Author Archives: loribrakken

Apple Id Program

The Apple Id Program was up and running on the STFS website in time for the Fall Fruit Shows.I made an effort to get to every Fruit Show with my laptop and show people how it worked and take notes on changes needed to the program.Before I make changes to the Apple Id Program this year, I thought it best to have meetings with those people interested in program and make sure I’ve heard all their input on it.So, I am coordinating meetings to discuss how the program works, changes needed to it, apples to be added to it, and the future process for adding info to the program.Here are the upcoming meetings and dates.See if you can attend and I’d love to hear from you.

Apple Id Program Meetings ‘Upcoming Changes and Plans for the Program’

Jan 29th,1-3pm, Victoria, BC

Feb 4th, 9:30-11:30am, Silverdale, WA @ Station 51 at 10955 Silverdale Wy NW, 98383

Feb12th, 1-3pm, Portland, OR

Feb 18th, 1-3pm Seattle, WA @ Green Lake Library, 7364 E. Green Lake Dr. N. 98115

If you have any input on the Apple Id Program or would like to attend, please call or email me,

Doing Better This Year

Many of us harvested fewer fruit last year. This was almost entirely due to the cool, damp La Niña weather last spring and early summer. In July 2011 only one day met the criteria for “sunny” at SeaTac, tho August finally turned warm.

To get fruit: flower buds were formed the previous year, flowers were free from diseases at bloom, pollen matured and exited the stamens, pollinating insects flew during bloom, and pollen reached the flower’s ovary to accomplish fertilization.

Fruit trees set up flower buds the previous summer and if they are stressed by drought or over production (biennial bearing), fewer flower buds are produced. Huge old trees on seedling rootstock can withstand drought but trees on dwarfing rootstocks are smaller precisely because of their smaller root systems—they cannot forage far for water. Our area has a summer drought every August and perhaps in July and September too. It’s important to water then and to thin developing fruit promptly after bloom.

Some fruit tree diseases including scab, powdery mildew and brown rot infect flowers and destroy their ability to produce fruit. These diseases thrive in cool, damp weather. Pseudomonas can be bad in Oriental pears, especially if a frost occurs in early spring. There are protective sprays against these fungal and bacterial diseases but last spring it was hard to find windows of dry weather for spraying. Rain shields could be erected over small trees to protect them during the winter and spring until petal fall. Rain shields over peaches protect against peach leaf curl.

During bloom fruit trees need enough heat units to release mature pollen from the anthers. Even with such pollen grains present, blossoms may not get pollenized if it’s too cold for pollinators to fly. Not only was it too cold and wet for honeybees but mason bees and our hardiest pollinator, bumblebees, often didn’t take wing last year until after petal fall.

Here’s another hurdle: even if pollenized, blossoms don’t produce fruit unless the pollen grains can grow pollen tubes down the flower’s style to the ovary and accomplish fertilization. This process is temperature dependent, and under too cool conditions pollen grains die before ever reaching the flower’s ovary.

What can we do now to help our trees this spring? Sanitation is a biggie. Get those scabby leaves raked up and buried or out of the area. It’s hard to compost hot enough to destroy the scab spores. Remove all fallen fruit, prunings and of course any old fruit still on trees. Inspect apple trees in dry weather for small pointed terminal buds which have a whitish coating on the twig. These harbor powdery mildew spores under the bud scales which will burst forth during bloom. Simply prune these off. (While thinning fruit this spring carry a bag and pruners to remove any you missed.)

It’s possible to reduce bacterial canker in stone fruits by applying copper sprays at leaf fall. A serious disease occurring more in our recent damp springs is apple anthracnose. It may be reduced by copper sprays too. Inspect your trees for any cankers over winter and treat them in dry weather, by cutting out or by burning with a small plumber’s propane torch.

This year think about growing lots of flowers to aid pollinating insects. Insects are attracted to clumps of flowers rather than to scattered individual plants. Flowers attracting bees are of course the natives as well as dandelions, cosmos, coreopsis, clover, mint, etc. Don’t worry that flowers will divert Osmia; they feed on dandelions and other early flowers but prefer fruit tree blossoms and other roseaceous flowers.

Clean the nest blocks for our native Osmia now, before bloom, Some small solitary pollinators like to nest in undisturbed bare earth and bask on dark rocks to get up to flight temperature in the morning. They need just a sunny square foot or two. Bumblebees are our best pollinators and would appreciate a bit larger area with a pile of straw, twigs and dried grass per nest. Their favorite nest site is an old mouse nest but these are hard to find.

Look at the area surrounding your fruit trees. Have ornamentals grown up and cut off the sun? Maybe the fruit trees could use thinning during dry periods this winter to provide air circulation and light penetration. Save any downsize pruning for the first week of August, to reduce regrowth. It is helpful to remove vegetation at least a couple feet from the trunk to reduce vole damage and lessen root competition. It’s fun to plant crocus or snowdrops in this circle. Trunk guards also can help inhibit voles, sun scald and cracking in young trees.

During especially wet periods, brave the weather and check for drainage. Standing water problems must be addressed. Pears tolerate just a bit more wet than other fruit trees. Among small fruits raspberries are very susceptible to phytophthora root rot if too wet.

Looking really far ahead…..Our area is predicted to be one of the last to feel climate warming. But we are predicted to experience increasingly cool, cloudy weather in spring and summer. Why? Each spring the land mass east of the Cascades will start to become ever warmer as the climate warms and will have a lower air pressure over it than the higher air pressure present over the cold ocean. This means that cool, cloudy ocean air will be sucked over us toward Eastern Washington for more and more days in spring and summer while Eastern Washington bakes.

Think about choosing short season cultivars which can still thrive with lower heat units (choose Early Fuji over Mutsu or Goldrush apples). Choose cultivars which are disease resistant or self fertile. Self fertile cultivars still need to be pollenized but insects don’t have to bring in pollen from a different tree. Plan to grow fruit trees on a trellis system and outfit it with a clear rain shield about half the year, from leaf fall to petal fall. Consider growing more small fruits such as strawberries and raspberries which may also benefit from rain shields. Take advantage of south or southwest facing walls for reflective heat. Investigate high tunnels made from 20 ft PVC hoops and polyethylene sheeting. Finally, think about relocating to property which slopes to the southwest and has full sun exposure.

Last year saw several all time weather records broken, none of them good. Let’s hope for better conditions this year!

Nick Botner’s place is For Sale!

Notice of Sale: 125 acre Oregon farm contains the largest private collection of fruit tree and grape cultivars in the Milky Way Galaxy. 19 year old 3600 sq ft home, 5 Bedroom, 3 baths. Mostly brick siding, new roof (2010). Barn & shop buildings built 18 years ago. 10 acre orchard with 4000 apple, 500 pear, 170 plum, 150 cherry, 475 grape cultivars (more or less) plus miscellaneous fruits & berries. 2 wells, 2 intermittent streams & 2 ponds supply domestic and irrigation needs. 5 acres of wine grape planted (mostly Pinot Noir). 10 acres planted to timber, the rest in hay, pasture, woodland. Price $1,750,000.00 Contact: Nick Botner, 4015 Eagle Valley Road,

Yoncalla, OR 97499 (541)849-2781

I have had the pleasure of visiting with Nick and Carla Botner at their farm in Yoncalla. This property has been their love and life since around 1992 when they completed their home and moved in. Carla has many animals – cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, llama, emu, chickens – I know I’ve left some out. She also keeps a huge vegetable garden. They enjoy eating and growing their own food. The gentle south facing slope accommodates the vegetable, fruit and vineyard beautifully. The soils of the Oak woodland are great for growing most plants.

Nick’s collection of fruit trees and vines is beyond imagination. It really is the biggest collection I’ve heard of and when I see that the Geneva Collection listed around 1800 apples and Nick has 4000 listed, it makes me wince at the thought of someone buying this property without caring for the collection. Nicks vineyard already produces plenty enough grapes for making his own delicious wines and there list of Nick’s is lots more room for planting more. Go to 2010.PDF for a apples, pears, plums, cherries, and grapes.

As you enter Nick’s property you cross over one of the streams through Oak woodland, through rows of Carpathian walnuts, and up past the experimental nursery beds to the house. The Emu welcome you with that low drumming sound they make – I thought it was thunder in the distance but it was these large birds talking to me. The house is surrounded by shade trees, mostly of North American tree varieties. The diverse collection of tree species encourages the great variety of birds that I see there in the garden.

Nick and Carla’s farm is truly a magical place needing owners that appreciate the farm environment and its extensive collection of fruit cultivars. Nick does not spray for plant pest or disease problems. His orchard is tilled each spring to keep the weeds down. Health problems have kept him from maintaining the trees to the state he’d like to keep them in. Someone with enthusiasm for this collection and the energy to keep it up would have a great life here.

2011 Fall Fruit Show

October 23 – Sunday
Cedar Valley Grange ,20526 – 52nd W., Lynnwood
Time: 10:00 am — 3:00 pm

This year’s Fall Fruit Show will be laid out differently and we are setting it up for more member
displays of what we do with our produce. If you make jam, applesauce, dried fruit, have
fresh produce, garden related crafts or inventions, we hope that you will set up a display table
for others to see this. In this way attendees to the show will get first-hand knowledge shared
from those that grow and/or produce the displayed items. It’s not too late to for you to reserve
a demonstration table; just contact Ingela at ingelaMW@gmail .com .
We are organizing our fruit tasting around a theme of what grows in our home orchards. Our
tasting will be of ‘Twenty of the Best Apples’ that did well this year in our local environment.
Here is a list we have assembled of apples that might be included in this list. Let us know before
the show if you grow these apples and can bring some to the show, as well as providing
cultural information about how they do in your orchard or garden. We’ll be sending this list
out by email soon to get your input. If you have any other favorite varieties of pears or other

fall fruit that you would like to add to the list, please let us know.

Akane, Ashmead’s Kernel, Bramley’s Seedling, Chehalis, Elstar, Fiesta, Gravenstein, Holstein,
Honeycrisp, Karmijn de Sonneville, Jonagold, Liberty, Macoun, Melrose, Rubinette,
Roxbury Russet, Spartan, (Esopus) Spitzenburg, Tompkin’s King, William’s Pride. Runners
up: Adam’s Pearmain, Alkmene, Belle de Boskoop, Belmac, Early Fuji, Enterprise, Fireside,
Hudson’s Golden Gem, Tydeman’s Red.

We need apple cobblers and pies donated that you make and keep track of the apple varieties.
This is another form of apple tasting so we want to have varieties of apples listed for the
desserts. We will sell pieces of pie for $2 to cover the cost of the Fall Fruit Show. If you can
bring cobbler or pie, please contact Laure Jansen (206)604-7149
This will help us pay for the event. Thank you!

We will have four to five lectures on various fruit-growing topics. Evan Sugdan (UW Professor)
has agreed to do a talk about pollinators. Dave Pehling (WSU Extension) will be giving a
lecture about vertebrate pest control (raccoons, rats, etc.). Jacky King will be presenting information
on (TBA) & we will have climate talk by a weather expert. Check out our library of
great literature to learn how to grow better fruit.

There are many opportunities to help out with this event. Let us know how you’d like to volunteer.
There are opportunities available to help with parking, setup and tear down, publicity,
membership and numerous other items. Let us know if you can help out before or during the
show. We also need volunteers for the set up and take down, also people to sit at display tables
and help out in assorted ways.

If you want to volunteer, please contact Rose Wakeman 206-525-2523

This is also an opportunity to let us know your ideas for the 2012 spring show, and the 2012
Fall Fruit Show.

Oct 2nd Boat Trip to Salt Spring Island’s Apple Festival!!!

Are you interested in going to the Sunday Oct 2nd 2011 Salt Spring Island Apple Festival? 


You do not have to be a member of Seattle Tree Fruit Society to attend this trip.


If you are interested contact Lori right away

Date: Over-night in Pt Townsend area Oct 1st, then all day Oct 2nd

Time: pre-dawn boat ride, festival and island activities all day, sunset boat trip back

Location: Boat leaves Port Townsend to Salt Spring Island and back

Reservations: Must be confirmed by mid-May, for now we are taking a count of who is interested

Number of seats available:  25 only

Cost:  $175 for Festival ticket, lunch, transportation on island, boat trip, & customs charges

Over-night accommodations recommended in the Pt Townsend area.

You must have a valid up-to-date US passport.


If you are interested contact Lori right away

Description of the 2008 WCFS trip:  Harry and Debbie Burton play host to the island’s most celebrated festivity. Take the trip that others in WCFS rave about. Or revisit this island paradise once more because it’s definitely worth repeating. This is an all day adventure and a wonderful opportunity. It’s not only fun, it’s also magic. Salt Spring Island can only be reached by boat or plane.

You’ll step aboard the Glacier Spirit at the newly rebuilt Hudson Point Marina in Port Townsend. The breakfast cake will already be in the oven as we slip away from the dock. Once on board, pick your vantage point as the sun rises over the Cascades. The mate pours a fresh cup of coffee for you as we head north to our destination.

We’ll be met at the Salt Spring dock by Harry Burton’s posse of capable chauffeurs. You’ll be given a Festival ticket with a list of orchards and tour stops and a map of the island showing the locations of host farms, a description of what each host has to offer and off-the-beaten-path island sights.  Let your driver escort know which organic orchard you’d like to visit and off you go by private car. Make sure to stop at Fulford Hall for a slice of apple pie and to examine the apple table pictured to the right.

The island creamery is also a must see. A stop for lunch and then it’s off to more orchards and perhaps a vineyard visit and a sip of island wine.

The price is (Now $175) $130 per person and includes the round trip boat excursion, morning coffee and cake, admission to the Festival, snacks, escorted island transportation and a full delicious lunch. As you can see, the increased price of fuel is reflected in the price. The trip is still a bargain and far less than if you were to take this trip independently.

We suggest that members coming from a distance stay overnight in Port Townsend. There are several fine accommodations within walking distance of Hudson Point Marina. Accommodation information can be found here: Port Townsend’s innkeepers are most helpful and the area’s local eateries will fit anyone’s budget.

As of this summer, the law requires that you have a valid passport with you. We will clear Customs in Sydney Harbor, BC. Fully complete the form below and return it with your payment in full. This will guarantee your place as seating is limited. Do not wait to make your reservation. Reservations will be confirmed.


If you are interested contact Lori right away

May 14th,10-3, Lecture Event at Magnusson Park in ‘The Brig’

Seattle Tree Fruit Society

Spring Lecture Day

May 14, 2011 – Magnuson Park

Lecture Schedule & Descriptions

All lectures will be held in Building #406 (“The Brig”) 



10:00 – 11:00                 ‘The Newest Buzz About Mason Bees’   (Missy Anderson)


                             Missy is a Master Gardener, and has been a bee farmer for many years.  She has given numerous lectures about the marvelous pollinator that is the Mason Bee.  She has spoken at nurseries, garden clubs, schools, scout troop meetings, and private home gatherings.  She will teach you about caring for Mason Bees, keeping your hives healthy, and maximizing the pollination benefits of these creatures.

 10:00 – 11:10                 ‘Producing Apples Organically’   (Harry Burton)


                             Harry Burton retired at age 50, then devoted all his time to running Apple Luscious Organic Orchard on Salt Spring Island.  He grows over 200 varieties of the best tasting, rare, heritage and unique connoisseur apple varieties, and does so organically.  His orchard produces over 8,000 Lbs. annually.

11:10 – 12:15          ‘Growing Kiwis in the Pacific Northwest’   (Hildegaard Hendrickson)


                        Hildegaard is a retired educator.  She manages her “edible backyard” on a city lot.  She has grown kiwis for 25 years, as well as figs, apples, pears, plums, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.  She is the past Treasurer of the Western Washington Fruit Society.  Her other passion is hunting wild mushrooms.  She coordinates the identification of wild mushrooms for eth Puget Sound Mycological Society, and teaches wild mushroom identification classes.

11:20 – 12:30                   ‘Permaculture in the Orchard’   (Kristan Johnson)

                             Kristan is the President of the Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation, and is a founding member of the Permaculture Institute of North America Board.  He has practiced permaculture for over 30 years, and ha taught numerous classes.


12:30 – 1:30           ‘Summer Pruning’   (Larry Davis)


                             Larry is a Master Gardener and a 20 year member of the Seattle Tree Fruit Society.  He lives on a quarter acre city lot with a great diverse mix of fruits.  His lifetime of gardening has included several years as a volunteer at the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden in Bellevue.  He will explain the benefits of summer pruning, when it is appropriate, and how it should be done.


12:40 – 1:45          ‘Red-Fleshed Apples’   (Harry Burton)


                             Harry will discuss the history of red-fleshed apples, as well as other historic varieties.  He will explain why he finds such delight in these varieties.  He grows over 20 varieties of red-fleshed apples.


1:45 – 3:00            ‘Fruit Production in Limited Spaces’   (Ingela Wanerstrand)


                             Ingela is a professional gardener who has been involved in fruit husbandry for many years.  She is active in the Seattle Tree Fruit Society, City Fruit, Friends of Piper Orchard, and Plant Amnesty, and is frequently in demand to teach pruning topics.  She will discuss strategies and methods of producing fruit in containers, as well as espalier techniques for fruiting plants.


1:55 – 3:00            ‘Common Diseases and Insect Pests of Berries’   (Elizabeth Vogt)


                             Elizabeth is an entomologist and beekeeper and organizes pest management panels for the Vashon Island Fruit Club each year.  She will discuss all the common pests of berries, including the Spotted Wing Drosophila, Botrytis, Powdery Mildew, Verticilium Wilt, Leaf Spot, etc.  You will learn aobut the best control methods of these pests.

STFS February 12th – Grafting Workshop

STFS February 12th – Grafting Workshop/Meeting & Potluck 9am to 4pm


Open to the Public.  Free Admission

Location:  Cedar Valley Grange,  20526 – 52nd Ave W. Lynnwood, 98036 (Very near Lynnwood Park & Ride)  Take Interstate 5 exit 179 (220th St SW), turn RIGHT on 220th go about a ½ mile, then turn LEFT onto 52nd Ave W, go almost a mile, the grange is on your LEFT.  Easy.


Time: 9am to 4pm

          9am to 11:30   Grafting Techniques Class

                                      taught by Greg Giuliani, Gil Schieber, and Bill Davis

          11:30-12     Potluck

          12 – 4pm    Hands-On Grafting Workshop: (Greg Giuliani, Gil Schieber, and Bill Davis),                                       Create your own tree

For Sale at Workshop:  Rootstock, Scion wood, grafting knives, grafting tape, bands, sealant, all you need for grafting your own tree!  You can bring the items you have or scion  wood to graft a special tree for yourself.


We need scion wood for this event.  If you have apple, plum, cherry, European and Asian pear varieties in your yard, that you could take some scion wood cutting of, please bring them to this event.  Take 10-12” long cuttings of the newest growth and wrap a moist (not dripping) paper towel at the cut end.  Mark these clearly with the name of the fruit varieties, using masking tape wrapped around the stem.  Enclose the whole stem in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator until Feb 12th.  Thank you.

There will be no Apple scionwood available this year from Mt Vernon orchard because of an Anthracnose infestation.  There will be cherry, plum, Asian and European pear scion wood.


Vendors at Show – Lowell’s Tools,

Tool Sharpening – Vagn


Collecting Scion Wood for the Spring Grafting Meeting

January/February is an ideal time to collect scion wood for spring grafting.

Look for healthy, growing, branch tips that are ¼ to ½ inch in diameter and 5-6” inches in length. Scion wood should be disease-free. 


Label Each Piece carefully – Use masking tape and a ball point pen to write the fruit name and wrap it around each piece preferably.  The scion wood needs to be clearly labeled. 


Cover the cut ends of the scion wood with a moist, not dripping paper towel.

Place in a sealed plastic bag (narrow newspaper plastic bags are great) to prevent moisture loss and store in the refrigerator, not the freezer.


Bring February 12th to STFS Member Grafting Meeting @ 9am @ Cedar Valley Grange. 

SOLD! Apple Press

SOLD! Apple Press  – Jaffrey – ~15 years old, dry storage, like new, used 2x  $400

Very clean, filter mesh bags included, plastic folding containers for juice,

Hand operated press & crusher

Cider /vinegar books included


Image jaffrey-cider-press

Schedule of the Fall Fruit Show Oct 31st – 10a to 3p

Oct 31 Sun – STFS Fall Fruit Show 2010 Fall Fruit Show Flier

Time: 10am to 3pm

Location: Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98195. 

Fruit Show Lectures  (Times may change)

10am-10:50am (50 min) Jackie King – “Unusual Fruits for the PNW”

10 min change over time

11:00- 11:50 (50 min) Tom Woods

10 min change over time

12- 12:40 (40min) Dr Bev Gerdeman

10 min change over time

12:50 – 1:30 (40min) Bob Glanzman (kiwibob)

10 min change over time

1:40-2:20 (40min)  Dr Norton VFC/Shaun Shephard HOS – “How I go about Identifying  Apples”   no break

2:20-3pm (40min) Dr Norton VFC/Shaun Shephard HOS – “Fruit Variety Changes’