Jasmine Dale wrote:I notice nearly all the posts are from warm zones, does anyone know reliable fruit varieties that can withstand late frosts in cooler climates? With the oscillating jet stream, we in Britain look set for cold winds late into spring.This year in late april we had frosty winds that set back mature oaks and resilient hedgerows of blackthorn, for nearly 8 weeks. My research so far has brought me to the fruits of scandinavia, mainly berries, which are great, though I'm keen for top fruit too. Late frost is always a consideration in the UK for orchards, however there is increasing research to show sudden cold could be more challenge than potential warming.
Coming from Wisconsin/Minnesota, we managed to grow some apples and cherries. Not much else in the way of fruit trees.
Sorry folks, but I object to the thesis of this thread. The easiest fruit tree varies enormously from place to place, and often the easiest fruit is not a tree. I skimmed the comments and every single suggestion I saw is something I wouldn't recommend for various reasons. I live in WV zone 6. I do have a sour cherry tree, which gave me a bumper crop once, lighter crops a few times--but only if I put a net over it. Otherwise the birds get most of them. We have both wild persimmons and some grafted varieties that are bigger and nearly seedless. They are extremely sweet and flavorful, but the wild ones are a bit hard to use what with the many big seeds, and it can be hard to tell when they're ripe--too soon and they're astringent, too late and they get funky. Pears are subject to fire blight, especially the Asian pears, but there are varieties that are highly resistant. I have Potomac, which has never gotten it and Blake's Pride which gets it lightly--but has never produced a pear (I planted these in 2009). I used to also have Moonglow, which produced a few pears but then succumbed to fireblight. I love peaches but they get hit with late frosts more often than not, and are subject to brown rot. I haven't tried plums here as I had no success with them in another place. I have a fig which I cover with a sheet every winter after filling its cage with leaves; it survives and comes back but on fresh wood every spring. This year I got 14 figs, a record. I have three apples from the same planting--Goldrush is the standout for heavy production almost every year. This was a bumper year but the wretched squirrels, who had a population explosion this year, took them all. I put in two goumi bushes--this is a relative of the evil autumn olive, supposed to be non invasive and the fruit is bigger. I got some fruit the second year and several pounds this year. The only downside is what to do with a zillion berries with inedible pits--I boil them into a liquid and make a sauce. I planted two cornelian cherries about five years ago--they are so slow growing that I haven't anything to report about the fruit yet. My thornless blackberries have not yielded much (two years after setting out) but other people here have had heavy crops. Blueberries require an extremely acidic soil and must be netted, but i have sometimes had success with them--feeding them coffee ground and apple pomace helped. I tried American highbush cranberry, which made a fast-growing ornamental but the few berries are not edible--I think I have the European one. i tried currants--they languished, seemed unable to tolerate hot summer weather, produced a few fruits but didn't grow. What I recommend if you want reliable fruit every year, is strawberries. They're a fair amount of work but even in years when you lose half the crop to drought or rot, you have the other half. I've never had to cover mine. Despite the fact that the plentiful wild rapberries and blackberries tend to be full of disease and not very fruitful, the cultivated rapberries in my garden do pretty well.And I'd say apples are the most frequently successful tree here.
Pomegranate. We have a huge pomegranate in the back we rarely water, have never fertilized, and only pruned to get out of the way, and it grows and produces like crazy. One day I'm driving down our long drive way and ask my daughter if it looked like we have a pomegranate in our hedges? Sure enough there it is, no one planted it, and we didn't notice it was there until it started producing. You've got to love a tree that plants and cares for itself.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln
Steve, I am west of you near Hickory. Easiest for me was receiving nine sticks of Elderberry about 5/8" by a foot long from a friend, about 3 years ago. I forgot about them for about three weeks. I had about 15 minutes one evening and planted them with a hammer. I was hoping for at least one to survive. I pruned off the 2-3" I had damaged. All nine survived, and thrived, I got some beries the very next summer. Thinned to 5 trees, now 12 FEET tall, and really need to be thinned down to two. This summer I missed close to half the harvest, but ended with 1+ gallon dehydrated berries. What could be easier than abuse and neglect leading to a nice harvest. Last fall I planted several more cuttings in hard clay. I used a 2" length of rebar to pound through the clay. They all died to the ground, but this spring 6 sprouted up. they are now surrounded by a 6" pile of arborist (free) mulch, and worms are beginning to work the clay. No fruit on these survivors yet. The healthiest and most productive have been in full sun. Also heve a couple of dozen prunings in 1 gallon pots to add later to the two acres next door. Did have to fight the birds for the harvest. They rewarded me by eating their fill and then painting my car purple. There was no bill submitted for the paint job.
I would recommend mulberries. They are easy to propagate are low maintenance, great fresh eating, makes great pies, wine, jam, freeze well, work good in pancakes. There reliable production trees and great summer shade. The only down side I have is that it can be hard to keep neighbor hood kids out of the trees when it has fruit.
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association