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Branchless Apple Trees
A mutant apple tree discovered by a farmer, developed by scientists and recently released for sale has no branches to get in the way at harvest.
Wijcik "Apple Poles" were named for a Canadian farmer who discovered the mutant tree in his orchard in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia in the 1960's. After 15 years of development work by scientists at the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Summerland, British Columbia, the tree is now on the market at Stark Brothers Nursery & Orchard Cornpany, Louisiana, Mo.
Genetically the branchless trees are dwarf mutants of McIntosh apple trees. Although they are radically different both in appearance and fruit bearing characteristics (apple poles bear more strongly every other year), the fruit varies only slightly in quality from that of its popular McIntosh parents.
According to researchers, an orchard stand of apple poles outyields conventional trees by as much as 20%. However, because of the high cost of establishing a stand due to the increased numbers of trees needed, many reasearchers say they are not yet economically viable. Until prices drop, though, everyone agrees that they make great conversation pieces around the farm.
The trees stand 6 to 8 ft. tall and have a root system so compact they can be grown in large containers for ornamental purposes. They sell for $12.95 apiece.
For more information, write for a catalog from: FARM SHOW Followup, Stark Brothers Nursery, Louisiana, Mo. 63353 (ph 314 754-5511).

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #5