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New apple trees in the orchard

Quail Hollow Ranch has a rich history of farming, including the presence of orchards. Joseph Kenville reportedly had 500 trees in 1890! The last remaining orchard is the small one behind the visitor center. There are still four over 70 year-old trees producing apples, but most are long gone. So, in a collaborate effort between the county parks, Friends of Quail Hollow, volunteer docents, and the QHR volunteer trail crew, we ripped out the dead trees and planted nine new ones.

The varieties include Gordon, King (2), Gravenstein, Hudson Golden Gem, Winesap, Golden Delicious (2), and Empire. These varieties will ripen (in a few years) early, mid-season, and early fall. We used 15 gallon gopher baskets, with two drip emitters installed for each tree. Three stakes around each tree support the 6 x 6 foot deer fence around each baby tree. All are grafted on M111 rootstock. This rootstock offers resistance to woolly apple aphid, fire blight and crown rot. It is the most widely available and recommended rootstock for our part of the state for backyard orchards. Unpruned, these new trees should reach 15 – 25 feet, and provide apples for visitors (and deer) for decades.

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