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Tree Fruit and Small Fruit Jon Traunfeld [email protected] edu
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Reasons to grow fruit • Flavor and quality, high store price, versatility, health benefits • It’s a challenge – lots to learn (part science, art, and mystery) – long lived plants that require timely care and attention each season • But please… start small; start with small fruit – Take less space, more forgiving, can be grown organically, less expensive to maintain and easier to dig up
Fruit plants grown in Maryland Tree fruit Major- apple, European pear, peach, plum (Asian and European), sweet and tart cherry, fig Minor- Asian persimmon, Asian pear, lemon, lime, orange, banana, pawpaw* Small fruit (take less space, more forgiving, can be grown organically, less expensive to maintain and easier to dig up) Major- strawberry, blackberry*, raspberry, * blueberry*, grape* Minor- currant, gooseberry, jostaberry, hardy kiwi, elderberry*, beach plum*, chokecherry*, medlar, citron *Native to mid-Atlantic
Will I have to spray a lot? Pest problems (commercial growers spray): Peach (many pests) Apple (many pests) Sweet cherry Japanese plum Grape Can grow these organically: Fig Raspberry/blackberry Currant Strawberry Blueberry Asian pear Asian persimmon European plum Sour cherry
How do fruit plants compare to tomato plants? • Perennials that require 12 -month attention • Require “hardening” (chilling hours) to survive winter and produce fruit • Maximum yields come with the correct balance of root, leaf, and fruit growth • Important to know when and where they produce flower buds and fruit • Correct pruning is essential to control growth and encourage fruiting
Plan ahead • Do I have enough room? Enough time? What’s practical for me? • Start planning one year before planting • Select a full-sun, well-drained site • Amend soil to achieve correct p. H and high organic matter content • Work with your macro- and micro-climates
Picking cultivars • Select well-adapted, recommended cultivars with good disease resistance. Buy high quality plants- “certified”, “registered” • Bareroot plants will catch up to container plants • Do I need a special rootstock? • Do I need more than one cultivar for pollination?
What if my plants arrive too early? • Keep roots moist and keep plants cool • “Heel in” plants outdoors OR • Keep plants in garage or refrigerator
Hydrating an apple whip in a bucket of water for 12 hours prior to planting 3 -year old bare-root apple whip has just arrived from the nursery. Notice graft union where the scion is joined to the rootstock.
Water and fertilizer • Regular watering throughout the year is essential • Shallow-root small fruit plants are especially vulnerable to drought stress • Fertilize with 1 inch of compost each spring • Use fertilizers according to recommendations • Be careful not to over-fertilize
Weeds and mulch • • Avoid herbicides Keep mulch away from trunks and crowns Organic mulch, pea gravel Grass or other living covers can compete with fruit plants for water and nutrients
Wildlife “issues” Vole feeding Deer scat
Pruning • Control size and shape • Invigorate- stimulate new fruiting wood • Improve air circulation and increase sunlight interception
IPM- dealing with problems • Abiotic problems- drought, poor soil, frozen buds, etc. • Biotic problems- insects, diseases, deer, etc.
Strawberry Two main types for Maryland gardeners: the “June-bearing” type (predominate) and “day-neutral” type. Aggregate fruits have many stamens and pistils. King berry is largest in a cluster and has the most seeds.
Pineberry (pineapple strawberry)- white strawberry with red seeds; has some pineapple flavor. Small berries, low yield = not worth it!
This raised bed is too wide for good fruit production. An 18 to 24 inch bed would be ideal. “b” is the correct planting depth for strawberry plants, leaving the top of the crown above ground.
Common strawberry pests Gray mold (botrytis) is a serious problem with cool, wet weather. Strawberry leaf spot- a fungal disease.
Blackberry • Perennial crown; biennial canes • Very well adapted to all parts of Maryland • Four types: – Thorny erect (excellent flavor) – Thornless trailing (rampant growers; large fruit) – Thornless erect (good choice for small spaces) – Primocane-bearing, thorny erect
Drip irrigation line suspended from support wire to prevent vole feeding on plastic tubing. Floricane laterals are tipped at 18 inches to increase fruiting.
‘Prime-Jim’ thorny erect blackberry that bears on firstyear canes in late summer through frost.
Raspberry • Perennial crown; biennial canes • Less heat-tolerant than blackberry, but ok for all parts of MD • Types: – Red, purple, black; June bearing – Red, yellow; primo-cane or “fall-bearing”. These can be cut 6 -8 inches above ground-level in late winter or early spring.
Black raspberrynew shoots (primocanes) are thinned to 6 inches apart. Red raspberry plant tied to a single wire between posts.
Tip rooting New raspberry plant from tip rooting Landscape fabric laid down to suppress weeds and raspberry suckers
Bramble problems Orange rustfungal disease Cane borer Spotted wing drosophila (SWD)
Grapes • Vitis vinifera- European wine grapes (less coldhardy than native grape and more prone to diseases. • Vitis labrusca- native fox grapes (seeded and seedless)
Seedless table grape cultivars ‘ Himrod’ ‘Mars’ ‘Canadice’
Black rot- #1 problem in backyard grapes
Underused small fruits Elderberry- Sambucus Ribes spp. • Currant- red, black and white • Gooseberry- American, European and crosses • Jostaberry
Black chokeberry. Aronia melanocarpa
Beach plum- Prunus maritima Native to U. S. Atlantic Coast
Wineberry- very invasive! • Rubus phoenicolasius- China native that displaces native plants • Spreads by seed, suckers and tip rooting • Delicious fruit- but Do Not dig up and transplant into your landscape
Some keys to apple success: – Dwarfing rootstock- BUD 9, EMLA 26 – Disease-resistant cultivars (scions); e. g. ‘Liberty’, ‘Goldrush’, ‘Enterprise’ – Support with stakes and wire (vertical and oblique cordons work well) – Close attention to pruning, pest monitoring – Don’t over-fertilize
Apple Pruning Suggested Pruning Cuts A. Suckers. B. Stubs or broken branches. C. Downward-growing branches D. Rubbing or crisscrossing branches E. Shaded interior branches F. Competing leaders G. Narrow crotch H. Whorls From Clemson Univ. Extension fact sheet
Apple problems and growth stages Codling moth larva; eggs are laid on young fruits by adult females at petal fall stage. Silver tip stage Pink stage
Cedar apple rust- a common fungal disease that is difficult to control. Requires Eastern red cedar as the alternate host. Fireblight- a bacterial disease that can move through the vascular system of apple and pear, killing branches and trees.
Surround is a pulverized kaolin clay product that suppresses and repels some fruit insect pests such as codling moth, plum curculio, and apple maggot.
Peach fruits need to be hand-thinned to increase fruit size and decrease disease problems. Peach is best pruned to an open vase shape to maximize captured sunlight and fruit production.
Peach leaf curlfungal disease; prevent with fungicide application when buds swell in early spring. Black knot of plum and wild cherryfungal disease; prune out symptomatic wood to prevent spread.
Bacterial spot disease Gummosis- peach trees exude sap naturally and when stressed by insects, diseases and abiotic factors.
Brown rot- a major fungal disease of stone fruits. Dried, infected fruits are called “mummies” and must be removed from trees and ground. Bagging fruit to prevent bird, squirrel, and insect feeding.
Peach tree borer (PTB) larva feeding on cambium. Sap mixed with frass (sawdust-like excrement pushed out of entrance hole by larvae), indicates PTB presence.
Quince rust fruiting bodies on ‘Bradford’ pear fruit. Asian pear cultivar (russetted). Good landscape tree but susceptible to fireblight and deer.
‘Olympic’ Asian pear
“Portable” fig in ½ whiskey barrel is moved into garage for winter rest. Protected Baltimore City fig (tree form) with Southern exposure.
Shrub form with multiple fig stems pulled to center, tied and covered for winter protection. Same plant during growing season.
Bird netting surrounds entire fig plant. Most birds will peck through netting and some may get tangled. Root containment and root pruning will promote fruiting.
Brown marmorated stink bug injury
Late instar nymphs Eggs and 1 st instar nymphs Adult
Resources • Grow It! Eat It! http: //www. extension. umd. edu/growit – We have all types of practical food gardening tips and information. Check out our popular blog! • Home and Garden Information Center http: //www. extension. umd. edu/hgic – Here you will find factsheets, photos, and videos. You can also subscribe to the free monthly e-newsletter. – We answer gardening questions 24/7…just click “Ask Maryland’s Garden Experts” • Maryland Master Gardener Program http: //www. extension. umd. edu/mg – Consider becoming a trained MG volunteer!
This program was brought to you by the Maryland Master Gardener Program Frederick County University of Maryland Extension