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your most difficult fruit?
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Author:  redberry [ Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  your most difficult fruit?

As summer is progressing and I keep an eye on my various fruit crops and hoping pests or other disasters don't befall them before harvest, I wondered what other people grow that they find challenging here in the PNW but decide to keep trying anyway. For example, growing raspberries for me is no longer as easy as it used to be b/c of the spotted-winged Drosophila but once I start eating the berries, I decide that the pain of bagging fruit is worth it. What fruits do you find a challenge to grow or what fruits have you given up on?


Author:  Rooney [ Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

My neighbor has apples. When I brought in early pears I would have large crops and I brought in codling moth to his few apple trees. As of the last four years we are fine. The only difference now is I thin 90% of my early pears and I have found good nesting of paper wasps in my shed. Since then Ed has had no problems what-so-ever on his but my later pears which ripen with his apples get a little hit on my side so they are still there. I have seen research on using pear compounds in traps to attract male and female moths, so I'm going to keep it up.

Author:  John S [ Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

Somewhat difficult but totally worth it: Quince

Very difficult and I haven't given up yet: Peaches and Korean cherries

Long run extremely difficult and I'm probably going to give up: Shipova and standard sized sweet cherry.

JohN S

Author:  Viron [ Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

I’ve had the most difficulty with peaches; five trees in, five trees out. They’ve long become ‘figs,’ with no problems.

I’ve given up on cherries as well. …and after thirty years of this - have begun to forget why! …Couldn’t get two trees that would actually pollinate each other to live. Borers of some kind and bacterial canker of another … after two ‘beautifully healthy’ miss-marked and unproductive trees…

Blueberries are another fruit I’ve given up on. Three attempts, three failures. 1st) deer; 2nd) wet feet; 3rd) meadow voles. Now if I had any …birds..?

Raspberries have also been a failure; likely ‘wet feet’ both times, if some help from voles on the last. It was so sad to listen to my daughter just last night …having bought outrageously priced plastic boxes of both raspberries and blueberries …while lamenting how we ‘can’t grow them.’

…but my bullet-proof Asian plums are on heavy, and the ever consistent ‘Transparent’ apples …soon followed by figs, figs and more figs! Win a few – lose a few.. :roll:

Author:  davem [ Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

- Goji berry - I started a bunch of these from seed. At one time I had about 40 of them. I gave away most of them, and the slugs have destroyed almost all the rest. I still have about 5 of them but none of them look super happy. If I can keep the slugs at bay for another year I think they will be OK.
- Plums - I have several trees that are about 4 years old but have yet to bloom or produce fruit.
- Serviceberry - In the spring most of the plant is covered with a bright orange fungus of some kind. However it did produce a few berries which were very tasty.
- Grape - I have a 23 year old red seedless grape that grows like crazy every year but produces just a few bunches of tiny grapes. I am going to cut it down.

- Apples - I have two main trees, the "Miss Jessamine" seedling which is happy with no input from me other than a little compost tea spray, and another unknown variety which has some codling moth trouble but is getting better in the last few years. I think I have had some success in attracting parasitic wasps which I assume are battling it out with the codling moths? i.e. I have seen parasitic wasps trying to get into my mason bee tubes.
- Raspberries - I have many different kinds, they all seem happy, some are way too happy (i.e. spreading faster than I would like). One is on its second crop of berries this season.
- Marionberries, boysenberries & blackberries - Again I have many kinds, they all are happy.
- Blueberries - About 10 different varieties, most are happy.
- Aronia (chokeberry) - I started red & black from seed, they are very happy & not bothered by pests (yet).
- Highbush cranberry - it is native here so it is no surprise that it is happy.
- Seaberry - I bought a male & female and also started a few from seed. They are all happy and one is producing berries for the first time.
- Honeyberry - I have two varieties, both very happy although neither produced berries this year (they both did last year).
- Crandall clove currant - Always happy but slow growing. Producing berries for the first time this year.
- Volunteer cherry(/plum?) - Some creature is always planting these in my yard. I let one grow so I could see what it was. The fruit looks exactly like a yellow cherry but the flesh texture is like a plum.

Author:  John S [ Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

Dave M:
I had the same thing on both goji and serviceberry.
Fungal compost tea cures the orange fungus. Serenade does too probably.

I stopped the slugs by putting old footies on the gojis on the lower part of the stem. Slugs hate to cross it, so the plant could finally grow this year. See my article in the last issue of Pome News.

Thanks for bringing Miss Jessamine to the scion exchange. I now have it growing on a cleft graft in my "Gala" tree and on a w and t graft in my Norhern Spy tree. I can't wait for it to fruit.

I have several volunteer cherries, both sweet and pie. The pie cherries have started fruiting and taste like Montmorency but are later.
John S

Author:  Rooney [ Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

John S:
I'm glad you haven't given up on the ground cherry bushes yet. On mine I could get them to be healthy but no fruit until I decided to not give up. After grafting to the productive gisela rootstock I have more now. Very very low hanging branches that you have to bend over for. May be safer than climbing. If you want to sample them then get in touch.

Author:  redberry [ Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

Thanks for your responses. It is interesting to see the different challenges people face. I had to look up Shipova and Korean cherry since I was unfamiliar with those plants. I am fortunate to be harvesting some homegrown peaches this year but there have been signs of bacterial canker so the tree may be short-lived. I was thinking I should figure out how many pounds of peaches I need to harvest to break even on the price of the tree! My potted Latturula fig has not been a robust grower for me but last year I finally got some figs just when I was about to give up. This year I have one breba fig that is just about ready to harvest and there are some other baby figs. And, I admit that I succumbed to buying a sweet cherry tree a few years ago...the first couple of years seemed okay but this year I lost a lot of cherries to some rot. Plus, I will need to protect the berries from spotted-winged Drosophila so it just may not be practical. I decided to postpone the decision until next year. Last year I ran into the problem of a squirrel taking my apples as they were nearing ripeness. I'm hoping it doesn't come back this year b/c that is one very difficult pest to deal with!


Author:  John S [ Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

YOu are an endless source of useful ideas and strategies. I love the idea of grafting bush cherries to Gisela. I need to get more gisela.

Also your idea about excess rain flooding the quince graft saved my quince trees this year. I kept them out of the heavy rain, and almost all survived. I now have Kuganskaya to add to my Kaunching and Crimea quince trees.

Squirrels take many fewer of my apples and Asian pears since they are all now covered with foot sox or ziplocs.

Peach trees are short lived by nature. Don't buy one redberry. Contact me in the fall and I'll give you a seedling.

I grow peaches but just from trees that grow out of my compost. I'm going to add another session of compost tea in the Spring, just for things like serviceberry, quince, and peaches to see if they can do better.
John S

Author:  sohoppy [ Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

Sour Cherries! I have two trees that I've had for two years...they get badly infected with black knot in early spring and then leaf spot in summer. Neem oil cures the leaf spot for them, but this spring I had to saw them down from 4 to 2 feet because of the black knot. I'm definitely hitting them with some copper fungicide this winter. Oh, then the deer usually hit them once or twice if I don't have them protected in rabbit fencing.

Chicago Hardy Fig Just bought one this year and it's supposed to be one of the only figs that can be grown zone 6. I've read that they can be planted in the ground, but the branches may die back, which isn't a big deal to me, but this one hasn't grown at all since I planted it. It gets plenty of sun and I've watered it enough to get its roots established. No growth. If this one fails I'll probably just stick to growing figs in pots.

Golden Delicious Apple Who would've though, right? Had mine for 3 years now and I've found that it gets badly affected by powdery mildew. I've had to cut back so many branches that it's basically the same size as when I planted it 3 summers ago. I started using neem oil on it this year and it seems to have done the trick. I'll see how it goes, but as Lee Reich says, apples are probably the hardest fruit to grow east of the Rockies.

Author:  John S [ Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

What variety of sour cherries are you growing? North star gets bacterial disease for me , but not Montmorency, Jubileum, and Danube just gets a little. Balaton seems ok so far too.
John S

Author:  sohoppy [ Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

Not sure. They were unlabeled at the nursery, but I'm guessing probably north star or montmorency. The black knot seems to go away. But that's only after I remove the affected branches, so I don't want to keep doing that. On the other hand I don't want to just give up already.

What makes the quince you have so difficult to grow? I'm curious because I planted a Texas Red Scarlet Japanese quince in the spring and I want to know what I may be up against. I haven't noticed much in the way of problems so far, except it seems to be a slow grower. Also, since I believe this was a cultivar grown for ornamental purposes, I'm not sure if it's self-pollinating. What, in your opinion would be a good cross-pollinator?

I forgot to mention in my first post that I've also had problems with meadow voles. Starting from a year ago up to now, they've hit my Nanking cherries, blueberries, blackberries, plums, hops and quince. I hate those little things with a passion. I've had a lot of success with poisonous bait chunks by breaking them into small pieces and dropping them down in their holes. Sometimes though I'm really surprised with how many times I need to drop more and more bait into the same holes. They reproduce by the hundreds!

Author:  John S [ Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

The poison bait also kills owls, which are the best players on your team. Viron had a source for a specific, limited poison that doesn't harm owls. I would search for that one. Also make sure that you don't leave the mulch right around your trees, especially in the winter. You need a MINIMUM of six inches unmulched space around the trunk.

I have to cut back my North Star regularly so that's probably what you've got. I keep threatening to cut it down but the cherries do taste really good. I would try Montmorency. It's a classic with good reason.

Japanese flowering quince (Chaenomeles) with pretty red flowers, is a different plant than tree quince (Cydonia oblonga). I don't have any disease problems with Japanese flowering quince, which produces a lemon flavored fruit. I get rust every year on the tree quince, but pruning and fungal compost tea kill the rust.
John S

Author:  Rooney [ Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?


Good post and good use of color matching. With your wet soil I thought blueberry would like that. I once lived next to an area of land in east Bellevue WA called "the greenbelt" that was undeveloped due to the high water table. The land is leased for agriculture of blueberry and has been for a long time. There are elevated public trails I used to walk between the blueberry fields which were always wet so I :?: your problem. Although it might be a possibility all the plants were grafted on a more water tolerant form of blueberry.

I see you have listed plums as more favorable to your conditions than cherry. That would be right because plum roots are in most cases known to be more favorable to the condition.

If you tried cherry for so long I suppose it would behoove you to look for a solution about grafting cherry on a plum for water tolerance and then I would go for a plum rootstock by the trade name "z-stem". Floyd Zaiger genetics holds a propagation patent on it as one of the first ever understock plums to serve with cherry. You will find by reading the patent that the plum is prunus myrobalan. You will also find books of grafting describing understocks and listing myrobalan plum sustaining water better than other kinds of prunus.

There are even more reasons that I list myro plum better than any other thing, one of which is long term bacterial protection (PSS). (see under sub-heading Plant Resistance & choosing resistant cherry interstem) This previous link and the threat therein will give you a good idea why cherry trees are not commercialized west of the Cascades. Oregon plant pathologist Ken Johnson helped educate me concerning this and how it was affecting my trees by sending me the results of big dollars spent in Oregon over a fifty year period. Even more studies are listed at the bottom section of same (PSS) page.

Putting two and two together and the recent invention of a plum root that is tested to be good with cherry, and with the evidence of studies in our jurisdictions (high rain high bacteria, your soil), it seems that you and the company should sign a license to have these tested on your land.

But for you Viron you will have to do something more 100% about those vole populations you told us about several years ago first because damage to trees reduce tree health and the health of the tree will become the very most important part to keep up in order sustain full natural abilities for the tree to wall off this bacteria, which also applies to fungus infections for that matter.

Thanks John S for that previous compliment :oops: , and thanks again Viron for a good post. :mrgreen:

Rupert H (Rooney)
west of the Cascades

Author:  John S [ Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: your most difficult fruit?

Does Zaiger sell those rootstocks on a retail level? I would be interested in buying some.
John S

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