Preservation and Diversification of Heirloom and Antique Apple Varieties in Southern Ohio

2013 Annual Report for FNC12-865

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2012: $4,395.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Jo Huff
Hillgate Farm

Preservation and Diversification of Heirloom and Antique Apple Varieties in Southern Ohio



2013 January – February – March:

Scion collection began with apple trees found around the county (with owner’s permission) and the farm owner’s property. Grafting is a difficult task and requires skill and practice. During our research and practice, we have found that fruit trees can be grafted at different times of year, depending on the technique. The whip-and-tongue grafting is performed in late winter or early spring. Chip budding and T-budding can be carried out from mid-summer into early autumn and we are trying our hand with different techniques.


We have expanded the rooting pots on heirloom trees on the farm owner’s property, primarily so they can be monitored more closely. Only a few pots have been used on trees elsewhere in the county.


The actual number of trees found has been fewer than expected and a great deal of time has been spent attempting to locate known heirloom apple trees.


2013 March – June:

Rooter pots are utilized on specific trees. Additional pots were ordered to place on more trees.


OUS student continues work on a website for Hillgate Farm of which the apple research will be displayed along with farm information.



Although the grant is focused on ‘finding and preserving’ older apple tree varieties located in the county, it is of the utmost importance that we do not damage the existing trees and that we perfect our own skills of grafting/propagation in the process. The location of the trees alone provides an added inventory not previously known that can be built upon in years to come.


2013 July — August:

Tree identification continues. Maintenance occurs for successfully planted scions and rooting pot trees.



2014 January – April:

Evaluation of the project.

A no-cost extension was requested and approved due to a number of circumstances:

1) We had a limited number of research students gathering information,

2) There was considerably more time involved than we had initially estimated in attempting to contact landowners, getting permissions and locating apple trees that are now growing in overgrown conditions,

3) We wanted to collect more scions than have been identified so far,

4) One of the last remaining viable orchard’s in Lawrence County was put on the Real Estate market for sale after the death of the owner and we have been unable to contact family members for permission to collect scions from the older trees before the area is developed,

5) We were contacted by a resident of Jackson County Ohio who has the same interest in trying to save or collect heirloom/antique apple trees in the Jackson County area and we would like more time to explore a mutual partnership with this apple enthusiast and farm owner, and lastly,
6) We want our final report to be usable and comprehensive and feel more time to collect additional information can only enhance the final report.



  • Published quarterly newsletters
  • Press release
  • Interviews and site visits with property owners
  • Student currently working on new website



Dr. Robert Culp

[email protected]
Ohio University Nature Center
Liberty Avenue
Ironton, OH 45638
Office Phone: 7405334563
Adam Wilson

[email protected]
Ohio University Nature Center
Liberty Avenue
Ironton, OH 45638
Office Phone: 3045334563