Selecting Fruit Trees

thoughts-from-julesJanuary 23, 2013

We are putting in an orchard this spring and I have a few questions. Here are the types of trees we'd like to plant (these are the ones we buy every year to can, dry, or eat fresh so they make the most sense to plant.)

Apples (3 trees) we buy about 6 20# boxes of Fuji per year
Peaches (2 trees) we buy about 300 lbs Elberta to can each year
Nectarines (2 trees) we by about 150 lbs to can
Pears (4 trees) we buy about 300 lbs Bartlett to can and dry
Apricot (1 tree) we like to dry these and eat fresh
Cherry (1 tree) We like Rainier or Royal Ann
Carmine Jewel Cherry bush?

Anyone have any specific suggestions on good varieties for Eastern Oregon in a zone 5? (garden web says we are zone 6 but as long as I can remember this area has been zone 5) We have nice deep soil that grows a bountiful hay crop each year, we have water rights so water is not a problem either. The land is gently sloping with good drainage.

We do have several potential problems #1 is that all poplar and cotton wood trees in the immediate area have been affected by a poplar borer. We have cut down all affected trees but we do need to keep this in mind for any future trees we more poplar or cotton woods for sure.:) #2 we have a large population of deer in the area. So what height fence do you recommend and is electric fence a good option? Our garden will be surrounded by a 6' fence comprised of 2x4 inch mesh fence and a top wire of electric so we could do the same in the orchard but the expense would be an issue.

Help is appreciated! Oh and also we are looking for a reliable place to order from. We have looked into Stark Bros. (the trees seem smaller?), Willis Orchards (we have spoken with them and they've been helpful) we like the size choices from Willis.

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Hi There,

Re. reliable nurseries to order fruit trees from, please Google "garden web, mail order nursery reviews". Old posts containing useful info of good and bad nurseries will show up.

From I have read, you want to avoid Willis Orchard. Also, if you want to check any nursery for its reputation, please Google "the scoop on (the name of the nursery)" For example, Google "the scoop on Willis Orchard". The site is run by Dave's Garden. It contains reviews of many nurseries. You want to avoid nurseries with lot of negative reviews.

Also, USDA released a new plant hardiness zone map about a year ago. Most get about half a zone or a zone warmer. It's possible that your zone is 6a now. USDA claims you can check your zone using your zip code.

Hope this help.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 8:57PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

To answer the last part of your inquiry, here is a pretty good list of fruit tree/plant sources. A rating summary and a link to the appropriate website is included for each source. Stay away from the sources listed at the bottom of the page.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sources for Fruit Trees and Plants

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Honeyberry USA has Carmine Jewel,along with some other Cherries. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: Sour Cherries

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:48PM
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To answer your question about fruit trees I have most of the fruit trees you mentioned plus I have grape vines too and we enjoy sweet seedless grapes. On my wish list there is a Japanese fruit tree called Hana Gosho Persimmon I got to have it. If you look in the store for this fruit it is the most expensive one even if they have it.
As for nurseries I had a lousy experience with Willis I'm not going to bad mouth them may be my lousy experience was isolated. I use a nursery in North Carolina called Pam fast growing trees. They sell healthy mature trees some trees are 6 to 7 feet on its own root or grafted into a pot. I Bought trees from them in winter and in summer I had fruits. But the trees are not cheap or bare roots. You can check with them and even if their nursery is allowed to ship trees to your state. I have no ownership or financial interest with that nursery I am just a satisfied customer.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:20AM
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goyo626 S.Cal.8b/SZ20

If you are only planning to plant one type of cherry tree you should look into a self fruitful variety since Rainier and Royal Ann both require pollinators.

Also, Ive read that Fuji take a long time to produce and it may benefit from a pollinator to produce a better crop.

Bartlett pear is said to be self fruitful in arid west in other environment it is said to need a pollinator.

I am not knowledgeable enough to suggest trees that will work in your zone. Hopefully, someone here can help you with that.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 1:46AM
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Oh yes, of course we are planning on grapes as well, our family's favorite is seedless red canadice. Oh yum! We'd also like to include a seedless concord or two. Also we are planning to plant, blueberries (eventually 50 plants), strawberries (150 plants to start), raspberries (probably 30 plants), and we have 4 serviceberry trees now.

We are a family of 6, and we have 3 boys and a girl. The boys especially are all ready to get into the "eat everything in the house stage" in the next few years so we are preparing

This whole process is a dream come true that has long been dreamed about, worked for, and saved for. It has taken 15 years of hard work, sacrifice, and patience for the right place to come along. So thanks for being here to help guide us for the right choices in our fruit selections.:)

So far we are leaning towards several varieties:
Apples~ Sierra Beauty, Pixie Crunch, Gold Rush, Sweet 16
Pears~ Barlett, Ambrosia
Peaches~ Elberta
Nectarines~ Still no idea...
Apricot~Blenheim (sp?)
Cherry~ Rainier or Royal Ann

Blueberries~ 20 Chandler, 5 Rubel
Raspberries~ (anything thornless like Canby, Mammoth Red)
Strawberries~ 100 Honeoye (How do you pronounce that?) and 50 Ozark Beauty

Those are the ramblings I have so far.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 4:35AM
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alan haigh

Brandon's list is in alphabetical order not in order of ratings.

I would tend to stick to west coast nurseries because of their proximity and more regionally appropriate selection.

Van Well is an excellent supplier of mainstream varieties. Raintree, Trees of Antiquity and Burnt Ridge are a few that carry varieties especially for home growers. Burnt Ridge has lowest prices of the three.

If you don't want to have to do all your canning in a 2 week period or so and would also like to pick fresh peaches for a longer period- try more than one variety. Red Haven is a very good canning peach that ripens more than a month before Elberta and there are earlier varieties and ones that ripen between the two as well as a bit later than Elberta.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 6:05AM
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After reading many reviews of all kinds of places we are planning to get as many trees locally at trusted nurseries even if we have to travel an hour (so we can pick the tree that is branched the way we like etc). Then for other varieties hard to find we will order from somewhere online. I liked the looks of Rolling River website and products. We won't get as big of trees as we were planning from Willis but we might be able to get a few more trees that MIGHT produce us more overall in a few years.

What should we expect as far as a wait period for yields of fruit? If they are 4-5ft trees to start? What is a reasonable price to pay for trees locally? We are planning to plant all standards except pear which will be semi-dwarf.

What I am a little afraid of is by waiting and buying locally and seeing what is available we will have missed the ordering window online by then to order what we aren't able to buy locally.:(

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Raintree Nursery and Burnt Ridge Nursery (both in Washington) handle mail order trees appropriate to your area. There are others, but these two I routinely order from.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:31PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"What I am a little afraid of is by waiting and buying locally and seeing what is available we will have missed the ordering window online by then to order what we aren't able to buy locally.:("

That is a valid concern. Fruit tree nursery stock tends to run out fast, especially from popular nurseries. I ordered trees from a well-known nursery in July of last year (for 2013 delivery) and they were already out of some selections I wanted.

Not sure why you would insist on local nurseries, unless you want to do your part to boost the local economy. There are some very reputable online nurseries. Most people on this forum order trees online and have good results. Fascist and Hman named some reputable online nurseries that are in your general area.

I've received multiple orders from Burnt Ridge, Raintree, and Vanwell (all in Washington) and have no complaints with any of those nurseries. I have nothing but the highest praise for Vanwell stock.

Lastly, I wouldn't assume local nurseries have better stock. Many times they simply buy their trees from larger nurseries and resell them. Frequently their prices are higher with poorer quality stock. This is especially true if they are selling potted trees. It's not uncommon for potted nursery trees to be root-bound. I haven't bought a potted tree for years.

If you know what you want, my recommendation is to order your trees now. Most online nurseries will allow you to request a specific shipping date that is convenient for you.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 4:45PM
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Good to know, I think I just assumed that seeing the tree in person was the benefit. We have very few nurseries around here so it would be a challenge to find everything we needed and risk miss the window to order online. I will check out the WA nurseries you listed and go from there. This is why you guys are so important to bounce ideas off of. Save us from making costly mistakes.;)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 5:01PM
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I really like the selection at Burnt River and their website is easy to use. I also like that they carry the blueberry and one of the grape varieties I am after. Their prices are great too.

Have you ordered from them? What tree sizes do I expect for most fruit trees? Are these little whips that will take 8 years to produce anything?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 5:54PM
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goyo626 S.Cal.8b/SZ20

I dont think the initial whip caliper is too important on how quickly a tree will produce a sizeable crop. The first year/s usually are for the tree to lay down roots and get acclimated to its new environment. Lots of people on this forum (including myself) prefer .5 inch whips in order to train the tree in a BYOC system. This allows more trees in a smaller area which can result in an extended harvest. Also, it is important to note that rootstock is very important and you should research which rootstocks are appropriate for your area. Rootstocks perform differently depending on the soil watering climate etc. Choosing a rootstock that works in your area will make your life easier. By the way are you interested in full size trees or in smaller trees?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:13PM
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I'd say with the exception of pear we are looking for more standard size (at least semi-dwarf) we need the higher yields and we have 5 acres so space isn't as much of an issue as it could be on a little smaller acreage.:) The pear trees we want to keep a little smaller for a narrow strip of land on one side of our circular driveway.:)

I liked the Burnt River place because it clearly listed what root stock each tree was on.:) It made it easier to decide on varieties.:)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:57PM
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goyo626 S.Cal.8b/SZ20

I wish I had your acrerage :). Large trees are great for high yields of fruit but they are a pain to maintain especially when I am uncomfortable on a ladder :(. Thinning, spraying, picking,netting and pruning are all easier to do from the ground (At least for me). I wish you luck and don't be surprised if a couple of years from now you find yourself addicted to growing fruit trees.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:47PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I have had good results from Van Well, but as it has been mentioned, early ordering is essential. I now order as soon as inventory is listed in July or August of the previous year. (Although since I have no more room I will have to curb my appetite)

You mentioned only one apricot, but you will need two for pollination. (Personally if I had the space you have I'd plant a dozen apricots.)

Your initial tree types are good, but I venture to say that you will want to branch out. Consider this a good start and not the end-all of your selections. Also, don't be afraid to tear out a tree that is not living up to expectation. I planned my little orchard for a year and I still am disappointed with a few.

With regard to the deer, personally I don't have the problem living in the city, but my father does. He has been pondering how far a deer can jump. His idea is to plant two rows of shorter fences close enough together that the deer can't jump between them, but far enough apart so they can't jump both. This is just an idea he's been bouncing around so I have no idea of it's validity but I sure would like some opinions. Two shorter fences might be less expensive than one high one.

I speak here as the mother of six sons, now ages 18 to 28, plant soon and plant dwarfing rootstocks. I started my little BYO in 2007 and the only apple that has borne is on B9, which I thought I didn't want. We've had peaches, but not nearly enough. I have to humor myself in saying I wanted this for my grandchildren:)

I am happy for you, your place sounds like a little piece of heaven! And welcome to GardenWeb.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 11:07PM
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Yes, the acreage is wonderful! When we moved in it had a nice hay crop we were able to cut right away and we ended up with 3 nice cuttings and gave us a nice amount of $ to help pay the property taxes. Nice bonus there! We are reducing the hay field to about 3 acres this year. We are adding the orchard, garden, and medium pasture for horses to graze as well as a small sacrifice area/corral that will soon just be bare dirt. (We board 2 horses for a little per month also helps with extra expenses, which is nice when you only have one income.) We are also adding a circular driveway to help make it easier to get in and out of the property. It needs a lot of work but that is all the fun in it. We've been down this path before (completely remodeling a home on a city lot top to bottom, inside and out, and landscaping etc.) This time we get to do it on a larger scale which I am so very thankful for! The kids love having so much room to roam, one of the first things my husband did was took a mini-excavator and dug some starter holes for the 3 boys to dig and play in. They have had hours and hours of fun transforming that area day after day. All the little things they get to enjoy now being raised in a rural setting.

I am sad that our trees will take so long to produce but I suppose we will just have to be patient and do our best. I have to make the best decision we can on varieties and go for it....I tend to get a case of "paralysis of analysis" if I think about it too long. I second guess myself and rethink the choices until soon I am not sure what to do.

Yes, I thought only one apricot because we really only dry them or eat them fresh (they don't store long). I was only planning on one cherry too because our neighbors have 2 cherry trees in their yard but they are both dark sweet cherries (they said we can pick anytime). There is another apricot not too far from our place that I imagine would help pollinate for us.;)

Would you all suggest that if we want 4 pear trees to try 4 different varieties? I had planned to do like 3 bartletts and 1 ambrosia or moonglow or something. Same with peaches, I was going to go Elberta and if I remember right we liked the Loring peaches when we went and did U-Pick at Davis Orchards in Kimberly, OR. I was going to just do like 2 types even though we wanted 4 peaches.

I admit I am afraid of the dwarf kinds, I keep seeing these 5' trees that don't look like they'd ever produce much. Any recommendations of root stocks to go with that are semi-dwarf keeping the size manageable but yet not so small that they are a laughing stock on 5 acres? No pun intended "laughing stock" lol. I am completely new to root stocks, and all that. I figured we'd be safe with semi-dwarf, seemed like the best of both worlds. Then I got confused when there is what appears to be 2 semi dwarf sizes (one more like standard and one 60-85% of the size of standard. Any help understanding the conflicting info would be wonderful!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 11:58PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I ordered from Burnt Ridge last spring and was quite pleased with the trees. They ranged from 1/2" to 7/8" caliper and one apricot stood out as one of the nicest trees I've gotten. Most were pretty inexpensive, though the apricot (Montrose) was $35 (labeled as extra large on the site). I see they have it again this year for $40. After the first year, there are now flower buds on it, so I don't feel bad about the price. I thought that the two berry plants I got from them were a bit on the small side. Raintree has been OK, but I haven't been as impressed. That didn't stop me from placing another order to them as well, but it is smaller than the one to Burnt Ridge.

I got my first order from Grandpa's Orchard this fall and was pretty impressed with the quality. I like how the site not only tells you the rootstock, but the age and size of the trees. Cummins Nursery also has a lot of selection, both in terms of variety and rootstock. ACN sends pretty nice trees.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:05AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

If you are looking for larger rootstocks (like MM111 for apples), you may want to check out Treesofantiquity. I haven't ordered from them, but have heard lots of good stuff from this forum about them.

As long as it doesn't cut too much into your caning, I think that spacing out the peach season is a great idea. GoldDust, Harrow Diamond, and Redhaven are all peaches which would be a month or more before Elberta and have gotten good reviews in the forum. Adding a white peach, or a donut could also be fun.

If you are scared of the 5' dwarf, you want to stay away from "mini-dwarf". After 2 years, I have some M27 apples which are still only 3-4' tall. But, most of my dwarf (B9, G11, and G16) trees are 7-9' tall after 2 years in the ground and a couple have borne apples. But, I have staked (10' posts) and watered them, so I'm not sure how they would handle a rougher environment.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:42AM
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you may want to check peaceful valley nursery. they have a good deal for buying bulk trees, and they carry dave wilson nursery, a reputable wholesaler...

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:28AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I've been very happy with Trees of Antiquity and Cummins. TOA is on the higher side price-wise but their trees are great. I decided on G.11/MM.111 rootstocks for my apples and Cummins has these. I've never been disappointed with Cummins; most of my trees are from them.

I got a Silver Logan peach from TOA and, boy are they good.

I am curious that you don't can apricots. IMO apricots far outweigh peaches.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:33AM
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alan haigh

A local nursery that doesn't specialize in fruit trees might be a risk, no matter their intentions. You should find out ahead of time their source of trees to be sure they have a reliable supplier. If they don't know the specific rootstocks of their product I would stay far away.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 6:13AM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

It was mentioned briefly above but when selecting varieties, obviously taste/flavor should be your first consideration. Your second consideration should be ripening time, i.e. early, mid, or late season.

If you chose the right apple trees for instance, your three trees can give you fruit from August to November off the tree, and much longer in the 'fridge.

I'm still eating my fresh Fujis and Pink Ladys from the November harvest. The Fujis are showing some age, but the Pink Ladys are as fresh and good as the day they were picked. Actually, I think the flavor has improved a bit since harvest.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:46AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

" Burnt Ridge...Have you ordered from them? What tree sizes do I expect for most fruit trees? Are these little whips that will take 8 years to produce anything?"


The relationship of precocity (how soon a tree starts to fruit) and size at planting depends on the type of fruit. With peaches size at planting makes no difference in fruiting age. I've planted peaches (my own grafts) that started out as a bud (at the beginning of the season) and trees that started out 3/4" in dia. After a season of growth and pruning, they are essentially the same size. Both will produce some fruit the second season.

Apricots and Japanese plums operate the same, except they produce their third year (if the blooms don't freeze out).

Apples, pears, and Euro plums benefit from larger trees at planting. They are naturally less vigorous at first and larger trees at planting generally produce earlier for these fruits.

All that said, I'm not afraid of small trees and deliberately order the smallest peach trees I can because they are easier to train. So don't get too hung up on size when ordering trees.

Regarding rootstocks, if you have 5 acres I'd go w/ mostly semi-dwarf roots for apples. MM111 or Bud118 are common semi-dwarf roots that are easier care and perform well in most climates.

Typical standard peach/nectarine rootstocks (Lovell, Bailey, Halford) are well proven and readily available. I use them for virtually all my peaches.

I have pears on std., semi-dwarf, and pyro-dwarf. I've had fine results with all three, but prefer the more vigorous roots of std. and semi-dwarf (although they do need to be pruned frequently to keep them at pedestrian height).

Sweet cherries really need to be on more dwarfing rootstocks if you want to be able to pick the fruit. Mazzard, Mahleb and even Colt can produce some really tall trees. Since you don't have a shaker to harvest with, you need the trees closer to the ground. Dwarf trees will be smaller, so you'll need to plant more of them closer together.

Most people that get into fruit growing eventually plant more fruit trees than they ever thought they would. They just keep ordering a few more trees every year. Someone on this forum will mention an exciting new cultivar that tastes out of this world, and you will find you just have to have it. With that in mind, I would plan your orchard area larger than you think you need (like 2X or 3X larger).

To get started, order less trees now and read this forum for a while to get a feel for what you really want. Don't get in a hurry, think of it as a journey, not a destination.

As an example, you've mentioned Elberta peaches. Did you know there are at least 3 different varieties of Elberta? The typical (and most common in the Midwest) Elberta is not considered a top dessert peach. It's not even the very best canning peach (although it is a good canner). You can search this Website for "peach report" and get some ideas on some top rated peaches from people on this forum. You can also search this Website for opinions on the best varieties of any fruit and come up with lots of ideas.

Dave Wilson Nursery also does taste tests on all kinds of varieties of tree fruit and publishes them accordingly on the Internet. However, before you order those trees from a nursery, check to make sure they will perform well in your climate.

All the nurseries recommended on this thread are reputable ones. I've ordered from just about all of them. However, you may want to stick with ones on the west coast since they should offer plenty of choices for you and have quicker and generally cheaper shipping.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:49AM
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alan haigh

There are so many issues beyond just taste. While Olpea is right to say there are peaches that side by side you may prefer to Elberta, for some it would be better than new varieties because it doesn't attract the attention of birds and other animals as much as the highly red colored new varieties. If brown rot is a difficult issue where you are (and in far eastern Oregon, I doubt it would be) Elberta is far less susceptible to it than many newer varieties in its season.

Olpea grows peaches for sale and therefore is constantly comparing the qualities of different varieties- for taste and sellable appearance. I tend scores of home orchards and taste a wide range of varieties every season, so I think we both have a different perspective than the individual home grower. The home grower is usually very pleased with most any variety of peach off their own trees.

I would also suggest that the reason a smaller peach tree is sometimes as large the following season as one that started larger is that peach roots tend to be butchered when dug at the nursery because they are so brittle and extensive.

A larger young tree in root and top will generally stay larger into your first harvests, all other factors being equal, in my experience.

It is only another opinion, but over the years and through growing more than a thousand peach trees in my conditions I prefer larger diametered peaches even with the butchered roots. This may be entirely because of the greater humidity of my climate, that is probably more forgiving for transplanting trees than Olpea's part of Kansas.

Also, cherry trees on any rootstock can be kept low if they are trained to be- it just takes more work with a lot of tying down of branches. The Japanese are apparently very adept at this, but there orcharding methods tend to be very labor intensive.

However, I've seen cherry orchards in NY state kept at 12' height on Mazzard by pruning only. In western Oregon you will have control of irrigation which will give you a lot of ability to control size of trees by holding back water.

However, cherry tree pruning takes a great deal of skill, so you probably are better using the Gisela rootstocks which create an easier to manage tree. Trees on this rootstock will also fruit sooner than on more vigorous rs.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:49AM
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The above site will give you an idea of tree size on different rootstock, I assume the shadow tree is a standard about 25 foot.

Due lack of patience and age I have planted dwarf Bud9, G-ll ect and large semi dwarf. I expect of get fruit 2-3 years earlier off the dwarf trees.

I would suggest looking at Vaughn nursery for very inexpensive trees that grow well if they have the varieties you desire.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Thank you all SO much for all this information. I attached a pic of some peaches we picked 2 years ago. Just one of the boxes (out of about 600lbs we picked that day.) I thought it might be nice to see this time of year.

I am going to start researching more the root stocks and varieties. Mainly I need hardy peaches, that produce well. We love fresh peaches but the main intention of peaches is to can them for winter fruit supply. We've only tasted a few varieties from the tree which area Elberta, Loringn Sunbright and a couple others but the Lorings were our favorite so far....they were HUGE peaches (which means less work to process for canning the larger they are.) They were so good. The Elberta seemed like a safe choice as well.

Apples we were planning on possibly a Red Gravenstein (earlier), Sierra Beauty or Sweet 16 which area later. Fuji for storing into winter. Any suggestions on the longest storing apple varieties? (late ripening AND long storage too). Sounds like Pink Lady did well with storage. We don't care for either Red or Golden Delicious varieties. Mainly we buy Fuji apples but that is probably because those are mainly what are available in our area to buy in bulk.

I am getting really excited. Someday I want to order some root stock for an apple tree and graft my very favorite apple tree from childhood. I know all my siblings want a tree from that. It was a volunteer apple tree near the machine shed, and the apples were AMAZING! So I will be asking for help on that too.

Many recommended making the orchard area expandable. Good idea! We have about 90 more feet we can extend it in the fenced area. That will give us a space about 45' wide by 220' long down one side of our property for the orchard. For now it will be about 45' by 130' which will hopefully be enough room for 12 trees in the initial area. The 4 pears will be planted alongside the driveway. The cherry and apricot we are considering incorperating into our landscape (hubby is a big fan of edible landscapes). The deer seem to leave the cherry trees alone around here (not sure about the apricot though.)

The posts here are certainly encouraging as far as fruit tree size and fruit production time frames. One question I do have is for the best growth rates would it be best to dig out a larger area than one might with a shovel (we have the use of a mini-excavator or backhoe) and add compost etc? What would you recommend amending the immediate soil with for the best success. Like I said the soil is really pretty good, grows lush hay now, the cleachy rock (whiter looking soil with river type rock layer is down about 5+ feet). Also what do you mulch with under trees? We have a lot of aged straw.....we don't want grass growing right under the trees because we don't want to worry about weed eating near them or trying to turn a riding mower that tight.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 5:05PM
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alan haigh

Loring is a wonderful peach. Has a reputation for fragile flowers although in my area it has always performed well. Johnboy is a Loring sport with similar fruit that ripens 2 weeks before. There's also a variety called Johnboy II which ripens a bit after Johnboy. Adams County Nursery has these and many other peach tree varieties.

A high quality peach with good frost resistance is Madison, although I hear as a canner it's hard to remove the skin.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 6:07PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


Just curious, how much does a 25# box of peaches cost in OR?

Re: Size at planting

Hman and I really do have a bit different goals. He installs home orchards for a living and from what he's indicated, his clients place a high value on an instant bearing orchard (or as near instant as possible).

For myself, I have a new larger stand of peaches planted last spring. That stand has flower buds on peaches I've grafted, and on 3/4" trees, but the truth is that I could care less how many peaches they produce this season. Whether individual trees produce 15 peaches or 5, it's not enough peaches to run the sprayer down the aisles.

I've had as many as about 70 peaches on second year trees or as few as zero. The biggest factor I've found is not size at planting (although I don't deny it could make some difference) but how much the trees are pruned. If you want a lot of second year peaches, tie more wood down instead of pruning it off.

Elberta is not quite as grower friendly here as in Hman's climate. It's highly susc. to bacterial spot, which is a problem for me so it's not something I grow, but it is grown in KS. My wife's grandfather grew it until he died a couple years ago and my neighbor behind me currently grows it. Bacterial spot is bad enough here that I have to spray highly susceptible varieties multiple times with an antibiotic. I'm trying to cull those varieties out.

The Elberta peaches you've purchased may or may not be the same Elberta peach discussed in this thread. Early/July Elberta and Fay Elberta are very popular on the west coast, and are different than the "original" Elberta discussed here.

I wouldn't add any amendments in your planting hole. It does help to break up the soil. Put your amendments on top of the soil as mulch and keep a weed free area around the trees.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 6:18PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


If you are interested in learning to graft I would suggest getting apple trees on dwarfing rootstock so you will have earlier harvest, then once you've got things going maybe buy rootstocks and graft the scion from your dwarfs onto semi-dwarf or standard.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:30AM
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alan haigh

The fact my customers want instant bearing orchards isn't relative to my wanting the largest bare root trees available for my nursery- except that such trees become sellable sooner, in my experience.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:57AM
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I am not sure the cost of a 20# box locally that isn't U-Pick. We did U-Pick and the price at the time was 60 cents per pound. It was a fun family day and we made a day trip of it and played in a local river for half a day after we picked a truckload of fruit.:) We added up what we spend annually on strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, pears, etc and it averages about $800 per year or more. So we figured spending at least 50% of that on investing on our own fruit supply would be money well spent. We will still have those fruit costs for a a couple years but there would be hope to relieve that budget someday.:)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 10:50AM
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The topic is already well covered, and I second the good things said about Burnt Ridge, both in quality and cost. Some things:

1) I assume you are covering the season by starting with cherries and then eat different fruits until you end with late apples. I would consider a mulberry too, for earliest crop, ease of harvest, and also to diminish the bird pressure on other trees (in particular, save your cherries). You may also want to look at haskaps, not as good as many berries, but very early (late May). Mine come from Burnt Ridge.

2) You have virtually no storage apples, except for Goldrush, while you will get a lot of fruits in Sep.-Oct. It is less work to store hard apples than to can peaches (yes, I have canned, many years). Specially since you spend so much money on fruits, the storage apples will take a big bite out of your winter fruit needs. With that kind of family, 5 or 6 Goldrush trees are not out of the question.

3) for fruits in the first two years, plant melons and watermelons in the orchard.

4) by all means protect against deer. Electric is great, but it has to be associated with some sort of barrier, they often run through a wire stretched across a field. Also, very important, the charger has to be continuous, not pulsed. Pulsed is for cows. You want to hurt them.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:28PM
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It looks like a fine project you have in mind, my compliments. Beyond that my "2 cents" in no particular order is.... Burnt Ridge is a fine company selling quality stock. Why no Montmorency? I love sweet cherries especially Rainier but Monty is so reliable and tough. Chinese aka Mormon apricot is also reliable and tough and in my experience very good fresh or as jam. In zone 5 the Rainier and Blenheim might bloom kind of early unless your neighbors experience tells you differently. I would second the suggestion to plant more late storage apples, I probably wouldn't plant just one variety, though I've read good things about goldrush, with so many late apples to choose from I couldn't/can't stop at one.Not much of a fan of dwarf rootstock (tasteless peaches, leaning and or suckering apples IME)I do like m111. I don't buy Honeycrisp unless it's pyo and I haven't planted any but they keep really well in the basement and are supposedly fairly easy growers. Good luck with all your endeavors.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 8:36PM
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Thank you everyone for your input, I have learned a lot and I will continue to research varieties and our area to find a good match. I have many figured out thanks to this discussion.:) We are excited to get these trees in the ground eventually.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:41PM
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