National Apple Museum
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Biglerville, PA 17307
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Early History
of the
Apple Industry
in Adams County




 A is for apple

Planting

Orchards were once planted by hand. Orchardists had to sow many seeds and hope that most would develop into strong fruit-bearing trees. Trees were twenty feet apart and grew very large. Each acre had one to two hundred trees. Planting was done in the spring, and trees took nine to ten years to reach full yield.

  grafting Orchards today are very different from orchards of the past. Growers now buy small trees from nurseries and planting is done by machine. For maximum yield and ease of picking, trees are smaller and planted much closer together. An apple orchard can now have as many as three thousand trees per acre and reach full production in three to four years.

Today¹s smaller apple trees are dwarfed varieties of the larger trees of old. These dwarf trees are obtained by using the rootstock of selected smaller trees. Rootstock is produced by bending saplings of select dwarf trees into the ground, where they will form roots of their own. The tree that naturally grows from rootstock will not necessarily bear the desired fruit. To obtain the desired fruit, growers use the techniques of grafting and budding.

Grafting is a method of growing a selected variety of tree by cutting a thin piece of living limb from that tree and connecting and binding it to the freshly cut trunk of rootstock. This piece of limb‹called scionwood‹will mature into a duplicate of its parent tree. Budding is similar to grafting, but, instead of attaching a piece of limb to rootstock, an apple bud is attached to a limb. These methods of selecting apple varieties actually allow a single tree to bear several kinds of fruit, but as long as all growth is from selected rootstock, the result will be a small ³dwarfed² tree.

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The Biglerville Historical and Preservation Society
and The National Apple Museum
154 West Hanover Street - P.O. Box 656
Biglerville, PA 17307-9442 - Telephone: 717-677-4556

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