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Wanted: Fruit Trees and Berry Bushes for Hardiness Zone 5b - Racine, Wisconsin  RSS feed

 
Will Harvill
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Hello all, I am very new to these forums, and I am looking to purchase semi-dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes for hardiness zone 5b (-15°F to -10°F). To see what type of set up I have in mind, please refer to this video: Permaculture Project in Racine, WI I would also like to inoculate my hugelkulturs with mycellium, so the fruit trees can work symbiotically with a fungus that works well for my location. If there are particular varieties that you would recommend that work well with mycellium, I would definitely love those recommendations! I am hoping someone can also suggest a distributor that offers high-quality products at a wholesale price. I would like to get a root stock that is ideal for my climate, so I would need advice on that as well.

I am also not quite sure what fruit trees I will purchase, so I am open to recommendations. Some things I had in mind: an apple tree with four or five varieties of apples grafted onto it. A couple paw paw trees. A plum tree. cherry tree(s), A few hardy kiwis (males and females). A pear tree. Any other fruit or nut tree (semi-dwarfs) that would work well being planted near the previously mentioned cultivars.

For the berry bushes, I am open to recommendations on those as well. Some things I had in mind: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, any other berries that you think will do well in hardiness zone 5b.

Last but not least, is there any particular type of fungus that works particularly well in my area? I know I am asking a lot, and as my knowledge and experience develops, I will regularly come back to the forums to give back what I have taken. I appreciate any insight anyone can offer and thank you in advance if you are able to assist. Grow on...
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 231
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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For fruit, what about American persimmon?  I find it much tastier than the Asian ones you can get in the store.

For berries, you might consider the various currants.  A wild food organization in zone 5 writes that juneberries, honeyberries, and mulberries are options.

PFAF.org also has a great search function - you can enter your zone, specify trees and shrubs, and specify that you're looking for plants with edible fruit, and it will give you a lot of results.  There are multiple serviceberries, chokeberries, barberries, hackberries, etc.

Hardy kiwi is a vine, not a tree; it is delicious but can be invasive.

Grapes (European or native fox grapes) are another fruiting vine that might work.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I go for the most species that I have room to plant. I started with mostly apple and pear trees for fruit. Fireblight killed most of them. Now I have apple, pear, peach, cherry, plum, fig, apricots, autumnberry, seaberry, mulberry, and persimmon.  I have 4 kinds of nuts and all the common berries and some uncommon.  They aren't all susceptible to the same diseases and insects. Some will have great years when the others produce nothing. Most aren't big enough to produce yet. If they ever all have bumper crops the same year, I don't know what I'm going to do.

I also carefully select each variety and rootstock for disease resistance and suitability for my site.
 
Crt Jakhel
Posts: 173
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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-15 F is pretty cold. For kiwis, maybe go with the kolomikta family instead of arguta.

Maybe this is also helpful: Cold climate fruit trees - http://perrysperennials.info/articles/coldfruit.html
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Most (though perhaps not all) varieties of arguta are fine down to -20 farenheit (some lower)

Though blossoms can be vulnerable to late frost.
 
Will Harvill
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Here is an update with what I have in mind to plant and things that have already been planted. For the dark-green circles next to the fruit trees, I intend to plant seaberries there. I am wondering if the current arrangement will provide too much nitrogen for the fruit trees or two next to each of the trees will be okay. I appreciate any insight anyone can offer.
Permaculture-Project-Harvill-Homestead-Backyard-Bird-s-Eye-View-Color.jpg
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Overview of Permaculture Design in Backyard - Zone 5b
 
Crt Jakhel
Posts: 173
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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By seaberry you mean hippophae, right? What's the distance between fruit trees and what height do you expect of them when fully grown? I ask because the seaberries will a) grow big b) not like being shaded.

Are you in need of a windbreak? You could use the seaberry bushes for that purpose also.

 
Will Harvill
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Yes, Hippophae rhamnoides. The distance between the fruit trees is ten feet. They are on dwarf and semi-dwarf root stocks. When fully grown, the apple trees should be between eight to twelve feet. The apricot plum hybrid should grow twelve to fifteen feet, and the Cornelian cherry redstone fruiting dogwood should grow twenty feet tall and seven to eight feet wide. For some reason, I thought the Hippophae rhamnoides tolerated shade. Since most of the nitrogen fixing plants with be on the north side of trees, is there something else you would recommend? Maybe Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)? I need something that is shade tolerant and preferably would like something edible, but it doesn't necessarily have to be fruit. In regard to the wind break, that was not something I was thinking about, but since you asked, the wind most often comes from the east. However, the food forest is in my backyard and a house and garage obstruct much of the wind coming from the east.
 
Crt Jakhel
Posts: 173
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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10 feet is not really much... I think this will get crowded as the seaberry bush can easily grow to 10 ft x 5 ft (and will also send up suckers eventually). Elaeagnus can also grow to a large size, in my experience at least as tall as the seaberry and wider. Fruit that can take shade... Well, there's always soft fruit -- currants and gooseberries will be quite happy with some shade. But if you want something that grows a bit larger than those, then how about aronia?
 
Will Harvill
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Thank you Crt Jakhel for the recommendations! I appreciate your feedback.
 
Will Harvill
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Here is the most recent update of what I've got growing here in my piece of paradise. The rain this spring has been unusually frequent, so I'm excited to see what this looks like in two months.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0b3hkpu13x-7fzmrumfrezuvkuee/view?usp=drivesdk
 
Mike Jay
Posts: 802
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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All I get when I click the link is an error from Google saying "Sorry, the file you have requested does not exist."  Hopefully it's just me...
 
Will Harvill
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I used GoogleDrive on my phone and it must have defaulted to "link sharing off". https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3HkpU13x-7fZmRuMFREZUVKUEE This should work now. If it still doesn't, that gives me an excuse to start up a YouTube channel. Haha - Will
 
Mike Jay
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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The link worked!  That's a nice layout with lots of good perennial berries.  I have raspberries in my garden and they spread like weeds on steroids.  They send runners up to 6' underground and pop up all over the place.  I bet for each raspberry I started with, we've pulled out 20-40 babies.  And they're only 1.5 years old.  Hopefully yours are more tame.  Mine are the variety Caroline. 
 
Will Harvill
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That's good to know about the runners, Mike. With all those baby raspberries sprouting up, you might just have to start an on-line store and sell your surplus. I gave most of mine space, but I will be sure to reel them in a bit if they start taking over. Thanks for the heads up.
 
Mike Jay
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I do pot up about 30 of them each spring and sell them locally.  You'll have the same opportunity.  Lots of your plants are dividable or propagatable.  Good luck!
 
Crt Jakhel
Posts: 173
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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Mike Jay wrote: Lots of your plants are dividable or propagatable.


... And many of them will not be waiting for you to propagate them
 
Will Harvill
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Happy growing to everyone. I'm just circling back with an update on this project. If you are interested in seeing a full tour of the backyard permaculture project, here it is: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3HkpU13x-7fX25GaGNMQXIzRlk/view?usp=sharing I will be excited to see how this progresses and looks next year as this continues to establish itself and the hugelkulture swales begin to really break down, creating the conditions for increased microbial life and nutrient availability, among other things. If you have suggestions for what I could do to improve the system, I am definitely open to suggestions and exploring other's ideas. Thank you in advance to anyone who views the video in its entirety and provides constructive feedback. All the best. - Will
 
Mike Jay
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Hi Will, the plantings look very healthy.  Your zucchini is way ahead of mine.  Those should be eating sized in a few days.  I'll be interested in how the paw paw do.  I've heard they are borderline in southern WI.  I'm pretty sure I won't be able to grow them up where I live.

I'm not sure if I kept track of the compass directions in your video but I think the paw paw's are on the North end of the yard?  If so, do you worry about the mulberry shading out the NW corner of the system?  Or maybe they don't get as big as I am imagining...

Just to give you an idea of how well some of those perennials spread, here are a couple pictures I just took.  The first is our raspberry area.  It's two rows, 45' long.  We dug up some Caroline raspberries from a lady's yard and transplanted them in two summers ago.  We planted 20 plants and 15 made it.  We had fruit that fall and since then they have fully filled out those two rows.  I'd guess that each of the original transplants has developed 30-50 offspring in those two years.  It's a good problem if you're ready for it.

The second picture is our strawberry bed.  We planted 10 Honeyole strawberries two springs ago.  They mostly took over the area last year and now have a full canopy.  That bed is 10' by 15'.  We picked a gallon of berries today and are picking it every 3 days or so.  FYI, that's a choke berry in the back of the bed.
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Raspberries
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Strawberries
 
Will Harvill
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for the kind words. One or two more fruits just emerged on the largest zucchini plant, but they still have a bit to go before eating. I will have to figure out what to make with them. I might try fries.
Yes, you are right about the paw paws, at least from what I have read and seen. My understanding is Southeastern WI is the border, but I have heard of a guy doing them further North. In this link 


Yes, you have a great sense of direction, even with my disorienting camera work. Hah! The paw paws are on the north end toward the northwest corner. The mulberry cultivar (Illinois Everbearing) grows between fifteen and twenty feet. It is shorter than the Cornelian cherry redstone fruiting dogwood, which grows north of it and should reach twenty feet. Both of these trees are west of the paw paws. Since the paw paws prefer to be understory trees and they will still get considerable a.m. direct sunlight from the rising sun in the east and the mid-day sun in the south, they should be okay. The two paw paws that are furthest west might eventually get shaded out from the south by an extra long lateral branch from the Cherry or Mulberry, but I can always trim those branches if need be.

Thanks for sharing the images of your raspberries and strawberries; it definitely looks like they have filled out the space provided to them! I gave my raspberries a little room to run, but I will definitely be vigilante and rein them in when they begin running elsewhere. The runners will be relocated to a community garden or sold at a farmers market. Any remaining survivors will be composted. I'm thinking my strawberries will serve as a ground cover understory, so I am hoping they spread out like yours. It would be great to harvest them every few days like you are. I'll have to see what your chokeberry looks like this time next year, because I just planted a Nero Aronia a few weeks back as a bare root. It budded and flowered within just a few weeks, which was incredible to see. I don't expect it to produce fruit next year, but I'm hoping it continues to establish itself along the edge of the hugelkulture. Thanks for the feedback and happy growing!


 
Mike Jay
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Thanks for the links.  I had given up on paw paws but if they are possible in zone 4 I may put them on the wish list.  But if it will be a constant struggle to keep them alive and they barely make it, I will put my efforts elsewhere

The only mulberry I've ever seen was at the Milwaukee zoo and it was a substantial tree.  I just looked up that Illinois Everbearing mulberry and Stark Bro's says it is good to zone 4 as well.  That is even more interesting to me than a paw paw.  It did say on their site that they get to be 35' tall........

As for my great sense of direction, I cheated and looked at your map earlier in the post

The chokeberry really surprised me.  I planted it last spring as a bare root and it flowered and put out a very reasonable fruit set last year.  Maybe a cup of berries.  This year it's doing better yet.  I love bare root shrubs, they really seem to take right off.  I just ate a currant off of the bare root currants I planted April 21st.  10 weeks from planting bare root to eating
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I have never planted a mulberry tree, but I have 8 or 10 of them, thanks birds   They do really well here and produce tons of berries.
 
Will Harvill
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Thanks for the comments, Mike and Todd. As for my Mulberry, I have this particular one: https://www.jungseed.com/P/30940/Illinois+Everbearing+Mulberry and it indicates it doesn't grow as tall. Given its requirements, I think it will do well in its current location, but now that I have it in the ground, I am concerned about it staining the neighborhood purple with bird droppings. I might end up uprooting and relocating it, if it were to survive, to one of our garden sites in a different area, and putting this https://www.jungseed.com/P/20772/Nanking+Bush+Cherry in its place. This would provide the Cornelian Cherry Redstone Fruiting Dogwood next to it with more direct sunlight. The paw paws would get more as well then, but I'm gonna have to sleep on this one for a bit. After the annuals are done this season, I will put more fruit-bearing perennials-shrubs and vines-in the largest hugelkulture, which will finish off the first major development phase of the property. I am excited to see what is in store for it next, because I definitely want to increase the number of hardy kiwi vines and small deciduous berry bushes. I'll keep you posted if you all are interested in following this thread. I appreciate the feedback and insight. All the best - Will
 
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