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Are there general differences between the cultivation needs of different stone fruits?

 
Posts: 17
Location: Northern pennsylvania, zone 5b
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I am hoping to plant some stone fruits in my orchard, and I am gathering information to inform which species/cultivars I choose.  Are there some major differences between stone fruit trees in terms of their cultivation and management needs? Obviously the rootstocks and cultivars will be big factors, but are there some generalizations you can make in terms of soil requirements, tolerance of wet soils, pest and disease resistance, cold hardiness, flowering dates, ease of management, etc?

I am considering all members of the genus Prunus, including Peaches, tangerines, apricots, nectarines, plumbs, sweet cherries, and sour cherries, and more.  

My site is zone 5b in Northern PA, a gentle south-facing slope, with soils that can vary between well-drained and wet in a rainy year such as the last.  
 
gardener
Posts: 5937
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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None of the prunus family like wet feet, the better you can get the soil to drain the better for the trees and their fruit.
Most of the problems come from the extra humidity that will surround the leaves and fruit because of too wet a soil.

In many fruit trees disease resistance can diminish when the tree experiences stress (a lot like humans can get sick when under more stress than they can handle).
Fruit trees in stress will tend to drop their fruit so they can focus all their energy on fighting the conditions that are stressing them.

Generally you want a soil that has lots of fungi mycelium present and some of those species need to be mycorrhizae, this will help the trees weather attacks from disease and pests.
The deeper the top soil (most of the feeder roots of these trees will be in the top  18 inches, so the closer to this depth your top soil the better for the tree).
I try to get my stoney, sandy loam to around 10% organic matter and keep mulch (2 inches deep) over the feeder root area (about 1 foot from the trunk to a foot beyond the drip line is the feeder root area).

Redhawk
 
pollinator
Posts: 623
Location: Western Washington
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In my experience peaches are the fussiest. They really don't l wet feet (though I know of a woman who grows them in chinampa-like mounds in a swamp). They're also not as drought tolerant (I hear) even once established.

Dr. Redhawk is right that stone fruits generally don't like wet feet. However, around here people do get away with growing stone fruits on wet sites but they must, absolutely must be on standard or robust semi dwarf rootstock. My water table is a foot and a half down and we grow all the stone fruits here. Many are decades old. Plums and cherries do best but we do have Puget gold apricots and peaches
 
James Landreth
pollinator
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Location: Western Washington
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I should add though that our summers are not humid, and we have little to no rainfall during the summer months. That is definitely a factor. But planting in mounds does seem to help. I sometimes build hugelbeds and leave a large gap between the logs in the bed. I then plant a tree on it. The gap is so its roots can anchor well. I've also planted trees next to hugelbeds. The trees have done fantastically well.
 
master pollinator
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I don't understand why someone would post a few questions and then close their account.  Is it due to not understanding the monthly email acceptance?
 
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