The first heirloom apple scionwood cuttings of 2019

Posted by John Kring on Jan 20th 2019

We started cutting scionwood yesterday at the Gillett orchard.  The temperature was 8 degrees when we started and was 10 degrees when we stopped.  However, when the sun was shining it was pretty nice out.  We had a few visitors during the cutting.  Pileated Woodpeckers flew by twice and lots of Chickadees flocked into the trees we were harvesting scionwood.  They would literally be in the apple tree where I was cutting scionwood.  The Chickadees were feeding on the apples that are still left on the trees.  It seemed like the Chickadees were curious about what we were doing with their dinner.  Did they think we had sunflower seeds for them?  We kicked up a mouse that scurried across the snow and dove for cover in the next row.  The last visitors were Tony and Maxine Dempski.  They drove out to see what we were doing before taking a Saturday afternoon drive.

There are 76 rows of apple, pear and plum trees at the Gillett orchard. We made it through 8 rows in 3 hours. It was not the best start but we were feeling good about it given the temperature.

We cut scionwood from many heirloom apple varieties in those first eight rows.  The heirloom varieties harvested including Mollie Delicious, Hoople’s Antique Gold, Sops of Wine, Hunt Russet, Roman Stem, Akane, Golden Spice, Pomme Gris, Double Red Duchess, Lady, Wagener, and Gilpin to name of few.

Today, we stayed indoors since we had below zero wind chills all day.  We’ll be back at it tomorrow though.  Tomorrow’s weather will be a heat wave at 20 degrees.