Looking for a pretty and as-idiot-proof-as-possible fruit tree

marian_in_edenSeptember 11, 2013

Last Fall, I planted a lovely row of Starkcrimson cherry trees in front of my house in central New Jersey. Deer ate the leaves, then bugs did, then the heat killed three of them while I was on vacation. Stark Bros will replace the dead ones but am I kidding myself? What do you recommend for a beginner edible landscaper?
Thanks,
Marian

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megamav(5a - NY)

Pawpaw.
No spray, hand pollinate, edible.
Bugs and deer generally dont touch them.
Rabbits, occasionally will, so a cage may be a good idea.

-Eric

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 2:39PM
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fabaceae_native

I was thinking pawpaw too... BUT they do need shade in first years and will die faster from heat than any cherry tree.

But sticking to natives is the best idea, though I'm not sure about the deer issue (pawpaw is probably unusual in being a deer-proof fruiting plant). Bottom line is that you may have to put some effort into this (like caging the trees while they're young) to make this successful.

A few native fruiting trees for your area:
- pawpaw
- persimmon
- pin cherry
- black cherry
- beach plum
- red mulberry

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Bradybb(wa8)

How about Cornus mas,Cornelian Cherry?One of the easiest trees I grow.Just water and fertilize a little. Brady

Early Spring

In Summer with Fruit

This post was edited by Bradybb on Wed, Sep 11, 13 at 20:02

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 8:01PM
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melikeeatplants

Blueberries grow great in NJ, very ornamental too....

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 8:09PM
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fireduck(10a)

M...many times cherries and peaches can be prone to many diseases. They are great...but maybe not for beginners. Perhaps I might consider a plum that is good for your area.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 9:08PM
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austransplant(MD 7)

My vote would be for an Asian persimmon tree over a paw paw. Persimmon trees are very attractive trees, have a lot fewer disease and pest problems than other fruit trees, and have delicious fruit. You can either get the kind that is firm when ripe (non-astringent), or the kind that must ripen to the consistency of a very ripe tomato (astringent until soft). I much prefer the latter both for taste and because they ripen at a time (October) when squirrels and stink bugs (the only pests I have had on them) are no longer interested in them. They also do not need another tree to pollinate them (as pawpaws do) and, unlike paw paws, produce fruit fairly quickly.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 10:14PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

AustranPlant beat me to it- my Tam Kam Asian persimmon is the nicest looking tree in my yard. The leaves are large and glossy with a tropical feel. The leaves are in better shape than any of my other fruit trees, except maybe mulberry. In a no-spray situation, leaves from trees like apple and cherry tend to get pretty beat up as the summer wears on. This is only the 2nd year I've had it, so I haven't yet tried the fruit (the little fruit-lets fell off this year). But, I've had non-astringent persimmon from Chinatown and they are pretty good.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 10:42PM
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whatsgrowinon(9)

jujube might be what you are looking for- pest/ animal/disease resistant, cold hardy to zone 5, takes the heat too, likes any type of soil, pretty much "set it and forget it". cons likes to sucker

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 11:01PM
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whatsgrowinon(9)

jujube might be what you are looking for- pest/ animal/disease resistant, cold hardy to zone 5, takes the heat too, likes any type of soil, pretty much "set it and forget it". cons likes to sucker

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 11:03PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Persimmon is the best looking, jujube #2. Both can be grown successfully with the stick-it-in-the-ground treatment.

Scott

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 8:35AM
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murkwell

Marian,

Here the deer would still eat the persimmon until it gets taller than their browse line, so you'd need to protect them until then.

Also, I'd feel wrong asking for replacement cherry trees after the treatment you describe unless Stark guarantee is irrespective of the care given.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 4:14PM
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thomis(7)

another vote for the fuyu persimmon, very pretty contrast bright orange fruit with leaf color in fall, no sprays and you only need one for pollination

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 4:37PM
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marian_in_eden

Thanks, everyone. These are some great suggestions. I am thinking about pawpaws for an area behind the house. The front yard has low wires so the trees there need to be small. I'll look at Asian persimmons and possibly plums. I have blueberries as a foundation planting, and raspberries and blackberries along the fence lines. A baby nectarine that I planted this spring is doing really well so I don't think I'm a total lost cause!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:16PM
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