This spring Rob Johnston and I walked down a trail to an uninhabited part of camp, the Old Orchard. There we found a sign and the remains of one fallen apple tree. The tree had died last year and showed little life, aside from a dozen or so small branches that looked to hold the last vitality. The orchard had been around for decades and there are probably memories in the minds of older campers when the tree was accompanied by many other trees that bore fruit. The canopy had overtaken the height of apple trees and sunlight was scarce. It amazes me that those trees survived at all. Deer, voles, moles, eastern tent caterpillars and other animals all take a liking to fruit trees, much to the trees’ detriment.
We collected the live wood shoots and I brought them home, and later in the spring we grafted the branches to new roots. There are probably 4-5 trees that have been grafted. Some are in the possession of young campers who participated in our grafting workshop at the Evanston Y. I have two trees, one pictured above, which will find their way back to camp.