Success with Home Depot/ Lowe's fruit trees?

feedindyJuly 21, 2014

First let me start by saying, I am completely hands off as a gardener. I was wondering how much success other have had with Home Depot/ Lowe's fruit trees without putting in much care to them.

I have bought about 8 or so different dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit trees over the years (plums, apples, nectarines, peaches, pears- most of which were labeled as self-pollinating and I got 2 if they weren't). I plant them and I do not prune or spray them with anything. They all seem to follow the same pattern of having small junky looking fruits for a few years and then one mega awesome gigantic fruit year, and then never giving anything good again.
Anyone else have a similar experience?

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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


I wish fruit trees was that easy to grow. I had to put lots of care in my trees to be able to get good quality fruits. Dormant copper spray in early Spring before buds break, Spectracideî 32oz Triazicide Once and Done Concentrate after petals fall and every two weeks and stop about 3 weeks before harvest. Thin out fruits every 6 inches for better quality. Spray immunox for brown rot if it is too humid near harvest time. If you want to grow less care tree then try Asian or American persimmons, Jujube tree, or paw paw.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:53AM
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I don't think the retail nursery is as important as the wholesaler (mislabeling aside). There is no difference if I pick up at Dave Wilson tree from Home Depot, Summer Winds (local nursery) or online. It's all the same stock.

Your issue may be not putting any care into the trees.....

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:16PM
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I generally agree that the wholesaler is more important than the retailer ... if you buy the trees shortly after they arrive and if you don't have any questions.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:46PM
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I find many trees at Home Depot totally inappropriate for our area (such as bartlett pears here in fireblight city), you have to research to see if it has a chance

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 2:00PM
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alan haigh

We never have trees from Dave Wilson at our big box stores in the northeast and the suppliers are not necessarily reputable wholesalers of fruit trees. Trees are notoriously labeled falsely, and not because of customers switching labels, they are securely fastened and I see no reason someone would do that.

They also have no clue about best varieties for the specific weather in areas they sell them- usually just opting to sell mediocre varieties that function in colder climates.

Unfortunately, this is also a problem with local nurseries as well. Better to buy bare root trees from reputable fruit tree nurseries, ordering in late summer for delivery the following spring or fall.

If you don't want to put in the time to care for the trees, you may want to stick to a couple species that are relatively trouble free, like pears (some sites) and Asian pears (most sites- get a Korean Giant, AKA Olympic).

If you have a weed free sod (no clover, few dandelions) you could get lucky with peaches as well, but you will need to thin them- but then you also would need to thin the pears.

I believe Tonytran's spray schedule is probably excessive most anywhere in the country and certainly is in the northeast. Immunox is not very good for brown rot except at the blossom stage (blossom blight, which has never been a problem for me at scores and scores of sites)- stick with Monterey Fungus Fighter, one spray about a month before stone fruit ripens and see if that isn't adequate.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 2:02PM
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Thanks for your responses so far. Well although the trees only had one superb season, each one was able to more than pay for itself in fruit, so I was happy I have them. But now they do nothing so I was thinking of chopping them down. We heat our home by firewood, so they wouldn't go to waste. Spraying them with stuff is not really my thing. Everything else in my yard is planted and left with no sprays and minimal pruning and it's been fun to experiment to find plants that just want to thrive and produce fruit with no assistance in my yard. So far I'm surrounded by fig trees and all kinds of berries that don't require any assistance from me. Even in my veggie/ herb garden, I don't do more than just pulling a few weeds by hand and we have veggies all summer. Again thanks so much for your responses so far.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 2:46PM
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I hope this isn't off topic but I say it for the benifit of those who work at it and still get bad or no fruit. Many if not most fruit and nut trees are grafted but ALL dwarf trees are. Unlike normal trees,dwarfs are on roots that don't alow them to flurish. That makes dwarfs even a bigger challenge than their normal size bretheren. The rootstock has a strangle-hold on the prefectly normal fruit bareing top making it less robust in desease,insect and weather conditions. As is true of any grafted plant,the rootstock will put out offspring of their own in the form of suckers that will grow much faster than the desirable wood. An unsuspecting gardener might prune away desirable wood to alow the healther looking rootstock to replace it. They wind up with a strange tree that doesn't produce good fruit or often no fruit at all. That's over simplafied but hopfully conveys the intended message.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:25PM
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nyRockFarmer(5A Southern Tier, NY)

For my location, weather is the biggest problem. More often than not, we get frosts during bloom time that kill most of the buds. Even if there isn't a frost, I've seen lack of honey bees during cold, overcast weather patterns at bloom. Occasionally we get major ice storms or deep freezes that kill fruit buds in late winter.

Even if fruit does set, inconsistent rainfall throughout the season is the norm. We almost always get a month period with very little rain followed by a weeks of constant rain and little sun. To little or too much rain can make big difference to the fruit quality. Sometimes you need to water the trees during drought periods to make sure the fruit stays on, let alone develop properly

One year everything actually went right until we had a major
wind storm in mid august that blew most of the unripened fruit onto the ground. It's always got to be something. :-(

As far as looks, I think you can anticipate ugly fruit if you don't spray them with some kind of anti-fungal compound. Apples in particular can look very ugly until you wash off the sooty blotch and fly speck fungi. Just because they look bad on the outside doesn't mean they are on the inside!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 4:31PM
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I have had great success with Home Depot and Lowes apple trees. I don't think it matters where they come from as long as they are healthy. If you are going to be a no spray person having success at growing most fruit is not going to happen. You can go on line and order certain disease resistance trees, but bugs will still be an issue and some disease issues will occur.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 7:28AM
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If you don't want to do any work on them, there is no reason to expect your outcomes to change. People who have success with fruit are people who have a passion for it and put in the hours. Just like being good at golf, cooking, etc.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:19AM
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I bought a Candice grape from them once that has done nothing but struggle to survive. Every year it is severely chlorotic and I have to assume that they didn't supply grapes with the proper rootstock to live in our calcareous soil. Other grapes in the area thrive. This isn't a big surprise when you see all of the blue berry plants they are unloading on the public that will plant them in soil with 10-40% lime and a ph that wont budge from 7.8. It's the little things that can make a big difference with plants and I think that the big box stores overlook this.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:44AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i am no fruit expert ...

but are you shopping bigboxstore at this time of year... if you are .. you are setting setting yourself up for a hard run at success ...

i see no problem.. labeling aside.. buying stock when it is freshly shipped in ... and no trees are shipped in.. in july/august ... so you are buying bargain stock that has had.. most likely.. less than perfect care.. since early spring delivery ....

sometimes they get an assortment in fall ... and fresh stock always responds best ...

you said: I am completely hands off as a gardener. .... without putting in much care to them.... I plant them and I do not prune or spray them with anything.

i think you know.. or should.. the spraying and care regimen.. that fruit production requires ... so i dont understand why you complain ... at your result ...

and dont get me wrong... i do it EXACTLY like you do ... and i get the same result ... BUT THAT IS ALL I EXPECT ... you seem to be expecting more ... and i dont think that is going to happen.. and it has nothing to do with bigboxstore ...

BTW.. this horrible winter.. in my MI ... not a single trees flowered ... dont forget winter.. has an impact on production ...

i ended up in this predicament.. because grandpa.. kept having trees sent to the kids.. and we had fun planting them ... they are now teenagers.. and frankly ... we are still waiting for something on many of the trees.. lol .. g pa and the kids had fun with it all ... so the memories are set .. but i am not interested in multiple spraying... proper pruning... proper watering on sand... etc .. and i dont expect.. much of a success ...

g pa has passed... the kids are teens... and rarely go out in sunlight... but we still.. once or twice a year.. talk about g pa and the trees ... who cares if we get fruit ....

good luck..


    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:04AM
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