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Cold coming up-protect your plants and cut your scions
John S
2736 Posts
December 23, 2021 - 6:01 pm

We are scheduled to get down to 16 and 18 F here next week.  Time to take in tender plants. 

Afterwards, we should be in a great position to cut scions for grafting. 

Hard to tell how long that will last for, so I try to cut what I need when I can.

If you wait until February, they may be budding out and not last as long.

John S

Clark County, WA
519 Posts
December 25, 2021 - 7:59 am

Good advice John.

I was out insulating outdoor faucets and water lines, and the well-head.  I brought apples and squashes from an unheated shed, into the unheated but more protected attached garage.

I haven't been collecting scion this year, but I like pruning mid-winter.   Other chores are not as intense now, and can see the branch structure more clearly with the leaves gone.  

Maybe such a cold freeze will be beneficial by killing some of the harmful organisms.  

John S
2736 Posts
January 3, 2022 - 11:15 am

Someone made a useful post but put SPAM in it.  Bad idea.

I think the ideas were something like this:

The best scions are twigs of the previous summer's development, about the thickness of a meager pencil, that are found at the tips of branches. The one-year-old development (watersprouts) that rises out of huge level branches or from the storage compartment of the actual tree can likewise be utilized for scions.

Lewis Co., WA
385 Posts
January 3, 2022 - 6:35 pm

I can't keep track of the days, but this must be about the 3rd.  Thankfully, it rained last night and stayed above freezing, such that much of the remaining accumulated snow was melted off.  It didn't get as cold as "they" were predicting, which was gladly accepted.  In the 22-23 years that my wife and I have been at our home here in SW Washington, the lowest temperature reached was 6.8 F.  I believe it was one of those years where for 5 days it didn't get above freezing, day or night.  Many plants claimed to be "hardy" went to "not really hardy-land".  

..."Traditionally", I don't cut scion wood until February because that's usually our coldest month.  However, I think that given the cold we've had I'll cut them in January this year just to be on the safe side.  One of the scions I need to get is from a relic apple orchard half-mile away, at the edge of a broad swath of right-of-way for a power transmission line that runs near us.  The two apples from the patch that I collected this autumn appear to be 'Ben Davis'.  Rather coarse-textured, but firm and sweet.  This is one of the traditional hard cider apples that was used in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  

One of the reasons that this intrigues me is because a decade-and-a-half ago, an elderly gentleman on our road, not too far east of us [Mr. Noble] said that back in the about the '30s and '40s our road was known as "Moonshine Alley".  I've thought a lot about what "moonshine" can be, and the only conclusion that I can come to is that it might have been apple brandy.  Our area is certainly not cut-out for corn, or potatoes, or any grains that would've been traditionally used.  However, although there have been many changes over the decades along our road, the one thing that I do notice here and there are very old relic apple trees.  I could be quite off-base, yet, observing our area over all these years it's the only form of potent alcoholic "beverage" that I can conceive of having been produced here.  The 'Ben Davis' apple was a "classic" and widely known variety that was extensively used for both hard cider and and as a part of the cider that would be distilled for brandy.  Each part of the country had to find which apples did well for them and could produce a reasonable, useful crop.  "You do what you can with what you've got".  

There are still a few very old, local apple trees that I want to sample.  Some no longer seem to produce apples because they're so old that they're "all seized-up".  Others might be on properties occupied by gun-happy paranoic schizophrenics with whom I don't want to have a conversation that I would consider "rational".  Ah!  The joys of exploring for fruits!


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