Questions specific to fruit trees and berries

Fruits

How old and how big are your fruit trees in general?

The bare root trees that we send out in the spring are 3- to 5-feet tall with an average of a 1/2" caliber. They are grown on two-year-old rootstocks with one-year old tops. We have larger -- too large to ship -- and more mature trees available at the Garden Center. These were bare root trees that we potted up in the spring and have had all summer to grow. If you can come to the nursery to shop you'll find a limited variety (but best for the Northwest) of our favorite apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, and apple espaliers ready to plant in your own garden -- fiber pot and all.

When will my new fruit tree produce fruit?

Most of our fruit trees will start producing fruit in their third summer. In some cases there may be some fruit in the first or second year. It is best for the health and long-term vigor of your new tree that any fruit that starts to grow in the first two years be removed. This allows the tree to focus the available energy on growing strong roots, trunk, and primary scaffolding branches, instead of energy demanding fruit. Often, if the tree is allowed to ripen fruit during the first two years, it will be several years before it flowers again.

I have two fruit trees in big pots, they are second year grafts from your annual all-day class and grafting event. I want to plant them in the ground, but I am worried that their roots won't spread out into the native soil. Would it be better to plant them bareroot-style by removing the potting soil when dormant? If so, should I do it this late fall / early winter or wait until spring?

Are the roots are circling around the rootballs? If not, there is no problem. Just loosen or cut some of the roots on the outside so they will head outward when you plant. Removing all of the soil would be possible, but will set your trees back considerably. Do your transplanting when the tree is dormant, early winter is best. If your trees are in fiber pots then they can go into the ground -- pot and all -- and your trees will have a great start in developing a strong root system when they are ready to come out of their dormant state in the spring.

In your catalog, you have EMLA 27. Can ALL apple varieties be grafted on this rootstock?

Yes, to the best of our knowledge, any of the varieties should be okay on this rootstock

I just planted apple trees this spring. Should I remove the blossoms from the trees this year?

Go ahead and enjoy the blossoms! Just remove any fruit that may form.

Can you suggest a semi-dwarf apple tree close to Golden Delicious in taste and texture with early- to mid-season ripening?

Try the Chehalis. Pristine is also a similar apple.

When is the best time to pick pears?

Pears are ready to pick when they easily come off the branch, except the Bosc, which is never happy to leave the tree. For more information, see http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/17252/fs147.pdf.

What kind of pears come in gift packs that are very fragrant and delicious?

The Comice is often sold in gift packs (like Harry and David's, under the name Royal Riviera), but you will need another variety of European pear for pollination, like Bosc. Asian pears also need two varieties for pollination. You may want to try our combination grafted trees.

Which plum trees are known to be resistant to bacterial cankers?

Plums with some resistance include Santa Rosa, Burbank, AU Producer, and Beauty

I have struggled to find a pollinator for my Satsuma semi-dwarf asian plum tree (about 8 yrs old now and has never produced more than a few plums).The nursery I bought it from recommended a Methley plum as a pollinator, but that tree flowered too early to pollinate the Satsuma. Then I tried a Santa Rosa, but it was killed in a storm before it could mature enough to pollinate the Satsuma. I've looked at your catalog and I'm wondering if the Obilnaja tree or the Shiro tree would be pollinators for the Satsuma? My Satsuma produces fruit in late August (if it does) or even early September.

Both the Shiro and Beauty are recommended for pollenizing the Satsuma. Obilnaja has not been tested.

Washington: What is the flavor of Craig's Crimson cherry trees, and how long until it bears fruit? What is the spread of the tree, and is it a good choice for Redmond, WA?

The Craig's Crimson cherry is a very good variety for fresh eating. Trees planted from bare roots will usually begin to fruit their third year in the ground. The spread on this tree is about 8 feet. It can do well in Redmond!

Washington: What apple and plum species do you recommend for my wet climate here in Forks?

Your best choices will be the earlier ripening apples, like Akane and Pristine, and the Asian plums like Beauty and Methley.

Washington: Are any of your Mirabelle plums self-pollinating? Do you recommend any of them for western Washington?

Sorry, none of the Mirabelles are self-pollinating. They need another variety of Mirabelle or another late blooming European plum for pollination. They can do well in Western Washington especially in the long, hot summers.

Oregon: When will the Melrose, Arkansas black and Fuji apple varieties be ripe in Douglas County?

We recommend checking with your county’s Cooperative Extension or Oregon State’s Horticulture Department for this. Up here in Lewis County, Wash., Melrose and Arkansas Black ripen mid- to late October, and Fuji may not ripen at all. Your summers are longer and warmer, so local advice is best.

California: I would like to plant a non-astringent persimmon. Which one will work in a compact area?

The Jiro has large fruit and can do very well in your area.

Nuts

Maine: I read in your catalog the American Chestnut suffers from blight in the East. Will this tree be susceptible to blight in Maine?

Yes. The entire eastern half of the United States is infected with chestnut blight.

Berries

When does one replace blue berry plants? Mine are about 35 years old and not producing much. Which plants are best for Vancouver, WA? Thank you

Blueberry plants can live to be as old as 50 years, but may need rejuvenation long before that: http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/production/pdfs/blueberries/bbprunerejuv.pdf If you prefer replacing your plants, some very good varieties include Olympia, Patriot, Sierra, Bluecrop, and Legacy — hard choices, as you are in a great area for blueberries!

How should I fertilize and how much mulch should I use on my raspberries after their first year?

Your raspberries will benefit from an inch or two of good compost in the early spring or use a balanced fertilizer like a 10-10-10- with micronutrients. However, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Over-fertilization can lead to problems like great vegetative growth with few berries. A soil test can tell you what is and is not available in your soil or just watch your plants for yellowing or weak growth.

Do Rosanna raspberries have a lifespan? I had a very poor crop this year, very late and small berries. Any reason for this? I live in Northern California and have had these plans for 5-6 years with good results. Thanks!

Raspberries are susceptible to many virus problems, which is usually the determining factor in their lifespan. These viruses are spread from wild plants and by sucking insects, like aphids. I just talked to a person in Montana who had her sickly raspberry plant worked over by a pathologist, who said they had found 27 different viruses in her poor plant.

My Berry Blue Honeyberry blossomed well this spring, but almost all the blossoms fell off and there was very little fruit. Do you have any suggestions as to why the blossoms would drop and how to prevent it next year?

Your Berry Blue needs an early-blooming pollenizer like Blue Bird.

Minnesota: I want to grow giant mushrooms in wood chips. When is the best time to have them to establish for Zone 4?

Start them in the early spring so the mycelium can establish before cold weather stops it.

Florida: Can I grow red currants in Miami?

Currants will not thrive in your area. They need a long, cold winter to do well.

New York: When is the best time to plant red and white currants?

Spring planting is best in your area. Check www.raintreenursery.com for the available selection in January.

Massachusetts: What are the best table grapes for eating and jelly making and handles black rot?

We suggest Himrod and Concord. We think they will do the best for you. Best of luck with your grapes!

Can I grow a fig tree or bush indoors in a pot?

Figs can do very well when grown indoors! The Petite Negri is a natural dwarf and will not try to grow past about 7 feet. All figs can be kept short with pruning and do not mind being root bound.

What is the mesh dimension for the Heavy Duty Tree Netting on your catalog website?

Mesh dimension is 1/2"