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Apple trees for mid South

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Apple trees for mid South

Post  dixie on 3/15/2011, 8:15 pm

I am looking into purchasing some of the grafted fruit trees. Does anyone have recommendations for varieties & sources?

I just placed an order for 50 more asparagus roots, 4 blueberry varieties (to try in tubs), and 5 muscadine varieties for my son. I'm ordering from Simmons Plant Farm.
in Mountainburg, Arkansas. They had a good rating at Dave's Gardens and prices were very reasonable.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  duhh on 3/16/2011, 2:06 am

Do you know your chill hours? That is the most important thing for apple trees from my understanding. I recently bought a golden dorset because it have low chill hours. under 200. The nursery should be able to help you figure out which ones will actually bear fruit in your area. Most will have chill hours on the tag. I'm always shocked when I see fuji apple here that need 2-3x the chill hours being sold here.

Also, what do you want the apples for? eating, baking, caning?

We were also able to find some peach trees that will do well here in Phoenix Az. Also, have been hearing rumors of a cherry tree that one of the guys in my garden group got to fruit last year.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  dixie on 3/16/2011, 8:58 am

I don't know our actual chill hours, but our frost dates are from October to April 15 & apples grow very well in our area. I was thinking about the grafted trees where they have 3-4 varieties grafted onto one root stock. I plan on calling a local nursery later to see what they have, even though price will likely be too $$ for me, plus almost 10% sales tax. I'll have to do some more thinking on this one.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  dizzygardener on 3/16/2011, 8:41 pm

go here: http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/homeGarden/default.asp#gardening

Download "Selecting Quality Apples" Page 3 gives a table with apples trees grown in TN.

Hopefully this is a good start.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  staf74 on 3/23/2011, 5:08 pm

Perhaps not direct answers to your queries but here are my very recent Apple escapades which may (or not) help your case.....

On one of my many trips to the local Lowes I was constantly teased by the Fruit trees on offer and, being the apple fiends that we are, eventually caved in. I had researched the topic before and been reticent as the apple connoisseur's out there say "not" to go for those rather large potted trees at the big box stores as the root systems are often cut back too much when taken out of the nursery and the tree can easily die from transplant shock. They also say the trees are often poorly pruned and will not support heavy fruiting once established.

However, I still could not resist the temptation of the $19.98 price tag for 6-7 foot trees ! So I went for two of our faves.....an earlier variety (Golden Delicious) and a mid season variety (Gala). Both are semi-dwarf varieties (unknown rootstock though....more on that later) and so hopefully won't get too big so I'll need a big ladder to harvest.

As has been said, know your chill hours to a certain extent but most apple varieties are quite forgiving and the big box stores and most nurseries have pre-selected varieties for your area so not much of a concern perhaps unless you are purchasing online from out of region.

Those multi grafted trees look a great idea. The tree can pollinate itself and is a great space saver. You can even choose your own varieties at some online specialty stores and stagger the ripening to have apples from early July until october on ONE tree !!!

If you really do your homework, you can get into the different types of rootstocks that are used to place your grafted tree upon. These can really help control growth rate / maturity / dwarf / semi-dwarf M27 / M9 etc to tailor your needs and then even the bonus of certain disease resistance, apple scab etc. You can get as complicated as you like.

I ended up picking what I hope are solid choices, not rootbound, with some good strong branching structures that appeared well pruned and in the shape I was looking for. I pruned some more and have tied string to some of the branches to get that 60 - 90 degree angle required for optimal fruiting. Although Lowes said they will fruit this season, I will probably pick nearly all the buds this year and let the tree grow a strong root and branch stucture. That is far more beneficial in the long run from what I've read than stressing it out to fruit its first year after transplant. I've got to save a few though Wink

Thankfully, they have both transplanted well and are showing signs of bud growth.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  dixie on 3/23/2011, 7:56 pm

I hope they do well for you. I've decided to wait on apples and ordered blueberries.

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NAFEX

Post  WardinWake on 3/23/2011, 8:38 pm

Howdy Folks:

For those who would like to grow fruit trees you can find much valuable info through the North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX). Not only fruit trees but just about any fruit can be found there with many having their own sub-section. I let my membership drop several years ago and have not visited their web-site in a very long time. It is a good place to learn.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  staf74 on 3/23/2011, 8:55 pm

NAFEX .... awesome Thanks for the link Wardin. Will check that out.

Dixie, what Blueberries are you growing and how are you growing them?

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  hitchhiker90 on 3/23/2011, 9:26 pm

I'm curious about the blueberry tree. I want to put one up but not sure how much it will give or what it would take to plant it. How big do they get?

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  staf74 on 3/23/2011, 9:47 pm

Not great pics but here is what I have of my blueberries right now. They are only just on bud swell and early leaf formation right now but these are all around 5, 6 or 7 foot tall in the whiskey barrels. They can get to 10-12 foot tall left unpruned but you want to prune to encourage new growth and higher yield. The variety will also determine size.



Bad resolution.....sorry !



An early variety, Emerald, in full bloom but I have not seen many bees here yet so it might be a dud harvest. I take this inside to the garage for anything overnight under 40 degrees.....



I'm hoping for around 15-20 lbs this season but this is my first time growing them. I bought mature bushes (4/5 years old in Barrels and some 2/3 years old in 15 gallon containers) for an instant orchard but I hope I did things right. Blueberries need specific conditions and I'm learning as I go.

Any other Blueberry growers out there?

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SFG Project in Walton, KY!

Post  Goosegirl on 3/23/2011, 9:50 pm

@staf74 wrote:Any other Blueberry growers out there?

Definitely a Blueberry killer here. Tried in CA and SD. Managed to kill 5 varieties!

TC

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  dixie on 3/23/2011, 10:13 pm

I ordered 2 year old Tifblue, Delight, Climax and Ozark Blue. I will be growing them in large tubs. I've had all but the Ozark Blue before & they are very tasty.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  staf74 on 3/23/2011, 10:21 pm

Thanks Dixie....I hope mine like their new environment enough so I get to savor that blueberry taste this summer. Seeing as you've grown them before, did you do anything special to keep the medium / soil acidic or do you have any tips that seemed to help them thrive......other than praying ???

I've done lots of reading but nothing beats first hand experience.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  dixie on 3/23/2011, 10:33 pm

Mine were planted in soil where we had had a lot of pine trees cut down, so the soil was very acid . I fertilized them with azalea food once a year. They have very shallow roots so keeping them mulched & watered was the biggest challenge for me since they were not close to the house. They thrived on general neglect for several years, probably 10 years. I plan on getting one of the soil pH meters to keep a closer eye on them since they will be in containers.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  staf74 on 3/23/2011, 10:47 pm

Appreciate the advice !!

Phew....I feel better now as I just fed them with Azalea food also....the "Holy Tone" brand.

Ohhh... a pH meter. Good thinking. I'll add that my ever extending list of essentials.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  dizzygardener on 3/24/2011, 9:15 am

Staf,

If you want your blueberries to be good and strong don't let them bare fruit until they are 3 years old and have a base of about 1.5 to 2 feet in diameter. This allows the plant to focus on establishing a strong and healthy root system.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  staf74 on 3/24/2011, 10:50 am

That would make sense and one of the reasons why I paid a few extra $$$ for the bigger plants. I was impatient ! "In the pics, the four whiskey barrels varieties are 4 and 5 years old but the three others are 2 or maybe 3 years old. I might keep one budding just to see what happens but will pull the buds on the other two to build a stronger plant. Thanks for the reminder !

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  dizzygardener on 3/24/2011, 11:11 am

Oh I see. I can totally relate to the whole impatience thing. I can't tell from the pictures, but are the bases of the plants about 1.5 to 2 feet in diameter?

Also, with them already being 5 years old you're probably going to need to trim some of the fruiting wood way back in the next couple years. If wood is grayish and is forming lichen it is time to prune it way back. That indicates that the wood is nearing the end of its productive capacity.

Our master gardener class just had its blueberry seminar last week. We went to an orchard and the guy giving the lecture showed us how to resurrect new wood (once the fruiting wood is gray and forms lichen). I nearly lost my breathe! By the time he was done with that blueberry bush it was pruned back by about 80-90%! Shocked I don't know if I would have had the heart for it, but the bush will resurrect new wood and continue to produce.

Then he moved on to the grapevines. He pruned those back by 90% and recommended that we do so every year! affraid I think I'd probably need a prozac after all that pruning, but this guy had NO fear. I guess 40 years experience will do that to ya. His advice: "Prune until it hurts. Then, prune some more." LOL

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  staf74 on 3/24/2011, 12:11 pm

Yes , I do have quite a few Grey stalks. Some of them look perfect, long, green and succulent but some...oh my....I thought the plant was diseased at first.....scraggly and old looking in parts. I pruned off the worst of the dead wood and the twiggy stuff but did not have the heart to prune way back.....just yet anyway. The owner of the blueberry farm I went to for purchase did go over some of that with me. I will wait until after fruiting to do that I think. I need to see the cycle of the bush and learn its habits to be comfortable before I get out the loppers !!!!. I've seen a couple of you-tube vids on regenerative pruning also and it looks so painful !!!!. I'll take what looks like the oldest wood in early fall and hopefully I'll get plenty of new suckers coming up from the base. The rootballs of the plants now in whiskey barrels were all close to 18 inches wide, but not as big as two foot for sure. The other 3 were only 8-10 inches in diameter.

Thanks again for the advice ! It really helps me out during my freshman blueberry season.

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Re: Apple trees for mid South

Post  morganfam7 on 3/20/2012, 1:04 pm

@duhh wrote:I'm always shocked when I see fuji apple here that need 2-3x the chill hours being sold here.

I found this info on Tom's Top 21 List "An updated list of successful Low-Chill fruit varieties for the Southwest." Tom Spellman is part of Dave Wilson Nurseries in So. Cal. There's also an eye opening article about Chill hours and how hard they are to calculate at the Dave Wilson site.

Here's what Tom says about Fuji apples:


Imported from Japan in the 1960’s Fuji is a cross between Ralls Janet
and Delicious. Once thought to require high chill, Fuji has proven
itself as a reliable producer throughout the low-chill southwest. We now
rate it at less than 500 chill hours and for all practical purposes it
should be considered in the 200 to 400 hour range. Fuji’s exterior color
is a lackluster yellowish green with a blush of orange. Its interior
color is a creamy orange yellow with a wonderful crispy, crunchy sweet
flavor so don’t let its dull exterior fool you. Fuji has fast become one
of the most popular apples varieties in the world. Fuji is
self-fruitful and is also a recommended pollenizer for other mid season
apple varieties. Its ripening in the southwest is from late August
through October. Fuji is also an excellent keeper and can maintain good
quality for more than six months.

http://www.davewilson.com/homegrown/all_tom/tomPicks.html

The Dave Wilson Nursery Channel on youtube has some awesome videos, too.

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