Seriously. F*@k 'em. I'm over it.
Never have the malevolent forces of nature conspired so uniformly against the survival of a single living organism as they have against the common apple tree.
Came home last night after a weekend away to find that the only one (out of thirty or so) apple trees that had managed any kind of significant growth since planting had been ravaged and broken completely in half... presumably by deer.
No sooner have my apple trees produced some new branch or leafy cluster than it is savagely torn off and consumed by the local fauna. The ones I planted a year and a half ago (those that survived having all their bark gnawed off by the goddamn rabbits, that is) are exactly the size they were when I planted them. If by some happy mutation they managed to grow thrice as fast, they would merely become a welcome boon to the local deer population, remaining unchanged in size.
At this rate, they'll never get big enough to suffer any real disease (or set fruit) but I can only imagine the parade of worms, fungus and pests that would all too-happily line up to devour them if they did.
Meanwhile, my 2-year old apricot trees are 8-feet tall, my peach trees multiply in size each year, and my pears continue healthy and unmolested. I am seriously considering bailing on the exercise in frustration that is apple growing and focus instead on the types of fruit that require far less cursing.
I love apples dearly... even aside from their many delicious culinary uses, they are tremendously important to me because they constitute exactly one half of my "Plan for Future Sustainable Inebriation", but enough is enough.
I am not allowed to shoot the deer because the Ohio Division of Wildlife does not consider them to be a nuisance species (or rather, only considers them to be a nuisance species for 3 or so months out of the year). The not-so-subtle subtext there is that they don't bother with deer because deer don't eat corn or soybeans. If they did, rest assured their season would be expanded year-round, and they would be summarily hunted to extinction in Ohio... because corn and soybeans are important, and what I grow on my small plot of land is not. I would spend more time being outraged by this if I had the time to sit at home and shoot deer as they grazed on my trees... which I currently do not. As such, then, it doesn't matter anyways.
I wonder now if it would not be the saner part of valor to abandon apples entirely, and spend my time instead learning to brew hooch from mulberries, peaches, apricots, and other less needy fruit?