150yr old apple tree

John (Learn to Grow) has a 150yr old unknown apple tree variety with 8” diameter fruit. In the comments it sounds like he is willing to hook people up with scionwood if anyone is interested. It has been a while since I watched his videos but I think he is in Washington state or at least somewhere in the NW USA.


If that age is accurate that could be among the oldest apple trees in WA state. Looks like the earliest trees were planted about 200 years ago and the first commercial orchard was 170 years ago:


I wonder if it is a Spokane Beauty. I’ve never had one but the descriptions are similar i.e. Spokane Beauty has large fruit up to 2 lbs. and is tip-bearing and has strong vigor. Hope they can get it ID’d.


if seed-grown(self-rooted) then i want a sucker/root cutting!

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I wish we could see the fruit, but I know ‘Wolf River’ tends to naturally grow wider that tall. All my grafted ‘Wolf River’ trees seem more interested in growing out than up.


I just looked at the video’s comment section again and he said after some research he thinks it is a Wolf River apple. Pretty cool that it keeps going. I mean, if ever there was a rootstock that has proven it can hang in there, I think this tree has made a case for itself. I’m not sure what kind of growth habits it would have on any varieties grafted to it, though.

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@jeremybyington I know of another very old ‘Wolf River’ in Washington. I wonder if it is from the same era. It belongs to a friend and is actually the source for the scion I started all of mine from. I did some light maintenance pruning on it years ago, but despite having received little to no pruning for probably decades prior to that it still was producing boxes and boxes of apples. I think it does tend to be partially biennial bearing though.

Based on growth habit I suspect it would be pretty easy to keep ‘Wolf River’ trees really short and wide if one wanted to. Even if on vigorous rootstock.

I’d love seeds from that tree

@Jujube Why not scion? Are you trying to get an own-root tree?

I’d take either but there are pros & cons to all rootstocks as well as own root trees. This tree can clearly stand the test of time and likely so with much neglect, uncommon for many varieties. Could be interesting to spread these genetics and I assume it’s already an own-root tree


Maybe… But then again maybe not… Seems like grafting has existed since ancient times.

A History of Grafting

I didn’t watch this entire video over again but if I remember correctly either in this video or another video he shows how the tree fell over and one of the branches became the new trunk. So it seems legit to think it is surviving on its own roots now, even if it was originally grafted.


Reminds me of a lot of other stories
on YouTube or on TV…
an 8 inch apple stretches any credibility the story has.

It is nice somebody is interested in keeping an old tree.

Yup. My thoughts too.

It was a pleasant, real-life video, but I found myself -with my very limited experience- thinking that he might have taken out a lot more wood. I don’t like leaving many shoots sticking right up or right down, for example, and it just seemed to me the smaller branches that he left at the ends of the scaffolds were too skinny for the job they had to do -especially if we’re expecting large apples out there.

But I’m a poor pruner who ends up with way too many old spurs that produce a lot of small apples! Working on that this year for sure.

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I’m probably a lazy pruner. But, you do have to keep in mind not to remove too many limbs
in one season…or you’ll get all sprouts and no fruit…just making more of a job the next year at pruning time.

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My first thought was Wolf River, too. It’s an old variety; I have a huge, very old tree which was planted with three trunks entwined and they are now hollow, but it was covered with fruit last year. Seems to be biennial, hardly any last year, and loaded the year before. The apple can get huge, I’ve had some 6" across. They are extremely tart! An apple friend told me that the Wolf River apple was the model Walt Disney used for the apple in the Snow White movie.


I would love some cuttings! please text me 334 434 4540

How long do the Wolf apples last before they get too mealy to use?

Good question. I’ve seen that apple take the first place ribbon at Kentucky State Fair more than once…but it still under 6" in diameter. My tree is 7 years old and has not yet bloomed on M111. (Although some other varieties I’ve grafted to it have bloomed).

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