Successful fruit & fruit trees?

chas045(7b)May 25, 2012

My local Ag Agent here in the piedmont's treatus on growing fruit here can be shortened to "You can grow any fruit you want as long as its blueberries"

So: what are you all successful with? Trianglejohn; I see that you have all sorts of fruit being protected by your new fence. Whats up in there? Everyone else?

I have had a respectable quantity of small peaches a couple of years. My neighbor has a Santa Rosa plum that he says produces but mine didn't set fruit. I have two pears that are going gang busters so far. I am trying to grow strawberries and raspberries without too much success. And unfortunately I have not had much success with Blueberries either!

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I have a long list of things I grow but a short list of things that are reliable fruit-ers here and most of my plants are just now reaching fruiting age. My current garden is only two years old, some of the bushes and trees came with me from my old garden.

Fruiting with no problem so far: Apples, Peaches, Pears, Nectarines, Apricots (few), Muscadines, Table grapes, Hardy Kiwi, Blueberries, Raspberries (Red, Gold, Black), Blackberry, Elderberry, Jujube, Goumi, Figs, Cranberry, Highbush Cranberry, Pomegranites and Bush Cherries.

Fruiting but with some problems: Olives, Wineberry

Growing fine but no fruit yet: Fuzzy Kiwi, Cornelian Cherry, Aronia, Sea Buckthorn, Goji, Pineapple Guava, Azarole, Pawpaw, Cherries, Mulberry, Che, Princepia, Wild Plum and these three freaky hybrid fruits - Shippova, Sorbus/aronia, Sorbus/haw.

I also grow a lot of tropical fruits that I protect in the winter.

Not doing well at all: Quince

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 9:36PM
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I forgot Honeyberries - got a decent crop this spring. Don't know why they call them honey-anything, they are sour but good with sugar and mixed with other berries.

I also left off strawberries.

There is a never ending list of things you can grow here but crop yields may not be as high as they are elsewhere and the flavor may not be all that great and somethings are going to need protection - from summer heat or winter cold or common NC pests.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 10:51AM
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My blackberries are only one year old but we are getting berries from them. We have one Natchez and one Navajo.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 12:20PM
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Blueberries and blackberries are easy as can be and produce like crazy in my garden with not much care. I have a hardy kiwi that has yet to fruit (in its second year), but is growing very well and is the self-fertile 'Issai", so I'm hopeful. No luck yet for me with sour cherry or apples--squirrels eat them before they ripen (stupid tree rats!!). Strawberries are easy as well in my veggie garden before I go crazy with tomatoes and zucchini. My pomegranate is growing well with tons of blooms this year, but not fruit set...I probably need another one for better cross-pollination. And I've had success with citrus in pots as well. Carolina is great for fruits!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 9:45PM
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I don't know if it was the lack of winter or the early Spring but my 'Williams Pride' apples are already ripe enough to eat (not peak flavor, but still nice). So far the squirrels haven't found them but I am ready with wire or traps to keep them out. I keep most of my trees pruned to bush size so that I can throw netting over them to protect the fruit.

Every yard is different but there is an amazing amount of stuff you can grow here. Another thing I've noticed is that flavors that may have not been your favorite in the beginning can move up the list after you've grown them for a few years. I wasn't a huge guava fan but now that I have a few trees (in pots) none of them ever make it as far as the kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 8:09AM
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quirkpod(7 Lewisville NC)

Blackberries produced for 3 months but sent up suckers several feet from the bush (into the neighbors yard), so I removed the entire bush. I will order the thornless non-suckering variety soon. Strawberries are now in large pots on the patio where I can keep them away from pests like chipmunks, slugs and free range hens. Going with the everbearing from now on since one huge harvest is too much for one person to eat.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 7:21AM
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Persimmons, paw paws, apples, blackberries and mulberries all grow well in NC. All of these can be found easily in public areas if you keep an eye out and know what time of year to look. Its nice to have your own trees but in the years your waiting for you first crop, you can always find fruit that otherwise would have rotted on the tree or ground.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 11:49AM
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docshiva(z7b Indian Trail NC)

Trianglejohn, Thanks for your fruit listing! Can you share what varieties of apricots, bush cherries, and table grapes you're finding successful?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:14AM
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My apricots are Royal Blenheim (I may have spelled that wrong, I'm going from memory) and Patterson. I bought them at Home Depot as tiny baby grafted trees. They grew very fast and seem totally happy in NC. I have seen other varieties for sale at Southern States (a farm store) and I don't think they would carry it if it didn't grow well here. Even if you live in a better climate, apricots are one of those fruits that you aren't going to get a good crop from every year. When I grew them in Oklahoma I only got a crop every 4-5 years but it was such a big crop that I never ran out of frozen or dried apricots.

I have the series of bush cherries - Jan, Joel and Joy. The tags are lost so I don't know which bush is which. They do fine here but they do suffer with some form of foliar virus or bacteria, sometimes it affects their fruit. Only once in the many years that I have grown this species has it ever tasted like a cherry, most of the time it tastes like a wild plum. These bushes are so cute when in bloom or when covered in fruit that they are worth growing for that alone - no matter what the fruit tastes like.

The best table grape for me has been Fredonia - a variety of Concord that does better in the deep south. I bought it at Sam's Club of all places. I prefer red seedless grapes and have Mars and Suffolk, both do fine for me but are not as productive as Fredonia. I have Himrod and Candice also but they haven't fruited yet. The best way to get a bumper crop of grapes is to severely prune the vines in the winter. Cut them way back and keep them short. If you want to cover a lot of trellis just plant more vines, but keep them short if you want a lot of grapes.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

Blueberries, muscadine grapes, figs and strawberries are the easiest fruits that I grow, but I would never harvest a single one if not for netting. And the squirrels even chew holes in the netting! I also have a Fuju Asian persimmon and several Pineapple Guava that should start bearing next spring.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:11AM
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Triangle John listed pomegranate - what variety pom? It seems many are for zones 8-10 or at least 7b, but at 7a (north side of Greensboro) I wonder if I need a hardier Russian type?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 7:26PM
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I have a variety that is just called 'Russian' that I got from Edible Landscaping in Afton VA (an easy drive from Raleigh). It has only had a few fruits which were small and kinda sour. I have an ornamental variety called 'State Fair' which blooms and fruits in every month except during winter, but the fruits are very sour and the seeds are hard. It is so happy here that its seeds sprout and I have babies all around it. It is a very short bush like plant, sold as a flowerbed tree and not as an edible. I have a variety sold as 'Compacta' that I got at one of the PAX Sales at NCState. It has lots of medium sized fruits which are a bit on the sour side but easy to juice and pretty prolific. I have one 'Wonderful' and one 'Angel Red' which are both growing nicely but neither has bloomed or fruited. If this winter ends up being mild (again) I believe they both will perform this next summer.

I'm in South Raleigh - zone 7b, in an agricultural setting (not a normal neighborhood) with decent soil and full blazing hot sun.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 9:49AM
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My 3 year old Pom produced several fruit last year - 2012:). Two of the fruit are larger than any store bought proms and are very sweet. I took a picture of my Pom sitting side by side to a store bought one. Wish I know how to post pictures.
I live south of Raleigh. Bought the plant from a gentleman at the farmers market. He sells fruit trees there for a few years. I would love to find out the variety from him.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 1:29PM
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The only two large fruited varieties I've seen for sale out at the Farmers Market in Raleigh have been 'Wonderful' and 'Angel Red' with 'Wonderful' being the most common.

If you go to State Fair in October be sure to visit the Horticulture building where they display the giant pumpkins and watermelons. You will see all sorts of oddball fruits and veggies that people grow here including some magnificent pomegranites.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 4:29PM
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Has anyone had success growing lemons or limes in the Triad area?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 8:43PM
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I do have a Key Lime tree in a large clay pot - it comes inside around Thanksgiving and back out in late March. It is a lime that will grow true from seed (not all citrus does). DO NOT try this in potting soil - you need a fairly sandy mix. I'm orig from south FL and love these limes (golf ball size & yellow) that are never decent quality in the stores. It blooms and fruits once or twice a year.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 8:55PM
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lorabell NC(8)


A friend of mine from work who knows I'm a crazy gardener/canner asked me if I wanted a few Lemons from her tree before Christmas. Sure, I said. The next day she brought in about 40 pounds of lemons she picked from the lower branches of her tree. Didn't think lemons where possible but she has had the tree for over 20 years, the lemons are the size of oranges and I'm still finding ways to use all of them! So yes, possible.

I've saved and dryed the seeds of a few and hope to have some baby trees soon. They should already be adjusted to this area like the mamma.
I'm in Fayetteville.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 8:54AM
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I grow mostly apples in the central piedmont (Durham County). But I'm experimenting with other fruits and I can tell you a few of my experiences after 5 years of fruit growing.
Start your orchard before you have kids! I'm so glad I did because I can hardly find the time to maintain it. I can tell you that apples take a lot of work, if you want quality fruit. At least that's been my experience. I have to spray for everything; cedar apple rust, brown spot, plum curculio has been a devastating insect as well as apple fly maggot. But I've managed to harvest some decent apples recently. I really love Grime's Golden (antique) and Liberty (modern).
If you want a care-free fruit, nice tree structure, a bountiful harvest every fall of beautiful blemish-free fruit, the Fuyu persimmon takes the cake. This fruit requires no spray here at my place.
Figs are another fruit I'm trying that are showing a lot of promise. I want to start blueberries but just haven't found the time yet.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:10PM
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The last couple of summers have had long stretches of very hot and very dry weather (hopefully this will not become the new normal), this has been very hard on my trees and bushes. My row of blueberries suffered the most. It got so bad two summers ago that I had to dig up the remaining plants and keep them in pots until the soil moisture built up with a couple of good rains. After replanting the row the only way I can keep them happy has been to install a drip line irrigation system. Even though there are wild blueberries in the woods beside the garden, my soil somehow is not perfect for them. I have to baby the soil and water the bushes and basically devote myself to that one row most of the summer. Other places I have lived they were not so much work.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:16AM
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Lorabell, your friend's lemon tree sounds like a miracle in North Carolina. I have yet to hear of anyone with a lemon tree like that.

Is it growing in full sun?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:26AM
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I've harvested enough fruit already to have good continuing hope in the following crops (all without any sprays): Asian pears, regular European pears, thorny domesticated (large, sweet) blackberries, raspberries, muscadines, concord type grapes, jujubes, mulberries, native persimmons (growing wild and some selected, grafted trees just starting to fruit), rabbiteye type blueberries, figs, sour cherries... what else am I forgetting? Of course, I'm just talking trees/vines/bushes/brambles, so there are also the garden crops.
I've also had fruit from other people in the area, likewise grown without any sprays, including: fuzzy kiwis, hardy kiwis, apples (although my own experience with apples isn't at all promising so far), pawpaws, and I know people that have had good crops of pomegranates (at least as far west as Winston), Asian persimmons, and hardy citrus (like citrangequats).

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 7:51AM
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docshiva(z7b Indian Trail NC)

Cousinfloyd - sour cherries? Cool! The advice I've had so far is to forget about trees and try bush cherries - Nankings too, maybe?
It's always so helpful to list varieties when you all know them. Especially, maybe, sour cherries - they vary so much. Which one(s) are you growing?
Thanks for the list! I'm always very interested in people's experience with citrus. I'm thinking of trying the hardiest Satsumas. I also wonder about that large lemon - the size sounds like Ponderosa or Ichang. There's a reputedly cold-hard strain of Ponderosa. Ichang is hardy to the low twenties, and is huge.
I'm posting Stan McKenzie's citrus site - he's in South Carolina and specializes in hardy citrus.

Here is a link that might be useful: McKenzie Farms

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:50AM
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I got my three hardy citrus trees (not counting my pure trifoliate) from McKenzie. This is my owari satsuma's first winter in the ground, and it's done fine. We haven't had any really low lows, though. I think the coldest I've seen this winter is about 16, but I saw 3 just two or three years ago. I've got a couple water buckets next to the satsuma to buffer freezing temperatures, and I throw a blanket over if I think it might get below 25 (although supposedly it's hardy down into the teens, but I want to baby it a little more while it's still young.) I've got it near some masonry on the south side of the house, so it's a warm, sheltered micro-climate, too. On the citrus forum (not gardenweb) there are people growing hardy citrus as far north as Massachusetts and Maine with a little more winter protection, so I'm hopeful that I can grow one good citrus tree without too much trouble.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:19PM
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