apple identification apple 3

Asked September 28, 2018, 11:50 PM EDT

Recap, old orchard in Alsea area, trees are 50 plus years old. Tree nr 3. Smaller but not dwarf tree. Apples are also somewhat smaller but not as small as crabapples. A soft apple, fairly sweet, Ripens first part of Sept. Deer love them.

Benton County Oregon

6 Responses

Possible Gravenstein, but see my other reply with disclaimer about identifying apples over the internet.

Thanks for the responses Nik W.
Yes, we believe it is neigh on impossible to give a good, solid identification of apples via the internet. We tried to show them to the folks in Corvallis, but they said 'use the form we have on the internet'. So we did.
No fault to you on not being able to do a positive ID on them.

What we do know is none are Gravenstien, we have 2, one new and one from the original 50 plus year old plantings (it is also grafted with a yellow delish), no comparison at all between the 'unknown' and the G'stiens. Braeburn we also believe is probably not correct, we have a 'new' planting of that one, and the one in question looks close from a distance. Taste is different as well. Not all that sure they were available when this orchard was planted, nor would be by the fellow that planted it. Seems to have been a 'hard core traditionalist'.

Thanks for the suggestion we go to Clackamas to a non-OSU group for identification help. We might have to do that if we get the time/opportunity. Must admit we are a bit miffed that OSU can't provide more help. Again, we know and understand it is out of your hands, and have no doubt you could ID them if you could actually see them.

Thanks for trying,

Hi Curly, Thanks for understanding that these online apple identification questions are very challenging. Apple diversity is staggering when you get outside of commercial production varieties. We have 50 + apple varieties in our research orchard. There have been around 400 named apples grown in America ( many names are synonyms making it even more confusing). I would typically guess common varieties for an orchard such as yours that is about 50 years old, but maybe the original orchardist planted some usual varieties. There are some very interesting old orchards along the highways through the Oregon Coast Range that must have sustained some of the early settlers. Also ancient apple trees around the old homesteads in the Willamette Valley. No doubt there has been considerable knowledge and local apple culture lost in this region. With the cider apple renaissance there is renewed interest but most homeowners are growing the same mass production varieties in their home orchard. I do believe we can determine your fruit varieties provided I have some ripe fruit to examine. Please ship or drop off some labeled fruit for me along with relevant info such as ripening time, tip vs spur bearing, biennial bearing tendencies, disease susceptibility observations, etc., along with your contact information to Nik Wiman, Dept. of Horticulture, 4017 Ag and Life Sci (ALS) Bldg, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331.

Hi Nik,

Hope I didn't plug up your office mailbox yesterday. (Thursday)


Hi Curly,

Thanks for the samples and interesting history, I see a lot of interesting apples and pears in McDonald forest regularly. I needed a lot of help to nail down your apples from the Home Orchard Society ID clinic (Shaun Shepherd) but we got them figured out. I know you wanted an OSU ID but hope you can be happy to have the names and we can both lament that I'm not an apple identification expert. I did enjoy working on your samples and appreciate the offer of scion.

So the "Chicken tree" was the hardest and we thought possible seedling, but if not, it is likely 'Duchess of Oldenberg'

The "Woodshed tree" is 'Ben Davis'. Not known for its flavor or quality.

Finally the "Thicket tree" is 'Baldwin'. Once a very popular variety.

It seems your apples are more interesting than I initially supposed. These varieties suggest that the orchard may be more like 70+ years old.

Finally, I took a photo of examples of these varieties from known trees at the HOS All About Fruit Show.

Hi Nik W.

First off, our heartfelt thanks for all the time and effort you put into solving this mystery, and your doing so did make it an OSU answer!

I have no doubt that the orchard is at least 70 years old, my guess at 50 was conservative as I can't recall when I first noticed trees growing there as we drove from Corvallis to Waldport to go fishing … and that was circa '47. (My dad drove.)

If anyone associated with OSU would like some of the scion for any reason, you have my email, so have them get in touch with me that way. Perhaps a heritage cider?

Again, our thanks for the diligent research and if we can ever be of any help, just let us know,