Tuesday, May 13, 2014

City Trees

I cannot help but think of all of the food that could be grown if citified trees were converted over to more productive varieties.  This really pops into focus for me this time of year as every flowering tree boldly trumpets its presence.

The number of yards in mid-Michigan with crab apples (Malus hybrids) or flowering pears (Pyrus calleryanna) is about 70%.  In a "doomsday" scenario, like when Berlin was blockaded or when Great Britain was isolated during WWII, there would be a time lag of about 32 months from top-working before a significant crop could be harvested.  That presumes a generous number of grafts per tree.  A more conservative estimate would be 44 months assuming there might be a need to economize on scionwood and the human capital required to do the grafting.

Astounding growth rates occur when a few buds are the recipients of all of the tree's vigor.  Rapidly growing apples and pears are susceptible to a devastating disease called fire blight, so named because of the scorched appearance of the twigs.  It would be wise to choose cultivars with demonstrated resistance to fire blight.  See appendix if interested.

Norway Maple

Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) was a darling of urban foresters in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.  It is now the bane of those who fight invasive alien species.

Should events transpire that cause us to discard "style" as an excessive burden, then every beam of sunshine currently intercepted by a Norway Maple could be given over to edible Chestnuts, oak that bear sweet acorns, pecan, hickory, walnuts and apple, pear, persimmon and apricot trees.

Empire of Light by René François Ghislain MagritteThe tree is likely an Alder (Alnus cordata or glutinosa) based on the closeness of the canal.  Pear trees have a similar, stylish silhouette.

In today's environment, this suggestion is met with sniffs of disapproval: "Oak are 'dirty' trees." -or- "Fruit attract wasps."

Often, these comments are from people who pitch bags of McDeath and Taco Belch waste out of their cars windows as they drive home.  After all, they are "clean" people who do not wish to taint their car interior with the odors of, gag, food.  Considering the origin of the bags, I suspect they are safe even if they should choose to drive the bags home and dispose of them using EPA approved methods.

Once a man with an 80 pound Golden Retriever told me he hated the Red Oak in his yard because they were "dirty trees."  I suspect that the fecal deposits from his dog were more than wisps of smoke and a trickle of cigarette ash.  It is hard for me to visualize 14 ounces of steaming dog poops as being more pleasant to scrap off my shoe than acorns but I guess we all have different values.


A search on the USDA, ARS database for apple varieties that had decent size, sugar content, medium-to-late ripening and good fire blight resistance generated this list.  The links work.  Feel free to pop them open and read the descriptions:

  1. PI 588812 MM.111
  2. PI 588838 Nova Easygro
  3. PI 588842 Empire
  4. PI 588943 Liberty
  5. PI 588955 Sweet Delicious
  6. PI 588968 Rogers McIntosh
  7. PI 589028 Oswego
  8. PI 589039 Paragon
  9. PI 589069 Green Peak McIntosh 2-2-4-4
  10. PI 589073 Dabinett
  11. PI 589110 Dermen Delicious 4X
  12. PI 589113 Spijon
  13. PI 589140 Britemac
  14. PI 589224 Clear Gold
  15. PI 589231 Hunter Spartan 2-4-4
  16. PI 589232 Orin
  17. PI 589237 Bogo Belle de Boskoop
  18. PI 589255 Redspur Delicious
  19. PI 589257 Pumpkin Sweet
  20. PI 613819 Geneva Ontario
  21. PI 589316 Empress Spur Golden Delicious
  22. PI 589323 Paradiso
  23. PI 589453 Ottawa 546
  24. PI 589548 Mleevskaya Crasavitsa
  25. PI 589669 Holiday
  26. PI 589709 Merton 778
  27. PI 589809 PRI 1660-5
  28. PI 589813 PRI 1293-100
  29. PI 589845 Smith Jonathan
  30. PI 589894 Keepsake
  31. PI 589967 Lurared
  32. PI 589968 Pacific Gold
  33. PI 590022 Oliver or Senator
  34. PI 590026 Hawkeye
  35. PI 590074 PRI 1293-102
  36. PI 590075 PRI 1290-2
  37. PI 590124 Edelborsdorfer
  38. PI 590133 Old Pearmain
  39. PI 590141 Ross Nonpareil
  40. PI 590153 Kogetsu
  41. PI 590179 E.8
  42. PI 590180 Blue Pearmain
  43. PI 590182 NY 55
  44. PI 590195 Co-op 8
  45. PI 590207 Co-op 26
  46. PI 613827 Amri
  47. PI 613960 Quetta Ambri (880570)
  48. PI 613963 Dulcina
  49. PI 589856 Yellow Delicious
  50. PI 123726 John Standish
  51. PI 123964 Paraquet
  52. PI 123989 Emilia
  53. PI 131561 Reinette Jaeghers
  54. PI 132830 Reneta Woskowa
  55. PI 137094 Notaire
  56. PI 161763 Nanot
  57. PI 162741 Reinette Tres Tardive
  58. PI 172608 BV 82.10
  59. PI 199009 Merton Worcester
  60. PI 206029 Keegan's Crab
  61. PI 223666 St. Anna Rode Boskoop
  62. PI 231939 Camuzat
  63. PI 241965 Tydemans Early Worcester
  64. PI 246461 Red Cox's Pomona
  65. PI 255599 GDWF1
  66. PI 256108 Greenmeadows Cox's Orange Pippin No.1163
  67. PI 264692 Red Belflower
  68. PI 287529 Toko
  69. PI 341067 Blahova Oranzova Renetor
  70. PI 344552 Herma
  71. PI 437062 Karastojanka
  72. PI 613939 Novaspy
  73. PI 613999 KAZ 96 08-17
  74. PI 614000 KAZ 96 09-02

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