Saturday, February 18, 2023

Fruit trees I like

I like fruit trees that produce heavily and produce every year.

I like fruit trees that ripen their fruit later in the season when it is cooler and the yellow jackets and wasps are slower and less aggressive.

I like fruit trees that hold their fruit well so if I am not able to pick it today, it will still be on the tree tomorrow or next week.

I like fruit that keeps well and tastes pretty-good. I would rather have a tree that produces 80 pounds of good tasting fruit than a tree that produces 10 pounds of excellent fruit.

When I have the ability to provide supplemental water during the growing season I like dwarf trees. If I do not have the ability to provide that level of care I like slightly larger trees.

If you dropped me into the middle of B.F. mid-Western State I would plant:

3 Liberty apple

2 Gold Rush apple

In my opinion the 35%-to-45% tree size is optimum unless you have poor or sandy which will tend to runt-out the trees. Then larger is appropriate.

I would plant them on whatever Geneva apple rootstock they were offered on. I could tolerate Bud-9 (smaller) or Bud-118 or MM-111 (larger) if I had no other choice.

I would plant every tree, regardless of rootstock with a 4" diameter, Black Locust fence post to reduce tree-whip. Trunk flexing causes carbohydrates to add wood rather than trip buds into fruiting.

I would plant

1 Korean Giant (aka Olympic) Asian Pear

1 Chojuro Asian Pear.

Asian pears are intrinsically tidy, economical trees and are not fussy about rootstock. These two varieties are very similar. Neither of these varieties are likely to over-set fruit and produce runted, low-sugar fruit.

For "minor" fruits I would pick

1 Pozegaca European Plum

2 American Plums, seedling from a select source

1 American Persimmon...I-115, Juhl/Yates and Lehman's Delight have done well for me.

1 Kerr "crabapple" for jams and jellies

1 Illinois Everbearing Mulberry on the north end of the orchard. They grow tall and will shade other trees if planted anyplace else.

MAYBE a peach tree...perhaps Madison 

"Marge" Elderberries, Titania black-currants, Polana or Joan J raspberries and assorted hazelnuts in the windbreak around the orchard.

I would sprinkle some horseradish plants and rugosa roses amongst the trees to feed parasitoid wasps.

If I was in Zone 4 I would substitute Haralson or Keepsake apple for Gold Rush and substitute Mt Royal plum for the persimmon tree. Illinois Everbearing Mulberry would really struggle in Zone 4 and I might substitute a portfolio of Amelanchier cultivars to use in pies through the summer.

If I were in the warmer parts of Zone 6 or hotter I would ditch the Liberty apple and plant a different variety, maybe Querina, Galarina or Enterprise.

No apricots or cherries. They ripen in the heat of the summer and can be labor intensive to pick. No hybrid or Japanese plums as they are fussy about pollination. No quince or medlars. No European pears because I am sorting through them. If a gun was held to my head I would suggest Kieffer although almost nobody else would. Kieffer grows to be a very large tree, so this is a good one to plant on the north end.

I freely admit that there are hundreds of varieties that are as good or potentially better than the ones listed. And I also believe that there are thousands of varieties that are less worthy.


  1. Thank you, you've added serious ideas to upgrade this springs order. Looking at the links again thanks for posting where you got yours.

    1. I picked the links based primarily on the quality of the descriptions.

      Pickings are already getting a little bit slim out there.

      One person in meat-space asked me a very similar question recently, so I had been thinking on it. The person in meat-space was also focused on how quickly things come into bearing. I don't know if it was because they sense a storm coming soon or just because they have an impatient nature. Maybe both.

    2. More and more folks are noticing the storm clouds.

  2. I enjoy your site, especially the HELLER AND SHANNON story. But since I live in San Diego county, CA, what would you advise planting here?

    1. When we lived out there, we had Cumquat and Fig trees. Also Avocado and various Citrus trees. Julian used to have a lot of Apple Orchards, but I don't recall what types. ( We moved away from San Diego back in the summer of 1975 and never looked back.)

    2. San Diego is very different from Eaton County, Michigan.

      I would find some old fruit growers, ones who have killed off several generations of trees/bushes and then ask them "what trees will work for me rather than vice versa?"

      This website has a couple of contacts. They might not be exactly what you want but some of their members might be close or might be able to recommend "That old Sicilian guy who lives behind the church" or other been-dar-doon-dat kind of people.

    3. Apples (and tourism) are still the main industries in Julian. Very pretty country!

    4. Talk to a local nursery about productive stock. We lived in Costa Mesa and they recommended a dwarf apple that bore tons of fruit in a totally costal (3 miles from the ocean) climate zone. We also had figs, limes, and loquats.

  3. Thanks for this! Looking at orchard stock to be planted this summer/fall.
    Boat Guy

  4. Dunno how they are as trees... but as a consumer I always liked any of the '-crisp' varieties of apple Cornell has produced, and its hard to beat a good Fuji apple for cooking, eating, or storing.

  5. Since we're sharing links, I have had great luck with

    Ordered over $500 worth of product from them over the last couple years, and I would not hesitate to spend that with them again. Everything has been healthy and grown well. They have a lot of berries, currants, etc. No trees.


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