The Boulder Apple Tree Project is committed to studying the age, health, history, and genetics of Boulder’s apple trees. In the late 1800s, much of the land in the city of Boulder was planted for fruit production. For a period of time at the beginning of the 20th century, Boulder was one of the top apple-growing states in the nation. Disease, drought, and possibly Prohibition combined to hasten the decline of apple productivity in the state. As commercial apple production in Washington State began to flourish, many of the orchards in Colorado were falling into disrepair or subdivision for development. Most of the remaining trees are ending their natural lifespan now. Time is of the essence for research and preservation!
Our work connecting the ecological and cultural heritage of apple trees in Boulder County helps to create a living resource that preserves the cherished place of apple trees in Boulder culture and provides a bank of historic, sustainable cultivars for the future. Furthermore, building connections among the people who cherish this resource has been vital to the success of the project.