Apple Tree Day
annually on January 6th
Apple Tree Day started as a celebration of an apple tree that was almost two centuries old. It is unknown which tree this was—maybe it was the Original Bramley apple tree, or Granfer's apple tree, both of which stood for over two centuries. Multiple other apple trees have been recorded as being over a century old. The day soon became a celebration of the apple itself, and the day now exists so we know the importance of apples and their nutritional benefits.
The apple tree is a deciduous tree from the rose family, and is cultivated around the world as a fruit tree. It originated in Central Asia; its ancestor is the malus sieversii, which still grows today. Apple trees grew for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, before being brought to North America by European colonists in the seventeenth century, and they are possibly the oldest tree to have been cultivated. The only apples native to North America are crab apples. Reverend William Braxton of Boston planted the first apple orchard on the North American continent in 1625. Apples were cultivated on colonial farms and spread along Native American trade routes. Johnny Appleseed introduced apple trees to the western frontier. Today apple trees are prominent in Eastern Washington, where apples are their leading product, and more apples are grown there than any other state.
If grown by seed in the wild, an apple tree can tower up to 30 feet, but they are generally 6-15 feet in height when cultivated. The height of the cultivars depends on how they were grafted into rootstocks. There are over 7,500 cultivars of apples, which are grown for various purposes such as eating raw, cooking, and cider making. Apple tree flowers blossom in the spring, and the leaves bud at this time as well. Flowers cluster in groups of four to six, and the center flower is called the "king bloom." It opens first and can grow into larger fruit than the other flowers. The fruit are ready to pick by late summer or fall.
How to Observe
How is the weather outside? Is the ground thawed? Since its January, probably not, but if possible, planting an apple tree is probably the best way to celebrate the day. Plant a cutting from a tree, or get a tree from a nursery to plant. Spend the day learning about the nutritional benefits of apples while eating fresh apples. You could celebrate by eating apples in some of their many other forms as well. Have some cider or apple juice; treat your sweet tooth to apple dumplings, apple pie, apple cake, or a caramel apple; and find a use for apple cider vinegar. There are so many ways you could enjoy apples.