Bicentennial Apple Tree Pruning

March 25, 2020

Marion County Board member Adam Smith met with former Bicentennial Liaison Mark Decker on Friday to prune the Bicentennial Johnny Appleseed Tree on the Courthouse grounds in Salem.

Smith’s family owns the Schwartz Orchards in Centralia that grows apples, peaches, and strawberries.

The tree was donated by the local Salem Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) in 2017 as part of their “Living Legacy Program.” Worldwide, the Odd Fellows snd Rebekahs have planted over 8 million trees since 1989.

Smith offered to use his knowledge and expertise to properly prune the tree so it’s branches grow evenly and proportionally to maintain a healthy tree that will someday produce fruit. In addition to showing Decker how and why the pruning needs to be done, Smith also explained how to graft cuttings to possibly start additional trees.

During the first two years the tree has survived bag worms, Apple scab, aphids and Japanese beetles and is very healthy.

Smith said that proper pruning will prevent the tree from growing uneven and having big branches break off and killing the tree maybe.

Decker is happy the get an expert on Apple trees to help keep the tree healthy and growing. Some day soon it will be nice to use the apples to bake pies or cider to sell at the Annual Applefest and raise money for a scholarship for Marion County students interested in agriculture and horticulture.

The Apple trees planted by John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) were used to teach about the Bible and conservation.