“West Virginia’s most famous contribution to horticulture, the Golden Delicious apple, had its humble beginnings in the autumn of 1905 on a small farm in Clay County. It was there that Anderson Mullins noticed a precocious seedling with large yellow apples, unlike any variety he had seen. Little did this hillside farmer realize that his discovery would, one day, change the course of apple production around the world.
The Golden Delicious apple tree, located on a hill near Porter’s Creek, has since become the ancestor of millions of such trees. For nine years after he first observed the tree, Mullins harvested an abundant crop annually, even when other trees in the family orchard were barren. The apples kept in good condition in his cellar until April. He called the discovery “Mullins Yellow Seedling. In the spring of 1914, Mullins sent three apples by parcel-post to Stark Brothers Nursery, Louisiana, MO, modestly describing the observations he had made of the bearing habit of the tree and quality of the fruit. When
Mr. Lloyd Stark opened the small package of fruit, he was not very excited because yellow apples had never been big sellers. Nevertheless, Lloyd and his brother Paul decided to sample a slice of one of the apples. The apple, which had been stored in Mullins’ cellar all winter, was still firm, but what was even more impressive was its spicy flavor.”
Yellow peel and sweetly tangy flavor make a tempting snack. One of the best pollinators for other varieties—so much so that it’s been called a “rooster” tree! Best as a short-storage eating apple. Ripens mid Sept. to Oct. Zones 4-7. Best ripened on the tree for a crisp, juicy sweet apple with an aromatic flavour. Ideal in a warmer climate. Cooks well being most commonly used apple in France for pastries. Keeps well.
August 2008, the tree was not topped off at this time. It is too tall and thick. It also appears to lean in as it competes for sun with the Live Oaks and Coast Oaks:
After slow pruning, by November 2012, the tree looks good because it has been topped off and has a healthier shape:
- Prune slowly and consistently over 3-4 years to reshape
- Conduct maintenance every January
- Selectively remove small trees and non-native weeds on the hillside for more sun
- Maintain drainage swale to eliminate water overflow problems and soil erosion
Late August, 2019: The tree is super healthy and producing quality apples. The large Live Oak behind it has died. After the oak is removed, we will monitor the shape of the tree once more sun hits it from the north-west.