EdwardH

neighborhoods/julian -- Julian

**Apple growers - the future of Julian** On the morning of Saturday, April 13, the Julian Apple Growers Association held a planting and grafting workshop on one of the town's oldest apple groves, behind Wynola Flats Produce on Highway 78. Dave Lewis , the orchard's owner and host for the day (and the town's most active historian), gave an introductory talk, saying that in the early 19th century, when Julian won the prize at the Jamestown VA tri-centennial, apples occupied more than 600 acres. Today it is 200 plus acres. So the idea of these workshops is to encourage a renaissance of orchards. The planting part of the class (about 20 locals showed up) was dispatched quickly. You dig a hole deep and wide enough to allow the roots to spread out, then begin filling. Make sure the graft "bump" is a fist-height above ground. The grafting demonstration turned out to be better than I thought. Two kinds of grafts were covered. The inserting of scions (new, pencil-thick growth from desired variety) under the bark of a recently cut branch of an old tree. Lewis showed some of this grafting of Red Delicious scions onto a couple of 100-year-old Macintosh trees on his ancestors' property. One example was a year old and the new branches carried healthy leaves and blossoms. The grafting of scions onto new rootstock seemed to engage everyone. The association supplied sharp knives. We whittled the lower end of the scion down to a thin wedge. We made a slice in the center of the rootstock tip. Then we inserted the wedge into the slice, covered with glue and tape, and presto, an inexpensive sapling ready to plant. Informal conversations between talks and afterwards at the informal barbecue covered the inevitable questions of what varieties should we plant (heirlooms like Spitzenburg, good pollenators like Yellow Delicious, apples historic to Julian like Rome Beauty), what to do about squirrels (Ramic Green, Squirrelinators, wire cones), and how best not to lose money growing apples (U-pick-em, Julian farmers market, cider).
— April 18, 2013 8:09 p.m.

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