Planting a tree right now

speedster1August 14, 2014

I was looking at the USDA site and determined my zone is actually 6b instead of zone 5. Anyway, what are your thoughts on planting a fruit tree this time of year. It's warm this time of year but it hasn't been blazingly hot. If I could get the tree in the ground wouldn't it have a good head start for next year?

I know that most of the large mail order sites seem to send out bare root trees in early spring but some of them are still willing to send trees this time of year.

Good idea or bad idea?

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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Bare root - absolutely no - if any nursery had any they'd either be in full leaf, or held dormant for going on 10 months now - not sure it would even be alive, and if it were,wouldn't grow then harden off in time for winter.

From a container, sure, but keep it watered well.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 3:20PM
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Thanks. I plan to order bare root for next spring but saw some varieties of plum trees still available at my local co-op center. They still appeared to be healthy and of course are in containers. Thought that if I can get a deal on some I might try putting a couple in the ground.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 3:36PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

It's OK to plant in the fall, go for it, if you can obtain trees. Myself have only planted one tree in the fall. Then we had the winter of all winters, and it is alive, but I should probably pull it. It seems damaged unable to produce sizable limbs. I'm just hoping it can somehow recover. I suspect this next winter is going to be killer too. It never really warmed up. The great lakes are much colder than normal, so ice will form sooner. It's not a good thing.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 5:17PM
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I just double checked the trees remaining at the co-op an it turns out they are all plum trees. Definately not my favorite. They are pretty good sized around 7 feet tall and about a 1" caliper. I can get them for about $12/each. I'm thinking I may get them and plant them in the ground and maybe try grafting cherries on them next spring. Since they are both prunus they should be comparable. Id just need to score some cherry scions.

If I get them now and put them in the ground should I cut them back or leave them as is until next spring?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:23PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I'd plant a container tree any time of the year if i could get into the ground. Just mulch/water.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Great. The two varieties that they sell are "Ozark Premier" and Satsuma. Both styles are on semi-dwarf root stock. Any ideas what it might be and also any comments on the varieties? Good bad? Dave Wilson has it listed as a top 100 variety. But says the Satsuma should be polinated with Pollenized by Santa Rosa or Beauty which I won't have. Guess it doesn't matter too much as I'd consider grafting to cherry. But could keep a couple of the branches plum.

This post was edited by speedster1 on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 12:48

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:44PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

order now.. for delivery in mid to late sept.. you are look for warm days.. and cool nights .. root growing time ...

if sold dormant... aim for when the other trees in the area are showing color... soil temps will bear dormancy.. and your plant should not wake up ;...

insure they warranty it thru leaf out in spring ...


    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:48PM
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For zone 6 and south, fall planting is indeed preferred. The plants have all fall and winter to settle in and grow roots before they need to make top growth.

But yes, containers can be planted anytime if acclimated to the sun, wind, etc..and can be adequately watered.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:48PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

You can't graft cherry onto plum. Those are not compatible. You would need a cherry rootstock like Mazzard or Gisela.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 2:03PM
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I thought that since plum and cherry are both Prunus they could be grafted together?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 2:35PM
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appleseed70 seems of little advantage to do what you are considering to me. I mean if you just want to experiment...sure. But if you want a cherry tree it seems you would be further ahead to just order a cherry tree bare root for spring planting.
If you want to graft why not order a cherry rootstock and a piece of scionwood. At least this way you'd know what you got. I'd bet those $12 trees don't even tell you what stock they are on. They were the ones nobody bought in the spring and most places don't properly care for their potted plants or trees.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:58PM
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I do plan on getting some bare root cherry and apple trees and probably a couple combination trees as well. Maybe ill buy the plum trees and leave them as plums. More than anything I guess I can consider them experimental trees that I can practice pruning, training, and grafting on. I have a spot away from where I plan on putting my apples and cherries. Its a little closer to the woods so deer may be an issue but it should get enough sun there to thrive.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 12:30AM
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My advice would be to choose your varieties carefully...VERY carefully. Think of pollination, growth habit, keeping qualities, ease of growing, potential hazards, relative wind, access to and direction of sunlight, soil type, drainage, bud hardiness, consider ease of lawn maintenance (mowing etc) and most importantly disease resistance.
Know your area and the disease pressures it presents and choose varieties that are suitable. Don't expect to "get lucky" with any disease won't.
Some here would disagree, but if I were you I'd make every attempt to select varieties with inherent disease resistance. Combating disease isn't just as simple as spraying for it. I spray like a madman and I still get fungal issues at times. Here in my place, insects are far easier to control than disease.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 1:08PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

There is some compatibility between apricot, peach, and plum. Not everything works but many can be grafted onto each other. Cherry is a bred of it's own. There are specific cherry rootstocks. You'll do much better sticking to those. A cherry might take on a plum but not for long.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Fair enough, you guys have talked me out of it. I will wait until the spring and order my cherry and apple trees on known rootstock from reputable companies like Raintree.

My family is not a huge fan of plums but since they were in containers I thought maybe it's something I can play with and practice grafting and things like that. Guess I'm too impatient for fruit trees. :) Now I'm going to have to wait 6 months before I can do anything.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 8:08AM
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