figs VS cherries in MA.

lucymay6(Winchester, MA 01890)July 24, 2013

I'm currently trying to make a decision between a pair of cherry trees or a pair of fig trees at the end of a driveway. Any opinions out there about which tree will do better in Massachusetts? I have my eye on the hardy chicago fig from Logees in CT.

we love figs and cherries, but which tree is more likely to actually bear fruit here?

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chervil2(z5 MA)

My preference would be the figs. There are many, many varieties of figs. I have heard good reviews for this Boston nursery devoted to figs and so this might be a vendor for you to check out.
http://www.figtrees.net/
In my colder location, zone5, in Central Massachusetts it is best for me to overwinter figs inside. For some I leave outside with lots and lots of covering. This spring I noticed lots of winter kill since the temperatures were very low.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 2:52PM
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mamuang_gw

My question is are you thinking about a sweet or sour cherry?
My personal opinion: Sweet cherry (I have two varieties) is a pain. It has a number of problems: fungal and bacterial diseases, insect damages, most cherries crack esp. if it rains when cherries are about to ripe and is followed by rotting. I have not had cherries last year and this year due to bad timing of the rain. All cracked and rotted. Oh, did I mention birds?!!

I am considering cutting down my sweet cherries and plant something less headache instead.

Sour cherry: I have one. It's much easier. Not much disease (so far). Don't know about the crack and rot, the birds ate the cherries before it turned red.

Cherry is a beautiful tree. It can be quite large depending on a rootstock, a variety, your pruning skills, etc. If you love cherry, go for a sour variety.

I planted fig for the first time this year in pot. I bought it from Logee's, too. Figtrees.net does not offer Chicago Hardy. I know fig can grow quite large but I doubt if it can grow into a tree form in your zone 7. If you choose a cold hardy variety like Chicago Hardy, you probably can put it in the ground.

I am in central MA, too, but USDA zone puts me in zone 6a. I don't think I can grow figs in ground without protection. I am too lazy to protect it so its in a pot.

Fig is a lot easier but I don't know how big it can grow for you. If you want a tree, go for a small sour cherry variety.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 5:21PM
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alan haigh

That's an interesting comparison. To get cherries you have to net fruit from birds, to get figs you have to wrap to protect from winter in our climate- on most years they will die to the ground otherwise and send up fruitless growth from the ground if they aren't killed.

If my primary concern was having something ornamental, cherry would be my choice, but you'll need at least two sprays to get sweet cherries, I believe, and untimely rain can make them very inconsistent croppers even with spray.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 6:16PM
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lucymay6(Winchester, MA 01890)

Hm. well, maybe I should examine a third option. The location gets a good amount of sun, but some shade too. I am going to have a tree guy come through and thin the overgrowth so I may get a little more sun.

They will be right at the entry to the driveway so they need to be pretty. And I would like to get fruit. So I went looking at Logees because they have such amazing fruit stock. The descriptions of the cold-hardiness of the Chicago Fig had me dreaming of a lovely tree-form fig, just bursting at the seams with fruit.

But then, I went to the store and noticed the price of cherries, so I thought, hmmmm, cherry trees? But I did suspect that the bird factor and the splitting factor would annoy me. I'm a good pruner, but definitely not a sprayer so Cherry is probably out.

So, maybe apples or pears? Another thing about this location is that there are power lines overhead, so the tree can't get bigger than 20'

So what trees do you know that are:

*heart-stoppingly beautiful
*shorter than 20'
*Maybe produce some food

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:39PM
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lucymay6(Winchester, MA 01890)

Oh, and my zone is 7 when I'm in RI. But this is at my mom's in Massachusetts. Zone 6A

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:41PM
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2ajsmama

My first choice would be quince, 2nd crabapple. I don't know if you have to spray quince though to avoid codling moth. Don't believe birds are a problem since the fruit is so hard (you have to cook it to eat it).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:11PM
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lucymay6(Winchester, MA 01890)

I've grown quince before, but never saw it in tree form, and I don't think I would like the thorns. Also, besides a brief period of gorgeousness while it is in bloom, I find the quince kind of homely. I did have a lot of fun making quince paste and quince jellies though, so maybe...

I love crabapples, but I do already have one mature crabapple nearby, so I would like to go for some variety.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:30PM
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2ajsmama

I didn't think quince had thorns - are you sure that's what you were growing? Maybe a different variety (though I can't speak for how it looks when it's not in bloom)? The quince my DH and I picked a year or 2 ago near an old barn didn't have thorns (though they did have CMs).

Here is a link that might be useful: Glorious Pineapple Quince

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:42PM
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mamuang_gw

Will you spray your tree for diseases (it can be on leaves, trunk and/or fruit)?

If the answer is no, then, the choice is rather slim. I have not found a good looking (never mind heart-stopping) fruit tree that need no care yet.

However, a persimmon tree may fit the bill. I've not planted one but plan to do so next spring.

If you need more info on it, look up Just Fruit and Exotics nursery. It's a lot of varieties to choose from.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 5:13PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Pie cherries are small, don't need to be sprayed, but maybe should be netted. I got a lot more fruit off of my tiny pie cherry than my huge sweet cherry (birds got most of them.) Quince don't have thorns but may not be hardy in MA if you're inland. Mine need fungal spray, but you can use compost tea or Serenade if like me you want to be organic. American persimmon would be a winner for you there but get a Meader if you only have space for one tree.(self-pollinating) Plenty hardy in your area, and no need to spray.
John S
PDX OR

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:29AM
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2ajsmama

I don't know if persimmon will grow up here but no problem with quince. I suppose there might be some varieties that aren't hardy, but Logee's should steer you to the ones that are. I can't speak to the beauty (or lack thereof) of a quince tree when not leafed out or in bloom (that's in the eye of the beholder as they say) but I think anyone would agree that they can b spectacular when they are flowering. And we love the fruit.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 7:55AM
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mamuang_gw

Lucy,

If you want to plant the tree for show, too, you probably don't want to net it. Otherwise, some sour cherry trees are naturally small (no more than 15'). Birds may leave some cherries for you if you don't net.

There are a number of persimmon that are hardy to zone 6. Check England nursery or JF & E nursery.

I know Logee's. It's known for exotic tropical and subtropical plants. If you want fruit trees (I don't count fig as a tree), you'll be better off buying bareroot fruit trees from reputable fruit tree nurseries.

Search this forum, there are many of them.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 7:26PM
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lucymay6(Winchester, MA 01890)

Thanks so much for all the input! I love the idea of persimmons!!!

If that doesnt work out, Maybe i need to decide between heart stopping and fruit bearing. Maybe its too much to ask for both.

My quince definitely had thorns. It was a very old shrub and i believe the modern varieties are thornless.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:35AM
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nhardy(5b)

Figs might not be a tree form. More like a bush. But plant one in a pot. Plant one for taste over hardiness. I overwinter mine in the garage. I have a 'Violette de Bordeaux' . But one fig can lead to another one until you are a fig nut.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 11:06PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

Persimmon trees are a great choice and they do well in my zone 5 location. You would need to top prune a Meader persimmon to keep it a reasonable size. Mine is quite large right now. I am very happy with my newest persimmon, Nikita's Gift, which has larger and tastier fruit. Perhaps you want to consider pawpaws as well? My quinces are beautiful shrubs and there is no issue with thorns. I apply no sprays ever.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:16AM
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