Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fruit Trees

This is the season to order fruit trees.

My property is saturated with fruit trees.  I have so many fruit trees that I am removing many of them so I can properly care for the ones that have performed best.

I learned a few lessons along the way.

Pear trees are under-rated.  Pears are low maintenance, typically produce large amounts of bug-free, high quality fruit.  ERJ's top picks are Shenandoah, and Olympic.  Both varieties are fireblight resistant and ripen later in the season when it is more pleasant to pick fruit.

ERJ's apple picks are GoldRush, Liberty, and Spigold.  GoldRush and Liberty are precocious.  That is, they produce fruit as young trees.  They also bear abundantly.  Spigold is less precocious and tends to have a bigger tree.  If you want an apple tree to use as a shade tree then Spigold is a great choice.  I recommend a 2-1-1 ratio of GoldRush, Liberty and Spigold. 

I was dazzled by the fruit quality (absolutely no worms!) the first time I went to a cider pressing party in Brethren, Michigan.  The trees were growing in blow-sand.  The "thud" of an apple hitting the ground was quickly followed by the sound of deer stampeding to eat that apple.

The relationship between protein content in the fruit and the nitrogen level in the soil is supported by Andrew Lea's research.  My experience in Eaton Rapids supports Andrew's research.  Protein is the only major animal nutrient with nitrogen in it.  Protein is approximately 16% nitrogen by weight.  Bugs starve to death if there is not enough protein in the fruit!  Grow the tree to fill its allotted space with generous applications of nitrogen but then become a miser and become parsimonious in your nitrogen applications.

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