesauce 9/15, 18# sm-med most from wild clothesline tree. small, Peck of nice apples 9/6, another 1/2 peck later. Small but good quality; typical wild sour flavor but fine with sugar for sauce.

2013 - First notes of apples harvested, in applesauce, "large basket apples from se shop tree, cooked & victorio". Did some pruning.

Copyright Susan Robishaw


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