April 30, 2012

Tree fruit can be challenging for home gardens

Johnny Appleseed was one of the best marketers of all time.

It seems one of the first things new homeowners want to do is plant a couple of apple trees in their yard. I know, because that's what we did when we bought our house, too. We gave them away to friends within a year or two and haven't looked back.

Of all the food crops you can grow at home, tree fruits are among the most challenging. First, let's get some terminology cleared up. Tree fruits are those that grow on trees as opposed to bushes, vines or leafy plants, such as blueberries, grapes or strawberries, respectively.

There are two main types of tree fruits. The pomes are the apples and pears and are the most winter-hardy type of tree fruit. The others are the stone fruits and include plums, tart cherries, peaches, sweet cherries and apricots, in rough order of winter hardiness.

Stone Fruits

With the winter temperatures on a warming trend, maybe the stone fruits will become more reasonable choices for us. However, for now, I still recommend considering this group as a bit of a gamble. I know many people who have been successful growing hardy varieties of plums and peaches in our region, so it's not out of the question, but I also know even more people who have tried and failed. So, by all means, give it a try if you like, but don't expect success to be guaranteed.

In addition to winter hardiness, the stone fruits have a number of common-disease problems, including black knot and brown rot as well as insect pests. Then, sooner or later, a canker sets in, causing a thick ooze from the bark. This canker is the beginning of the end for the tree.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time