What's your variety rejection rate?

fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TXApril 27, 2013

What fraction of the varieties you've tried turn out to be winners?

Here's my experience expressed as real winners/~total tried:

Blueberry: 1/30
Apricot: 4/30
Peach: 1/50
Nectarine: 10/40
Sweet cherry: 12/25
Pluot: 7/30
Grapes: 4/25
Apple 5/60

Guess that's enough to say that not matter the recommendation source or how good the nursery description sounds, I've rejected way more than I've really liked. Maybe this would help newbies have more realistic expectations or maybe I'm just very picky.

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So you like Cherries the best? I hear you there, nursery/plant descriptions often times do not meet expectations.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:36PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

You are picky:) Other than a few varieties that had disease issues I have not really rejected any fruits. Sure I like some way more than others but I like them all.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:45PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Won't say that I like the cherries best, I'd reserve that for nectarine. It's just that many of the cherries are very good but not really that different. If you blind folded me I probably couldn't tell most of the good ones apart. Actually what really affects sweet cherry eating quality for me is when they are harvested. They need to hang on the tree 2-3 weeks past commercial harvest timing.


Blueberries are kind of the opposite of sweet cherries. Right now Sweetcrisp stands head and shoulders above the rest for me. The others to me are all more or less the same. Sometimes I think they're pretty good and sometimes just OK. I'll keep more than Sweetcrisp just to spread out the harvest while I keep looking for more standouts.

Here's the other part of the deal. I've started six home orchards in three cities going back to 1971. So my numbers are inflated by all this change. Some of what is working great for me here absolutely won't have shined if I had stayed in Piedra California or Amarillo Texas.

This is one thing I've learned, these fruits are way more location and growing conditions dependent than most people realize. Having multiple growing conditions for each variety, for instance potted vs in-ground, will make this easily apparent.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 4:39PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

No plums or do you include them with the pluots?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 5:29PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Plums have been almost all rejects. The pluots are sweeter IME. In my current setup I started with about equal numbers of plums and pluot. I've still got 15 or more pluots some new and some probably on their way out. But I'm down to one plum, Burgundy, and that more for pollination than the fruit. It may get booted on the next replant. I'm doubling up my rows next winter. That will allow replanting the best while still trying more new stuff.

I did just plant Emerald Beaut plum and hope to try Inca and Golden Nectar as per recommendation of poster Kingswood.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 5:45PM
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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

I'm fairly picky. I have been fortunate to have tasted roughly 100 heritage apple varieties in the past several years. Of these, about a dozen were truly exceptional for fresh eating, and worth growing my own or purchasing again in the future. The rest are all fine for pie, sauce or juice, and that's about it -- a dime a dozen sort of thing. So I'm thinking, of all the named varieties out there, the so-called "good" apples, really only about 10-12% of them are truly exceptional. The rest are just, meh. And this isn't even talking about the hundreds of thousands of other seedlings out there that make inedible or unpalatable apples. So it really must indeed be like a one in a million chance for any one seedling to produce a truly remarkable apple. We are lucky then to have had so many millions to choose from over the past ~1000 years, and been able propagate them successfully.

Similar story for supermarket apples. I would say of all the apples available in every supermarket today, really only a handful are truly great. The rest might be fine for pies, sauce and juice, but you won't catch me buying or eating them on purpose, and why they are sold at all based solely on looks or whatever else, I shall never fully understand.

I really wish I could find some good peaches. Why can't they sell any good ones in supermarkets around here? I don't know that I'm willing to risk growing my own. Of the ones at the markets here, it seems they are rarely excellent -- I have lucked out once or twice --but they are almost always really BAD -- either not sweet, or mushy. Not worth the price anyway. Guess one day I'll need to move to Georgia or something, oh well. Or perhaps I should explore more the world of nectarines instead of just the fuzzy ones.

I didn't see anyone mention pears. I do love most kinds of pears, although I don't like some that have sandy/granular skins, and I also don't like the crunchy Asians, but only buttery Europeans. But at least in that latter category, they are all pretty good in my opinion. Bosc might be second best only to one they call "French Butter" at my local supermarket -- those are truly the best. Not sure if it has a more official name than that.

I find all sweet cherries and plums and apricots to be positively boring. I do like tart Montmorency cherries though. Something with flavor.

Never met a grape I didn't like, at least not yet.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 1:43AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I think it varies depending on what you are after. Any blueberry is decent to me, I have never pulled a bush. Of course I did add a planting of Sweetcrisp :-) Apples on the other hand I have probably dumped a hundred varieties. Nectarines all were failures due to being too hard to grow.

What is your one peach fruitnut? Have you tried many of the older ones? Some are very impressive in my mind. For example give Early Crawford or Foster a try, they have tons of flavor and very high brix. Or Carman if you like white peaches. Its originally from Texas.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 7:55AM
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I agree with Scott, maybe its our zone. My problem trees have been apricot and nectarine. Peaches and apples rank highest at this point. I had the same question about your peaches as did Scott. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:37AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Thanks for the input. I went through the heritage apple thing and didn't find much interesting in probably 20-30 varieties. I'd try some again but that's not the best adapted fruit here. Pears like our heat better and I find Bosc, Comice, and Olympic keepers. Most of the other Asians, Housi and 20th Century types, are OK but nothing special.


Thanks for your input. I know you've tried many varieties of lots of things. My rejects are nearly all based on eating quality. In your climate lots of other factors come into play. I'll try some of your favorite peaches when I expand this next winter. I'm going from 8ft to 4ft rows in the greenhouse, 4 rows to 9 rows. And it will all be trellised to a narrow fruiting wall. We'll see how that works.

Mrs G:

Don't go by my favorite peach. Just a plain old low acid Zaiger named Valley Sweet. It is huge and very sweet. I also love the flavor but then I'm the brix junkie.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 12:13PM
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F...it really depends on your definition of "winner". But, I get your drift. I have really attempted to do my research before purchasing my trees. Sometimes grower "hype" is tough to wade through...especially the "low chill hype". Here in SoCal...there are lots of fruit available and growable. I have been fortunate to be pleased with around 70% of what I buy. Generally, if it does not show me something good within five years...it gets the axe. Some, just do not pan out.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 5:37PM
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I would also agree that you are a bit on the picky side, but then it also depends on what your goals are. To me tree fruit are no more important than spinach, kale, tomatoes, peppers or whatever else is in season. It's all organic all the time and each has its own importance in its own time. Holding and keeping ability are huge considerations as well.

It would do me no good to have 15 great varieties that are ripe all at the same time. So successive ripening of high quality fruit is important to me. Since I grow organic, growing local proven performers such as Babcock peach, Wonderful pom, Meyer lemon, and Washington navel are important as well - high quality fruit that you can depend on.

Curious why you didn't list figs, strawberries or poms. Figs are such luscious fruits that I base summer meals and get togethers around them. Some good cheese, wine, tomatoes with basil and balsamic vinegar with some figs - add friends or family and you have a party. Strawberries are probably the easiest, cheapest and fastest fruits to trial -- and they are all good (according to my palate). Planting out a 4x4' bed of mixed strawberries for trial has been one of the best things I've ever done in the dirt.

My rejection rate is very low due to a higher degree of planning and a lesser degree of chasing the latest, sexiest fruit that people are buzzing about.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 6:20PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I'd say about 50% of what I try is at least usable so we aren't far apart. Thanks for the input.


Congratulations on your masterful planning. It must be nice to be perfect.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:18PM
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I said my rejection rate was low, not perfect. The DWN BYOC recommendations for So Cal are excellent, I just made a few modifications (of which some worked and some didn't). I removed a perfectly good Dorsett Golden apple because I had no use for apples in June. That's no fault of Dorsett Golden. And I top worked a perfectly fine FlordaPrince because I prefer Desert Gold peach.

That said, I'm not sure if potted trees in a green house environment are completely accurate representations of all varieties.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:16PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


You got anything else about my operation you want to criticize well feel free. Otherwise if it's all the same to you forget about any future responses to my threads.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:28PM
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My pure "Dig it out" rejection rate is fairly low....

My "Bird in the Hand" list is much longer... Maybe 80% of the total Fruit things I own... That is the stuff that provides me with something to eat that isn't bad or too much work when there's nothing much else available....

For example - I have a bunch of peaches... Only 1 got dug out so far... but only 1 is a Bona-fide "Keeper".... The rest are hanging around till there is something better in the same window....


    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 10:49AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Thanks John, I'd say we are in about the same situation. My rates above are over stated by all my moving around and by high standards. Sounds like we are both looking for something better. That makes it interesting to me.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 11:48AM
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Interesting on the pick dates. That is some good info. I have a black gold cherry that is blooming heavily right now. Should be the first year with any significant fruit load. My acceptance rate is running about 25-30%. Ive found that descriptions of plants and their actual performance/taste do not meet expectations.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 1:42PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I take recommendations given here over almost any nursery description. The nurseries are abysmal about their variety descriptions. But even the best recommendation has no more than a 50% chance of being really great, IME.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 4:12PM
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Very true my friend. Why i like this site, everyone is friendly, honest, and doesn't hold back if they think a variety is performing below expectations. I just got done tying all my blackberry/hybrid vines to the trellis this week. Just have to get some more mulch on them :)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 5:28PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

I like and agree with Johns "bird in the hand" analogy lol:) I think that pretty much sums up my feeling on it. Steve you are more of a technical grower.....nothing wrong with that and wish I was sometimes...I am more of a eyeballer:) .

About the only time I will rip a plant out and replace it is if it has disease issues like Millennium or Gulf coast..or this year I have decided that most of the rabbit eyes that I grow just have to go....well at least the ones that have poor fruit set due to lack of chill. I have ribboned them and they are going to be heading to the burn pile once they ripen the meager load of fruit they now carry.

I am lucky when it comes to peaches and plums as very few types will grow here so my selection is very limited.

I know on the poms I may have to reduce the cultivars if some don't produce well or split. Same goes with the figs as I am up to 64 varieties now and know not all will do well here.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 5:56PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


64 figs all at one time!!! Don't know how you will even keep all those straight in your mind. I'd need good notes. I sure am looking forward to your fig reports!!

Keep this up and you'll have to dump something at some point. I think looking at new varieties is the most fun part of fruit growing.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:05PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


I lied, 63. I have each plant tagged with a metal tag underground on their watering riser, also have a computer map of all the locations. Not all are in ground yet but do have irrigation run to 70 spots. I think at the moment 38 varieties are in ground. I was supposed to stop at 50 but as you know I will have some I need to reject and that will free up room for more varieties. Here is part of the mapping.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:46PM
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"I'm not sure if potted trees in a green house environment are completely accurate representations of all varieties."

This comment was completely on-topic regarding your high rejection rate. My apologies if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

Here's some background:
I'm beginning to get this feeling having grown strawberries in pots for years, and then doing my trials this year in the ground. The overall vigor and taste is at least ten-fold. And I'm beginning to wonder about blueberries as well -- don't get me wrong, they are great, but I can't help but wonder how much better they could be with better mineralization and microbial activity from living soil.

Make no mistake about it, we are all free to post on this forum as long as we abide by the TOS, and you are free to ignore any one of us. So if you want to leave my perfectly valid point and observation hanging in the air -it is up to you.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 10:31PM
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I learned about goldrush apple from here. A great apple! Wish I had read about enterprise apple before ordering it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 6:23AM
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