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Planting Trees in Midwest/northern Wisconsin  RSS feed

 
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington
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Hello everyone! I live in the pacific northwest but I'm helping a good friend put in an orchard in Wisconsin next spring. We need advice on this. The growing conditions are so different that it's hard to know where to begin. He lives in Ashland, Wisconsin. Figuring out the growing zone of the land he's on is challenging because sources list conflicting information. It seems to be a zone 4 but I'm worried about misinformation. I don't want trees to freeze out.

I need to know:

1. What varieties would you recommend (of fruit and nut trees, all kinds) for this area? We know of lots of apples, pears, etc, but are there any persimmons, quince, apricots, etc that would do well there?

2. My friend has limited water. How much do you have to water trees in northern Wisconsin/the Midwest in general? In the northwest, young trees absolutely must be watered once or even twice a week in summer for the first few years. The soil stays moist where he is all summer. Other than a good watering in, will the trees be ok on rainfall alone?

3. Is there anything that I might know about that I should? I don't know what I don't know, and like I said, growing in the midwest is very foreign to me.

Thank you!
 
Posts: 131
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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You might want to get in contact with Nat Larson at The Draw He's not too far from Ashland and has quite a permaculture project going.
 
garden master
Posts: 1988
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I haven't been to Ashland but it looks to be zone 4 or maybe 5 if he's closer to the lake.

1.  For fruit the big one is apples.  Followed by pears and berries.  Maybe peaches and apricots but they may not make it.  I planted 2 peaches and an apricot in zone 4a and the peaches died back to the rootstock while the apricot did ok.  I'm trying quince in some sun traps and microclimates but I doubt they'd make it unprotected.  Same for persimmons and mulberries (iffy).  Hawthorns may be an option but I don't know.

Very few nut trees grow up here.  Butternuts are probably the best bet.  I'm also trying hickory but I'm not holding my breath.  Black walnut are a maybe but butternuts are more cold hardy.  Hazelnuts are rock solid around here.

If you can focus on shrubs there are plenty of berries to grow.

2.  In a "normal" year you don't have to water at all.  This year we're in a bad drought (maybe not Ashland though?) and I'm watering my new plants every week or two.  After they're a year old you shouldn't have to water here at all even in a dry year.

3.  That big lake next to Ashland could create some opportunities and challenges for weather and wind.  I'm guessing they get lake effect snow so he'll have to deal with a lot of snow.  That could work well to insulate shorter plants that couldn't normally handle the cold (quince?).

FYI there's a permaculture facility near Ashland in Bayfield that may be worth checking out.  It's called The Draw.
 
James Landreth
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington
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Thank you both! I've sent them an email.

Mike, I've got some questions for you:
1. What kind of peaches were they? Were they Reliance?
2. Have you heard of Northrop Mulberry? It's survived -55 degrees and is marketed to northern growers.
3. What about plums?

Thank you!
 
James Landreth
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington
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Also, what about chestnuts? I've read that some, like Chinese, are hardy to zone four
 
Mike Jay
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Posts: 1988
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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By the way, they aren't too hooked up to the internet at The Draw so a phone call may actually work better if you don't hear back quickly.

My peaches were Contender and Red Haven.

I had not heard of Northrop, thanks for the lead!  I got mine from a southern WI nursery so I was just hoping they'd make it.  If they don't, Northrop it is. 

I forgot about plums, they work as well.  And so do sour cherries.  Can't believe I forgot about those two...

Not sure about chestnuts.  I don't desire chestnuts so I haven't really looked into them.
 
James Landreth
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington
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Thanks. I'll give them a call.

Reliance peach might work there. It's from New Hampshire.

I love the very idea of chestnuts since they're a perennial starch. I'll keep researching.

I've heard some American persimmons are pretty cold hardy. Yates is rated for zone 4 but I don't know how well it would work in reality
 
Posts: 418
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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hartmans in MI and honeyberry USA has most of the cold hardy fruit types that can grow there. the romance series of hardy cherries at HoneyberryUSA and Hartmanns plums are very cold hardy. cane fruit like raspberries are easy to grow and produce fruit on same year canes w/ everbearing varieties. once you get a patch going you can dig extra shoots the next year to start new patches elsewhere. i freeze extra on cookie sheets the put in ziplocks to keep me in fruit year round . honey berries, grapes ,currants , blueberries , serviceberries and seaberries are others i grow here and would do well there also and fruit much quicker than most fruit trees. i also grow hazelnuts from bagersett research in MN. they're guaranteed blight immune but can take as long as 4 years to start to produce nuts. good luck!
 
Mike Jay
garden master
Posts: 1988
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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steve bossie wrote:hartmans in MI and honeyberry USA has most of the cold hardy fruit types that can grow there.
i also grow hazelnuts from bagersett research in MN.


You may want to check out the Seed and Nursery Review Grid.  I believe there are reviews and comments about both HoneyberryUSA and Badgersett that could help.
The Official Permies Seed and Plant Source Review Grid
 
steve bossie
Posts: 418
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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ive ordered multiple times from both and had good results. plants were nice too. oikios in MI is another nursery that mainly deals with native types instead of commercial varieties if you want to go that route also. think he's in z4b also. I've sent him some dug wild canadian blackberry starts i found growing wild here last fall. they are semi thornless so he's trying to cross them with his MI varieties to make a hardier semi thornless w/ bigger berries. canadian blackberries are the hardiest blackberry, according to the PLANTS database , all the way to the arctic! small berry, like a big raspberry but taste great and very prolific!
 
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