Fruit tree suggestions

blue_canJune 19, 2011

I wonder if people on here can give me some suggestions on plating a fruit tree. The constraints are.

Limited space horizontally - about 4' span max. Vertical height is okay upto about 20'.

Would like a fruit tree that does not have a whole bunch of fruit go ripe all at the same time.

Fruit that is not likely to be attacked by birds.

I was considering blackberries but I'm not sure if birds are attracted to them.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, first off, you don't want anything growing 20 feet, as I'm pretty sure you won't want to be climbing up a ladder to pick fruit at 20 feet, lol!

Blackberries like to spread (this is a gross understatement, if not kept in check, you'll have a YARD full of blackberries), so if you select blackberries, you might want to consider keeping them very well contained. Also, I suggest choosing an upright and thornless variety such as Natchez (which I think is one of the best tasting thornless, upright varieties), Navajo or Arapaho. I grow my blackberries in very large pots full of compost, azalea camellia mix, and small bark chips, and toss in some soil sulfur, as they like it on the acidic side. I also put the pots on a concrete pavers to prevent the roots from spreading through the hole in the bottom of the pot. And birds love all berries, but that is easily avoided by using bird netting when the berries start to ripen. Plus, if you grow some of the more prolific berries, a few lost to birds will still give you plenty to eat.

Another nice option might be a Mandarin tree on semi-dwarf rootstock, which will stay neat and small, as mandarins tend to be the more compact of citrus trees. Plus, several varieties store very well on the tree, such as Gold Nugget, providing you with about 3 to 6 months of fruit. Page mandarin is also a great option, as it is very prolific and grows in a more upright habit.

Stone fruits are going to be an issue with birds and rodents,and tend to come ripe pretty much all at one. They can also be netted as well as pruned down to size. Be sure to pick something on semi-dwarf root stock to help keep the size down.

And, consider a pomegranate tree. You can prune them to a tree shape, or leave them as a bush. Several are more compact, such as Parfianka. They hold fruit well for a few months, and are very easy to grow. Plus, the birds will leave the fruit alone. You will need to make sure you keep ground squirrels and rats at bay, though.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vegetable Gardener: Growing Upright Blackberries

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 12:48AM
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blue_can

Thanks for the info Patty. I already have a Pomegranate and a Valencia Orange so I was thinking about something different - but you are correct - both those fruits keep and the hard skin makes it difficult for animals to get at. I suppose I could get a different Pom - the one I have is "Wonderful".

Don't Poms need a bigger span - like about 8 - 10 ft.

I saw a Blackberry plant at a local nursery today (Walter Anderson Nursery) and I thought the size constraints were within what I was looking for but I'm worried about the birds. I don't believe I have any rodents in my backyard but plenty of birds visit (including hummingbirds).

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 1:35AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, check about the blackberry variety to see if it's thornless. There are now so many great thornless varieties as well as suckerless varieties, it makes it really worth growing your own blackberries. Nothing like picking warm blackberries off the vine for breakfast! Anderson's most likely has at least one thornless variety. If you're anywhere near Vista, I would highly recommend going to the Vista Farmer's Market on Saturday morning (8 to 12). There's a really great grower than comes every week. He has several blackberry varieties that are at least 2 years old (which means fruit THIS season), as well as blueberries, raspberries, and other great plants. They are just a wonderful grower. I picked up my Chester blackberry there. Varieties can really vary in taste and production, as well as growing habit, so do a little research to see what sounds good to you. I have Chester and Prime Jim (growing as an experiment, not really so keen on the thorns, but nice to get fruit on the primo canes so don't need to worry as much about pruning). Lots to choose from!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 11:32AM
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blue_can

Okay thanks again for the info Patty. I may stop by the Vista Farmer's market as suggested. Where is it held - what's the exact location?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 5:11PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

It is held every Saturday morning from 8am to noon at the county courthouse parking lot off of S. Melrose, just south of the 78.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vista Farmer's Market

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 5:58PM
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blue_can

Thank you - I will stop by and see what they have. Actually they have a Farmer's Market within walking distance from me and I've never been - too lazy :). One of my neighbors said there was someone there selling worms and worm castings so there might be people with fruit trees there also. I need to check it out one of these days.

I'm in Scripps Ranch which is south of Vista.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 11:51PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

We're very lucky to have several really great farmer's market in our area for sure. And the folks that sell worm castings are there at the Vista Farmer's Market, too.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 12:42AM
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blue_can

The blackberries Andersen has is called Black Satin. I also stopped by HD and they had another variety. Already forgot the name but it had thorns.

HD also had pineapple plants. Not sure how they work out and I believe you get one pineapple every 2 years? I was wondering if I could grow one in a pot. Unfortunately I've only have one space left and I want a plant that gives a good yield.

Andersen's also had something called Boysenberries and in the picture they look like blackberries. Not sure if it is kind of blackberry.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 12:50AM
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kosherbaker(LA CA-10)

Personally I would love to be able to grow Mulberries, it's by far my favorite berry of them all, although I'm sure birds would love them too if not protected by the bird netting.

Loquat would be another favorite of mine, and that seems to fit your requirements pretty well.

Lastly maybe Quince? Not sure if it needs a companion though.

Rudy

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 1:12AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Black Satin blackberry is a great choice for our area, in fact, considering finding another large pot and place for one myself. Boysenberries are a cross between a raspberry, loganberry and a blackberry. It can be a bit more rampant, more like its raspberry heritage. And very thorny. But they are uniquely Californian and very delicious.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: LA Times: Bosenberry, a California Treasure

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 1:21AM
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blue_can

Thanks Rudy and Patty. Patty you seem to have links for everything :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 2:00AM
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