Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fruit Trouble

When I first moved here I planted several vines, fruit and nut trees. Being from a different climate, I only knew what I grew up with. I had no idea how the different climate would challenge my plans for the agriculture I wanted for my property.

The walnut trees grew really well but never produced any nuts. The filberts filled out well, but produces only empty shells. The same excellent growth was seen in the kiwi fruit, but there, too, no fruit. Grapes did really well, but their fruit was only the size of a BB by the time the frost came. Oddly there is a disease that alder trees spread to Granny Smith apples so they don’t produce well. My final failure was with cherries. I couldn’t get a cherry tree to live more than two years.

I did have success with a Gravenstein apple, a Green Gage plum. I have a questionable quint-graphed pear tree. It only produces four pears a year, but I am hopeful it will do better as it matures. Unfortunately the King apple tree that came with the place stopped producing years ago and had to be removed.

I’ve been in this home for 20 years now, and I had hopped that my fruit and nut trees would be producing like mature trees now. Then the December storm hit. The apple tree was uprooted, a large alder fell crushing the kiwi arbor and the green gage plum.

I am left with the prospect of beginning again, and frankly, I’m not sure if I want to. Fruit trees have been very disappointing. I’m not sure I can feel positive again after my 20 year heart break.


Blogger Beth said...

Well, you certainly persevered despite the odds and the outcome.
Try growing fruit trees that are known to have success in your part of the country? (Or not...)

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Blowhard Dolittle said...

Sooner or later with the help of global warming some of those species and varieties will no doubt flourish in your back yard. In the mean time you will have better luck with artichokes, raspberries, blueberries, loganberries. There is a pretty good market for some types of mushrooms if you can figure out how to farm them.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous THartill said...

Not a lot of fruit trees grow well around here. As you said the Gravenstein Apple does well, but it seems like the best fruit around here are more of the bushy type....blueberries, raspberries, huckleberries, blackberries etc etc.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

I had my first real garden this year, and I only have two words: parsley and potatoes. It's like livin' in freakin' Ireland. My berry bushes do well without any encouragement, and dI will plant an apple tree in the corner of the yard when I get around to it. One thing: at least we'll always have enough water to drink!

10:02 AM  
Blogger CB said...

Our dwarf trees go like crazy around here. The asian pear always has a mass of fruit on it. Our other pear only bears four a year. We see fig trees in the area going strong however our two have yet to bear fruit after three years. Our almond tree is four years old and last year was crazy with nuts. Our two dwarf cherry trees and our dwarf plums were full.

I have a map of them so we know their proper names beyond "dwarf". My brother-in-law has a dwarf that tastes like it is a cross between apple and a pear. Its amazing to me that the filbert didn't take. I really want more nut trees on our property and thought the filbert (isn't that hazel nut) was indigenous to our area?

10:28 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I keep getting pushed towards disease resistant varieties such as Liberty, but what I really want is a tree you need a ladder to get into, where you don't just get a bag of fruit at the end of the year, but rather a truck load. So much that you feed all the deer in the area and that you make applesauce when ever you mow the lawn. A tree that is too large to prune. Unfortunately I'm no longer young enough to expect to see something like that here in my life time.

Hazelnuts and walnuts need certain nutrients to produce. Boron is one of them. It's real tricky to get it right in the soil.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this sounds funny but I tried it and it worked. Just take a rubber hose and beat the hell out of the tree all around the tree trunk. Not so hard it breaks the bark but darn hard.
The tree thinks for sure you are out to kill it and so it produces a lot of fruit to compensate.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Moosehead said...

Aaah...I have the problem nailed. Oregon was the site of a marijuana experiment where squirrels were given the equivalent of one pound of pot to smoke. They survived quite well but became unconcerned with the laws of self preservation and played with their nuts instead of storing them. The nuts are there Guy...they're just messing with ya!

In the interests of full disclosure though...they did find that if you beat a squirrel with a bale of grass, it was sadly likely to die.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous columbiacontrolfreak said...

Wish we had your problem. the 4 apple trees we have drop tons of fruit every year. Even having the neighbors come pick we can't pick it all. My husband seeing this over abundance instead of pruning the trees we have went out and planted 6 more varieties. Apples, quince, paw paws, plums, apricots, etc.

So far the 5 varieties of grapes are all still in pots, but he plans to have the entire pasture fence line swathed with them eventually.

God help us all when they all have a good year and the same time!

2:20 PM  
Blogger Bpaul said...

We've found that One Green World nursery really knows their stuff about what varietals do well in Oregon climates. I'd bet if you got in touch with them they'd get you all set up.

11:39 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Thanks, Bpaul. I'll check them out and I hope they have King apples. I miss my king tree the most.

CCF, I wish we lived closer.

5:32 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

BPaul, very cool! They have some cool varieties.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Bpaul said...

We've just put in a quince, a Japanese plum (many stonefruits have big problems in the Portland area -- this one is supposed to resist most of them), a cherry (can't remember the varietal, self-pollinating), and two columnar apples on our little city lot. We got everything from One Green World.

This is ony the second year on these trees, so the jury's still out on their suggestions; but we were more than impressed by their staff and their philosophy (hearty productive fruits tested locally).

Wow, this sounds like an Ad. Oh well, they're a cool little company they deserve it.

8:13 AM  

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