good east coast varieties of sweet cherry and apricot

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)January 14, 2013

I'm looking for what varieties of sweet cherry and apricot I'd have the best shot at success in the Mid-Atlantic.

Here's what I've HEARD - please add, confirm, etc...

Sweet Cherries:

From what I've seen around GW and elsewhere, Lapins, and the newer "Gold" varieties - Blackgold and Whitegold, are the best bets here.

Apricots:

I've heard from MANY that Tomcot does well. Others??

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

That sounds about right. I think the Black/White Gold are better than Lapins, at least based on my experience with Lapins.

The only apricot I wholeheartedly recommend for our climate is Tomcot. I am trying a dozen others now so in a few years I hope to have one or two more to recommend. Tomcot has a rare combination of excellent taste, freeze tolerance on the blooms, and early ripening to avoid too many bugs and diseases.

Scott

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 8:28AM
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lateriser

OP - I'm a little south of you, but I have had very good results with Miller's S.H. Chinese apricot. There are years when freezing weather gets the flowers, but it is an easy tree to grow and I have never had any trouble with diseases.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 10:00AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Thanks!

I've heard that what Miller's sells as the "SH Chinese" is the same cultivar that Raintree calls as Chinese Sweet Pit Montgamet, and other nurseries call it the "Mormon" - can anyone confirm that this is all the same tree?

Still other nurseries just call it "Chinese" but that might be a seed-grown Manchurian...so confusing!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 12:35PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Chinese is very reliable. Its not one of the best tasting cots however, so its not a home run like Tomcot. This is based on descriptions I have read, my tree has not fruited.

I think all of the Chinese/Mormon/etc names are the same 'cot.

My pick for next best is Montrose based on reports I have heard from other folks. I am a member of the NAFEX apricot group and every year the chair, Bob Purvis, sends out a report with how different cots are doing around the country - very helpful information!

Scott

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 3:29PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

OK, I might try a Tomcot for starters.

Rootstock question - probably aimed mostly at scottfsmith whose climate and soil is probably closest to mine.

Raintree carries Tomcot on Lovell. Bay Laurel has it on Citation and Myrobalan - what do you recommend and why?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 11:20AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

For my location I don't find apricot rootstock to be all that important. I would tell you what my Tomcot was on but I don't seem to have written it down. I got it from Raintree ten years ago. I have had good luck with citation and lovell for apricots but only have plum trees on myro. Both citation and lovell have been very vigorous and myro probably would be as well; Tourinel is probably my favorite apricot stock because it is somewhat less vigorous. Citation is good for early fruiting (early in terms of years to fruit) but cots fruit pretty early anyway.

Scott

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:44PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

OK, Scott - what varieties of plums (all types) and peaches are your faves for this area?

In Ohio I grew Redhaven successfully and a few others. Despite their reputation for frost on the blooms, my biggest challenge were actually all the pests and diseases.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 11:22PM
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alan haigh

I would avoid Lovell because of potential borer damage and go with most vigorous alternative available as apricots can be kept reasonably small, and as Scott notes, fruit young. They are fragile trees in all but mild climates so more vigor may increase survivability.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 6:19AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Hman, I find apricots can get far too vigorous in my climate, so I prefer less vigor. You have a good point on borers, I just dug three big worms out of a poor baby peach tree last week. Borers greatly prefer peach roots.

Scott

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:14AM
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alan haigh

Interesting, up here they can be kept quite small without difficulty on any soil I've grown them. Of course I don't have much experience with your usual spacing, but I'm talking about a 12' spread, max and just tall enough to keep the fruit above the deer. As I recall, all my nursery trees are on myro- can't get more vigorous than that.

Even on sites moderated by very nearby large bodies of water, as in immediately adjacent to the Hudson River, Z 7, sudden death of these trees is common (say 5% annual mortality) with the Canadian series. I've only grown Tomcot for a couple of years at only my own site so I don't know how tough it is. Same thing for the new Rutgers releases, although Bob Purvis suggests they may be from stronger stock.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 10:08AM
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iammarcus(6)

I am confused by zoning requirements for Tomcot, Peaceful Valley says Z 7-9, whereas Raintree says OK for Z 6. What's the difference between the two?
Dan

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:01PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

All sources I have seen show Tomcot (and most others) good to z5.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 9:25AM
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alan haigh

I think that you can't completely tie this species to a zone because there is little solid information on the relative fragility of apricots and it is about much more than lowest temps of any given winter.

Here I have been just as likely to lose apricots after mild winters as harsh ones, and I suspect the problem is that they soften off earlier than other varieties, so warm periods in late winter followed by cold ones may be what kills them.

Traditionally the advice has often been to plant trees where they are blocked from lower sun to the south in an effort to delay coming out of dormancy (softening). This should also delay flowering somewhat, so cropping would presumably be more consistent.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Hair metal, I forgot to answer your question about plums and peaches above.

My favorite plums are Satsuma, Santa Rosa, and Purple Heart. Other good ones are Superior and Shiro. Look at their ripening dates and pick ones that won't be ripening at the same time. All of these are Japanese plums, the Euros rot too easily.

There are many good peaches; my favorites are the disease resistant peaches from the NC breeding program: Winblo, Carolina Gold, Clayton. For white peaches my favorite is Oldmixon Free.

Scott

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 1:31PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Scott - I can't seem to find those peach varieties anywhere - who carries them?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:24PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Oh - what about Ozark Premier for a Jap plum? I've seen reports that it does well in the east.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:49PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Try the link below for peaches. I don't think Clayton is sold anywhere but this place has the others. There are surely other outstanding peaches on their long list, I just don't know which ones.

There are many other Jap. plums that do well in the east, the problem is their flavor tends to be a notch down from the best ones. In breeding for disease resistance, ship-ability, etc they sacrificed on the flavor. I am trying a few now that are the ones that are considered highest for flavor. Ruby Queen was very good two years ago but last year it was super bland. I overcropped the tree last year; it may be a great plum if kept thinned enough. Spring Satin is another one (its a plumcot but tastes pretty much plum) which is an easy grower and which has produced some great fruit for me but not consistently. I would definitely recommend Spring Satin, its always at least decent and it crops very early so will be giving you plums before any other tree. It was bred in Georgia so it likes our climate.

Scott

Here is a link that might be useful: fruit tree farm.com

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:55AM
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john_in_sc

My own experience with sweet cherries and Apricots....

I absolutely LOVE apricots - but so does all of the disease and bugs here... The tree seems incredibly difficult to keep alive down here....

I have 1 apricot that went in last year.... and I am seriously re-considering a Tomcot.... but I lost all 5 other apricots to bugs literally eating the trees to the ground...

Cherries... Cherries are tough because Birds love them so much... so far - the last 3 years... I have gotten 1 cherry each year in my mouth... The foliage also gets hammered by Japanese Beetles... but they seem to pull through...

On Peaches - Scott has great advice.. I would also add Red Haven and Elberta.... They are older, tough, reliable cultivars...

Plums wise... Same as Scott - but more so... My European plums don't do well in the summer... Too hot for them - and they go dormant in the summer - and the plums came out very bitter... I dug them up and planted them in the shade last year.. and they didn't die.. We will see this year...

Japanese plums wise - so far Methley is super reliable but So-so for taste (Bland and watery when fully ripe) until the very end of it's season.. The kids absolutely love them - so the tree can stay for now... I put in a Satsuma last year - we will see how it does....

If you like making Jelly - American plums are the ticket... but they are very bitter/sour/inedible until 100% fully ripe... I LOVE home made American plum jelly!

Thanks

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:59AM
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wally308

I have bought Tomcot and Chinese Apricot , I wonder how will they do in zone 6a in central New Jersey? Any advise? Thanks

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 5:41PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Who's tried Early Blush apricot? ACN sells it, and it's a Rutgers release I think...Jersey's conditions aren't all that different than mine, aside from being a tad colder in winter.

BTW does anyone know what rootstock ACN uses for Early Blush?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:46PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Harvestman likes it at lot if I recall correctly; he is in downstate NY. I am growing it now, we will see how it does.

Scott

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:07PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I've fruited Early Blush two years as I remember. It wasn't nearly as early as it was supposed to be for me. That's probably because it's higher chilling than my really early Tasty Rich aprium. This makes it bloom later and harvest later.

As to eating quality not nearly up to the standard of Tasty Rich or Tomcot. It's a much softer fruit. Reasonably sweet and decent flavor but second tier on both. I've still got it outside hoping that it will be a late bloomer there. But the eating quality isn't worth space in the greenhouse.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:16PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Oh, by the way, for the Superior and Purple Heart plum recommendations...since they're Asian/American hybrids, would a "regular" Asian plum like a Santa Rosa be an acceptable pollinator?

My understanding is most Asian plums have at least some N. American parentage however.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:55PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Most "asian" plums in the US are in fact asian/american hybrids to some degree, I think Santa Rosa even has some American plum in it. Satsuma is one of the few that is pure asian. All of them pollinate each other well. Some of the very cold hardy plums have pollination issues but you don't have to worry about that.

Scott

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 8:34AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Thanks, Scott.

So you've had no issues w/Superior or Purple Heart pollination?

I'm leaning now towards three - a Superior, a Purple Heart (if Fedco still sells them next yr), & possibly a Ruby Queen from ACN for a later plum...do you think between those three I'd be OK on pollination?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Yes you should be fine with those three.

On the subject of Ruby Queen, it set a ton last year and I did not thin enough and the plums were bland. So, it needs brutal thinning to get good fruit. My Shiro also way oversets, but I would leave a large load and still get good fruit on it. This year Ruby Queen is in recovery, it had very few flowers.

Scott

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 11:45AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

So RQ tends towards biennial bearing a bit?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 2:19PM
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