At Cornell Orchards there is a small collection of very old trees known as standards. This term refers to the rootstock, which in the case of these trees was grown from a seed. Almost any apple tree in a conventional orchard is grown on a particular rootstock bred to produce a certain size tree, such as dwarf tree which will only grow to be eight to ten feet tall . Prior to the propagation of particular rootstocks, all apple trees where grafted onto seedling rootstocks which would grow to the height and size of a wild apple tree. These standard trees could easily reach eighteen to twenty feet in height and a similar breadth. They are a whole different breed of apple tree, anachronisms in an age of controlled breeding and dwarf trees, magnificent stalwart giants of a time largely gone by.
|Sixteen-foot straight ladders (eight foot in background)|