En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 02, 2011

From: Utica, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Insect pest on non-native dwarf apply tree in Utica MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a dwarf apple tree that bears 5-6 different kinds of apples. I am having trouble with insects; what is a good choice for this and feeding it? Is there also a organic choice?

ANSWER:

Okay, Mr. Smarty Plants is stumped again. We have no idea what species of apple tree would bear 5 or 6 different kinds of apples. We know that dwarf apple trees are grafted onto root stock of other species of apple tree, and we know that some grafted plants revert to the root stock fruit. So, we are just going to ignore the whole thing.

Apple trees, in spite of the legend of Johnny Appleeed, do not spring up voluntarily all over North America. There are members of the Malus, apple, genus that are native to some parts of North America, all with the common name crabapple. These are relatively short trees, mostly from 12' to 36' tall, but they certainly don't qualify as dwarves. Two of these, Malus coronaria (American crab) and Malus ioensis (Prairie crabapple), grow natively in Michigan. All members of the Malus genus are part of the Rosacaeae family.

As for the rest of the apples around, they are all referred to as Malus domestica. From fruit-crops.com/apple we found this paragraph on the origin and history of this apple:


"ORIGIN, HISTORY OF CULTIVATION
 The center of diversity of the genus Malus is the eastern Turkey, southwestern Russia region of Asia Minor. Apples were probably improved through selection over a period of thousands of years by early farmers. Alexander the Great is credited with finding dwarfed apples in Asia Minor in 300 BC; those he brought back to Greece may well have been the progenitors of dwarfing rootstocks. Apples were brought to North America with colonists in the 1600's, and the first apple orchard on this continent was said to be near Boston in 1625. From New England origins, apples moved west with pioneers, John Chapman (alias Johnny Appleseed) and missionaries during the 1700's and 1800's. In the 1900s, irrigation projects in Washington state began and allowed the development of the multi-billion dollar fruit industry, of which the apple is the leading species."

So, we are not going to find any of those in our Native Plant Database, but we will see if we can find some information on pest control and fertilizer. We found this article from West Virginia University on Disease Management for Organic Apple Production in Ohio. And from Ohio State University Growing Apples in the Home Orchard has information not only on controlling pests and diseases but on fertilizer amounts.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Care of non-native house plant
October 20, 2007 - I have bought a 7 foot bird of paradise indoor plant, and have a decorative pot to place it into. The plant will remain in its plastic pot, will have a liner inside decorative pot, and decorative moss...
view the full question and answer

Competition for sun between non-native loquat and Carolina laurel cherry in San Antonio
October 27, 2010 - I have planted 2 Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry)along my north side fence. I just learned my neighbor has planted a Loquat tree on the other side of the north facing fence. He told me that...
view the full question and answer

Recovery of damaged fuchsia plant in hanging basket
July 23, 2007 - I had a beautiful fuchsia plant hanging on my porch. The hanger gave way and the plant fell straight down into another flower bed. The fuchsia seemed ok. I put it back in the pot put up new strong ...
view the full question and answer

Foxglove safety from England
April 21, 2013 - Hi, regarding safety of foxgloves grown near edible plants - foxgloves are good companion plants for vegetables, in case of root vegetables they improve their storage life and quality. Foxgloves prote...
view the full question and answer

Fruit on Jasmines
March 13, 2013 - My jasmines have grown some small purple fruits and she is about to get her full bloom soon. Should I cut them off to help the plants out? What are they?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center