Che Fruit Tree Sources

peachymomo(Ca 8)October 9, 2010

I read a previous post about this fruit but it was a few years old so I decided to start a new one for my question, I hope that's okay.

I really want a seedless che tree but the only source I can find is Edible Landscaping in Virginia and I've never ordered plants from the other side of the country before. I was wondering if anyone knows of a nursery closer to California that might be able to get a tree for me?

Or has anyone had success with a live tree they bought and had shipped to them from across the country? They are only offered in 1,3, or 5 gallon pots so I assume they can't be shipped bare-root, or am I just looking at the wrong time of year?

Please advise me of the best way to get my hands on my very own Cudrania tricuspidata.

Thanks!

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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

I have the seedless Che from Edible landscaping. Being growing without a male it has been dropping all fruit for the past 4 years I've been growing it. However this year I have a couple fruit that did not drop.
If you don't mind the seed, get a male and a female.

Bass

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 5:45PM
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fruithack

Got my Che from Edible landscaping three years ago. It's doing great. It tried to set a crop this year, but fruit fell off mid-summer. I've had lots of plants shipped across the country from lots of different suppliers with no problems except in the summer when the heat toasts even potted plants.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 5:48PM
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austransplant(MD 7)

I've got a Che from Edible Landscaping too. Three years old. Set lots of fruit this year; all dropped. Edible Landscaping claims this is an unusual self-fertile plant -- I'm starting to wonder given the last few posts. Is there anyone with the Edible Landscaping Che who regularly gets a good crop of ripened fruit?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 8:38PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I got mine from HIdden Valley and its still dropping after eight years. I did have a male but it died and I am wondering if I should have replaced it. It is supposed to be longer before the trees produce fruit if not pollinated but I am getting tired of wasting the space on mine.

Scott

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 10:24PM
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austransplant(MD 7)

Hi Scott,

To the best of my knowledge, Che fruit require a pollinator. Hidden Springs makes this clear in their catalog. But Edible Landscaping claims that their tree is "completely seedless and self fertile, does not need a male pollinator." I don't know how they managed to get a self-fertile tree when other nurseries do not have one, but that's what they say. I have seen the tree at their nursery, which in the fall is covered in tasty edible fruit. So perhaps they are right. This tree must be many years old. Perhaps it only starts to hold onto fruit at a certain age.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 10:35AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

ATP, I have been told by people knowing more than me about che that all che should eventually be self-fertile and there is nothing special about the EL tree. So, I am for now believing those experts, and the fact that nobody has a tree younger than mine that is fruiting without a pollinator makes me not (yet) want to doubt it.

Scott

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 11:48AM
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swvirginiadave(z6 VA)

My Che, also from edible landscaping, dropped all its fruit the first two years it fruited, but has ripened up seedless fruit without a pollinator the past several years.
Fruit has been ripening for the past two weeks or so. My season is short enough that an October freeze usually ends the season prematurely. Once it freezes, the fruit is ruined.
The taste is OK, but I'm not that crazy about it. My daughter really likes it though.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 8:41PM
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lucky_p

I've posted this before, but here it is again, a little missive on Che from a fruit-growing friend of mine, who was living in the Bristol, TN area, back in 1999:

"We have had Che growing here for 7 years. Put in both a male and female plant. Survived -14F several winters ago. Blooms after frost; has not frozen out in five or so years (I am away from my notes), unlike our mulberry. No observed disease or insect problems. Birds are a problem, we have netted the female. Disease and insect resistance similar here to mulberry and fig, which are in same family (Moraceae).

Pollination is the adventure with this plant:
The male sets fruit but most of these fall off; a few of them will ripen and be identical to female fruit. Male died to ground two winters ago; the female still set a full crop of seedless fruit. The male grew back last year, bloomed this year and acted like a female by setting the largest crop of ripening fruit yet. (It may be in the process of some type of conversion; time will tell. I have seen mulberries 'switch' gender.) Some debate has gone on with regard to the need of a male pollinator. I'm not sure that I had any less fruit without the male two years ago. Our plants are on the far side of the field and hence do not merit close observation; my kids eat most of the fruit with the birds.

Both our plants are grafted onto Osage Orange. Hence, if you know how Osage Orange does on yours or similar land, this should suffice for your site. A.J. Bullard lets a single stem go up to 8-9 ft, and cuts all others off, he has a nice form as the result. A number of our limbs on our bush are on the ground.

Hidden Springs grafts theirs onto Osage Orange if I recall correctly; they do not grow seedling trees of Che. If you mean they graft an unnamed "seedling", they then are no different from any other nursery, to my knowledge. Don't know of anyone who has selected and named superior cultivars from the wild (somewhere in China?) My impression of the one nursery(Edible Landcaping?) that sells a seedless selection is that this is merely a female. My sample size is too small to determine the value of two for pollination vs. one female.

We are at 1800'elevation, zone 6, we rarely get into the 90s; we are on the borderline for enough heat to ripen Che fruit. In a cool summer, defoliation in fall will occur before last of fruit is ripe.

Ripe fruit has a strawberry color, knotty exterior like Osage Orange, tastes a bit like pear and fig to us; sweet but not overly so. Strange in that slightly unripe fruit leaves a metallic taste in my mouth.

In summary, an overlooked minor fruit. Well worth the effort to put in as a carefree, dependable producer in our area. The Blacks at Hidden Springs have made a jam with them. Lee Reich plans to include a chapter on this plant in his second edition of 'Uncommon Fruits Worthy of Attention'."

I have a friend in LA/MS who has seen Che 'on its own roots', and he indicated that it suckers profusely, forming a thorny, virtually impenetrable thicket that you'd need a bulldozer to drive through. By all means, get one grafted onto M.pomifera understock.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 12:50PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Thanks Lucky, one of your past posts of this is where my above memory came from.

Scott

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 4:52PM
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hpierre

I finally have fruit on my 4 year old Che tree that I bought from Edible Landscaping. After reading many posts, I was very confused by the descriptions of the che fruit flavor. Now that I have fruit, I hope to clear this up for anyone else who may also be confused about the flavor. If I had to pick one fruit with similar flavor to che, it would be watermelon. And it is very close to the sweetest watermelons. A more detailed flavor would be a mixture between watermelon, honeydew, and raspberry without any tartness at all. I also grow figs (Hardy Chicago), and I must say that the che fruit tastes nothing like figs. Nevertheless, I love the flavor of the che fruit.

The texture is a cross between strawberry and raspberry, but closer to the chewiness of a strawberry. Its color is that of a red strawberry. It is subtle when it achieves peak ripeness. That is a problem. Other than a slight palpable softness, it isn't easy to tell when peak sweetness occurs. If you pick it when it isn't ripe, it will ooze a white sticky liquid, like figs. When it is ripe, the liquid is reddish and non sticky.

The tree is very short. No more than 3 feet tall. I had to prune it back each of the first 3 years because the branches grew long and weeping. Probably cutting the branches back at least 50% in the winter. Each of the first 3 years, I had fruit that dropped. This year, they are clinging on through ripeness.

If you have room in your yard and access to full sun, absolutely plant this tree. I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 2:12PM
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lkz5ia

Mine are young and at the dropping fruit stage of their life.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 3:32PM
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hpierre

I finally have fruit on my 4 year old Che tree that I bought from Edible Landscaping. After reading many posts, I was very confused by the descriptions of the che fruit flavor. Now that I have fruit, I hope to clear this up for anyone else who may also be confused about the flavor. If I had to pick one fruit with similar flavor to che, it would be watermelon. And it is very close to the sweetest watermelons. A more detailed flavor would be a mixture between watermelon, honeydew, and raspberry without any tartness at all. I also grow figs (Hardy Chicago), and I must say that the che fruit tastes nothing like figs. Nevertheless, I love the flavor of the che fruit.

The texture is a cross between strawberry and raspberry, but closer to the chewiness of a strawberry. Its color is that of a red strawberry. It is subtle when it achieves peak ripeness. That is a problem. Other than a slight palpable softness, it isn't easy to tell when peak sweetness occurs. If you pick it when it isn't ripe, it will ooze a white sticky liquid, like figs. When it is ripe, the liquid is reddish and non sticky.

The tree is very short. No more than 3 feet tall. I had to prune it back each of the first 3 years because the branches grew long and weeping. Probably cutting the branches back at least 50% in the winter. Each of the first 3 years, I had fruit that dropped. This year, they are clinging on through ripeness.

If you have room in your yard and access to full sun, absolutely plant this tree. I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 6:18PM
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austransplant(MD 7)

My experience accords with HPierre's. My tree from Edible Landscaping for the last few years (probably about the last 3 or 4) would set fruit but drop most before the end of summer. This year it has a good crop of ripe fruit. The age of the plant may be part of this, but I also suspect that there is a bigger fruit set and less dropping of the fruit if the ground stays moist, as it has most of this summer with cooler weather (until now!).

My tree is quite a bit larger than 3 feet high - more like about 6 - 8 feet height and width. The description of the fruit as tasting akin to watermelon is about right. I found mine to be very sweet. Mine are starting to ripen right now. I'm in suburban Maryland outside Washington DC.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 8:14PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

lkz5ia,

I have been trying to talk myself out of trying che. How have you protected yours during winter?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:58PM
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austransplant(MD 7)

I have given my Che no protection here in Maryland. Edible Landscaping rates it down to zone 6 and CRFG say it will take temperatures down to -20. Mine is grafted onto Osage Orange (apparently ungrafted trees get very bad suckers). I know Osage Orange is cold hardy, but I am not sure whether it is more or less cold hardy than Che.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 10:03AM
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lkz5ia

I've had mixed results on young stock, a couple -20sF winters can quickly turn your prized melon tree into an osage orange. I had bought 1 male and 3 females. 2 of the females were osage orangerized. But still have a male and female after those harsh winters. The female is about 8' tall now if I remember right and probably hardier as it gets more established. I've had more success with these than my other zone 5 question mark, the jujube, which all die to the ground for me, thus killing grafts. I haven't protected any of them. I bought another melon tree female, and planted graft below ground, want to try to get it to grow on its own roots.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 10:43AM
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hpierre

I ate my last batch of che fruit within the last 2 weeks. And amazingly, I had some that were quite sweet. I suspect that they may get very sweet. I have found that the sweetest fruit have a dark red appearance, they are slightly soft, and when you detach it from the tree it oozes red instead of milky white. I do not protect mine in the winter at all, despite the Northern winds, and I've had no problems.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 9:58PM
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nomadcat(6)

I got a che fruit from edible landscaping a few years ago, and a couple of years ago, bought a male from hidden springs. the male has been putting out flowers, though no fruit, even though it is only 3-4 feet high. the female had a nice first crop of ripe fruit this year for the first time-never had an initial fruit frop. funny thing, it had both seedless, unpollinated fruit, and fruit that had gotten pollinate and had seeds in it. no difference in taste either way. but try as i might, i could not taste the normal combinations of fruit that are usually given. mine tastes exactly like a honeydew melon. i guess that might be the reason for the other name of melon tree. if you like honeydews you will probably like che's, and if you don't, then you probably won't like it as much. my female tree is about 8 feet tall and wide, and thrives on poor shal-ey ground. I wouldn't worry about the shipping from either of the above nurseries. i have ordered from the west coast plenty of times and never had a problem. though of the 2 nurseries, i would opt for hidden springs any day.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 12:13PM
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kunyao(6b MD)

I bought my Che from EL 5 years ago and it is about 6' X 5' now. It has been producing fruit quite well without any fruit dropping issue. My only problems are the raccoons. The fruits are tasteless when they are not fully ripe. When they are fully ripe, those critters will come out at night and clean up the whole tree overnight. Usually I don't mind sharing, but when it's me doing 100% of the work and they do 100% eating, I have problems with that!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:58PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Kunyao,

At what leaf did your tree starting to produce? I bought a couple last fall and curious.

Tony

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 4:30PM
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kunyao(6b MD)

Tony,

The third year. However, the fruit wasn't that great the first time around.
The third year seems to be a magical year for a few fruit trees. My fig trees, persimmons, and Asian pears all start flowering on the third year.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 7:48AM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Thx,

Tony

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:47PM
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gatorguy1885(8b)

Just fruits and exotics in north Florida have a seedless female Che tree grafted onto Osage orange. Planted mine last fall and it's taking off. It has probably 20 fruits on it that haven't dropped yet after 2 months or so.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:14PM
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lisa-gemini

I bought a grafted Che tree from Edible Landscaping more than ten years ago and around this time of year, it drops all its fruit. The ground right now is littered with unripe fruit. Perhaps it needs a pollinator. Who knows. I live in San Antonio, TX, zone 8b.

This post was edited by lisa-gemini on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 20:34

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:16PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Lisa.
How tall is your Che tree after ten years? Any pruning?

Tony

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:31PM
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toucan(9)

What time of year do che start setting fruit? Is there a flower first? I have a 6 ft tree but not a single flower or fruit. I'd really like to know when and if anything can be done to induce fruit,

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:20PM
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