Fake Apples Protecting Real Apples

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RAPID CITY, S.D.(KEVN) - Some apples are growing nice and sweet on planted apple trees around town...but make sure to take a good look before you grab on to pluck it.

Fake apples put on real apple trees

"I think it's just fake...just fake," said Kolton of Rapid City.

Kolton isn't wrong. Some delicious looking apples are actually not real apples that are up hanging on apple trees around town--in hopes to allow the real apples to grow healthy. Now, if that confuses you, you're not alone.

Brett Lawlor, the co-founder of the Rapid City Urban Orchard Project said, "A girl ran over and reached up and got over the fence and grabbed the apple and it was stuck to her hand and said...oh it's gross!"

A fake apple is sprayed with Tanglefoot--a type of glue made of natural ingredients used to trap pests. Little black bugs are attracted to the bright red color and become trapped on the glue -- keeping real apples from becoming infested with bugs or worms.

Brett Lawlor says, " You know my son and I, this is our pet project and we both like to beautify Rapid City. We like to provide good healthy food for people, that's free."

Lawlor co-founded the project 8 years ago, so far planting 250 apple trees in addition to 50 other types of fruit trees. Lawlor says while the imitation apples do not fully eliminate the problem, it's been a success.

So if you see a bright red apple...you can go ahead and take a bite of that Honeycrisp . Just be careful to not pick the wrong one.

"And so my word of caution to people is...If you see a bright red apple that looks too good to be true...it probably is, it's fake, it's covered with sticky stuff,so you just want to let that hang there and let the bugs die on that apple," Lawlor said.

The Rapid City Urban Orchard Project welcomes volunteers in helping plant and care for trees around the Black Hills.