• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Leigh Tate
  • thomas rubino

Fruit Tree Frustration

 
Posts: 4
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have tried sooo many varieties of plums, apples, pears, aisian pear, cherry, persimons and I feel like Im banging my head against a wall expecting different results. Ive built guilds around my in ground trees, I got a cat to control voles, I spray natural organic sprays faithfully to control fungal infections, and I release predatory insects for bug control. And in 5 years, Ive seen maybe a half dozen blooms between almost 20 trees and not one damn fruit. I currently have 7 of those original trees left.  I live in the southeast, and I know we tend to have fruit tree problems due to high humidity and bugs but how does anyone ever grow a fruit tree here?!?! If its not shothole, its fireblight, or japanese beetles, or spider mites, or voles, and canker...dear me, dont forget the canker!...does anyone else have this much problem in the southeast or am I just missing something very obvious? I live in west Tn, zone 7b. I have compost and mineral amended sandy clay well draining soil, however many of my dwarf trees were pot grown with the same issues. My soil test showed not major deficiencies. Im ready to throw in the towel so any advice is appreciated that could help me save these trees.
 
Posts: 826
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
115
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tara, two major components to growing fruit, honeybees and fruit trees that match your pollination times.

Do you see lots of honeybees on your other plants?  For a long time we didn't have many native honeybees, I guess because of agricultural spraying.  Someone started putting hive boxes around and now there's much better fruit production.  I've learned to hang some frames inside of wooden boxes inside of a plastic deck box.  They once filled an old wooden chest of drawers that was left outside.  They like south-facing exposure (in the northern hemisphere) out of the wind, with a tiny opening that is in the sunshine.

The other really important thing is, do your fruit trees have pollinating fruit trees within 50 feet?  Not two of the same kind of apple tree, but two different ones that bloom at the same time, and really the same time, not off by a week or so.  The honeybees need to go from tree to tree with pollen on the same day.  See if your trees need a pollinator or if they are self-pollinating.  There's lots of online info about that.

Is it the right kind of fruit for your climate?  Do your winters get cold enough for the apples?  Each kind of fruit needs something called chill hours, hours during the night that are around low 40s F, high 30s F.  If you live in Zone 10, like Los Angeles, you need a fruit tree that only needs 200 chill hours, because that's about all you'll get in southern California.  Some apples need 800 chill hours every winter in very cold climates.

There are other, small insect pollinators for fruit, and the best way to lure them in is to plant flowering herbs and flowers that bloom early in the year just like your fruit trees do, so snapdragons, violets, daffodils, the earliest of bloomers for a lot of types of fruit.  

And if it rains a lot where you are, it will be harder for the bees to pollinate.

 
Posts: 67
24
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can you post pictures? Have the trees grown much since planted? Were they 1 or 2 year old whips when planted? Some fruit trees can take years to bear...I've read as many as 8-10 years for apples and as low as 3-5 years after planting a 1-2yo tree. I guess my point is aside from pollination issues they may still be working to establish a good root system and structure before bearing.
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 826
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
115
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another thing to help with the blossoming is a high phosphorous fertilizer at least 6 weeks to 2 months before you expect them to bloom.  That's the middle number in the 10-10-10 fertilizer.   Nitrogen is the first, phosphorous is the second, potassium is the third number.  So 5-15-10, something like that.  There are organic versions for fruit trees that are specifically for blooming.

Zone 7b, not sure if the ground freezes there, but if you expect an early apricot to start blooming in April in the south, the tree should have high phosphorous fertilizer on the ground, watered in by early February unless the ground is frozen, which wouldn't be?  

High nitrogen promotes green leaves and will actually make blossoms drop because the signal is sent to make green leaves.  High nitrogen, like manure,  is good in the fall and after fruit harvest.

Blossoms also drop if they are not pollinated, so you may think there aren't many blossoms, but they have dropped.  Heavy rains can affect blossom formation, so if spring rains are harsh or there's hail involved, get a fruit tree that is a late harvest type, so it blooms in mid to late May or June when rains are more gentle.  These are called Mid to Late Season types.







 
pollinator
Posts: 653
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
101
fish fungi foraging bee building medical herbs
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tara, look into growing easy fruits.  Ones that have little disease and insect problems. I am in the southeast and the easy trees are pawpaw, mulberry, persimmons, jujube, figs.....
My favorite so far is Jujube.  Li and Sherwood.  And Asian Persimmon, the non-astringent kind that you can pick and eat like an apple.  I just started pawpaw, che, figs, kiwi and pomegranate

Download and read fruitbook9 from << http://conev.org/fruitbook9.pdf >>
 
Always! Wait. Never. Shut up. Look at this tiny ad.
Rocket Mass Heater Plans - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/7/rmhplans
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic