advice on fruit and nut trees in Provo

northslopeOctober 23, 2011

Hello. I'm planting a 1/3 acre in Provo with some fruit and nut trees. I'm new at this, and would like some feedback. I'm interested in some unusual trees (I have a particular fascination with growing pawpaws--I've decided on some Peterson pawpaws if I can get them). Here are some choices:

Ambassador Walnut

All-in-one Almond

Colossal Chestnut

Nevada Chestnut

Casina Filbert

Duchilly Filbert

Nikita's Gift Persimmon

Illinois Everbearing Mulberry

Allegheny Pawpaw

Shenandoah Pawpaw

Moorpark Apricot

-one more fruit tree

I already have an Asian pear, Santa Rosa Plum, Shiro Plum, and a Montmorency Cherry.

Any comments or advice would be appreciated.


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Unusual trees? How about Nectaplums? Pluots? I planted those a couple years ago. Looking forward to the first harvest next year (well, almost first. Some of the fruit slipped by me last year so I was forced to harvest what was missed.. Some tasty Green Gauge plums...)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 6:28PM
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brotherjake(5A UT)

I looked into pawpaws as well. Turns out they hate heavy soil and we may not have the pollinators that they have out east. I decided against them.
I have a nectaplum as well as pluots. The flavor king had incredible flavor. I also have a flavor grenade, but our growing season is too short to ripen it sufficiently. Same problem with the Emerald Beaut plum. So much for trusting local nurseries. My nectaplum was still young so I didn't let it fruit. This year I will let it ripen a few. It is a beautiful tree. I would put it in the front yard if my wife would let me. Dave Wilson nursery has a peacotum and a pluerry as well. The flavor ratings on the pluerry are supposed to be very high. Looking forward to that one on a more dwarfing rootstock.
Nut trees, with the exception of hazelnuts/filberts and some almonds, are huge. You can eat up a bunch of space with only a few of them. I tried a black walnut for the first time this year and the flavor was awesome. Like a fruit and nut combination. A headache to get out of the shell though.
Have you thought about fruit other than tree fruit? Red currants and gooseberries make incredible jam. Japanese honeyberries are great blueberry replacements for our area. Good selection of them at One Green World. Blackberries and raspberries do fine as well. I am experimenting with elderberries. Very high in health-promoting compounds. If you've got land, have fun with it.

Happy planting!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 5:04AM
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REGARDING PAWPAWS: I don't know if anyone is still following this thread, but I have grown several varieties of pawpaws for over ten years in the California central valley. Although the climate there is much milder, I understand the soil and water conditions are quite similar to Utah Valley (including very heavy, alkaline soil), and I can offer my experience with this interesting fruit. For whatever it's worth, here are a few things I've learned:

1. Pawpaws require patience. Typical growth is a few inches the first year, a couple feet the second, and several feet the third, after which fruiting may begin. Before being established the trees look puny, and require protection.

2. They grow well in the shade. Those I have planted in the sun are broader but more scraggly; those in the shade of larger trees are more vigorous and more columnar in shape. I think they fruit better as well. A variety called "Prolific" was my fastest grower and earliest and heaviest bearer, and it has spent most of its life in fairly dense shade.

3. The ripe fruit are the size and shape of a good-sized potato, with a green or yellowish skin, usually with dark blemishes which look like bruises but are not. They will often grow in a cluster of up to four fruit. The flesh is custard-like, ranges from white to yellow, and there is a row of large flat seeds down the center. For most people, pawpaws are an acquired taste. Those who expect a taste like a cherimoya (to which they are related) will be disappointed--the texture is similar but smoother, and the taste is much sweeter and stronger, and very different. They have been compared to bananas, but the only similarity is strong sweetness and a powerful, distinct flavor, which is not at all like that of a banana. Comparisons with custard are probably most accurate, as the texture and sweetness are very custard-like. Some fruit tend toward the bitter, especially near the skin, and that is the limiting factor for some people. I have observed that white-fleshed pawpaws tend to have a milder flavor and sweetness whereas yellow-fleshed ones are stronger and more intense, but there is quite a bit of variation, even from the same tree. All this being said, it is hard to beat a perfectly ripe pawpaw for flavor and texture, and even skeptics in my family have to admit that under those conditions they are delicious (though they usually only want a taste).

4. You get a better crop if you hand-pollinate with a small paint brush in the Spring, but in years when I lacked the ambition they still bore fruit--though this is with multiple varieties planted in the same yard.

5. Getting the correct ripeness is a bit tricky. The skin should have a "give" but not be too soft. I have found that the best way to have good ripe fruit is to check under the tree daily. Fruit that have just fallen from the tree are generally nice and ripe. Miss one and it will be over-ripe (or nibbled by vermin) by the next day. They will save a few days refrigerated, but once you cut one open it will go bitter quickly if not eaten. I have not tried cooking with them. Freezing them did not work for me--they went bitter and had to be thrown out.

6. The tree is small and reasonably attractive with large tropical-looking leaves which when crushed have an odor like burning tires (only appreciable when crushed right under the nose--the trees do not emit a smell). It is fully deciduous. Flowers, which come out on bare stems in the Spring, are quite unique. Since the tree is fairly narrow, it does not occupy much space. I tend to crowd my trees, and the pawpaws have done fine under those conditions.

7. Pawpaws will sucker from the roots if they are disturbed (maybe even sometimes when they are not), potentially producing a cluster of small trees, a "pawpaw patch". These suckers are from the root stock, not the graft, and if they fruit it will likely be inferior fruit, unless you planted a seedling rather than a named variety. Suckers can come up quite a distance from a mature tree--as far as 10 feet. They are easily removed, but will continue to come up occasionally.

I hope this information might be helpful to somebody.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 2:06AM
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I would like to know if anybody that is local has had success with unusual fruits? I live in Payson and I have a pawpaw seedling that will be going into its 3rd season. It is about 20" tall and grew 6" inches each season. I also planted a NC-1 that died at the graft and will replace it with a Wabash. At this rate it will take forever before the tree makes any fruit, but it is at least growing.

I tried pawpaws from integration acres for the first time this past fall and loved them. They are very strong tasting so I can see how some people wouldn't like them. I saved some of the seeds and they are germinating right now so if anybody is interested I could give them a few seedlings.

I have tried growing honey berries but they have done poorly as they seem to die back every summer, just too hot for them.

I have had bad luck with hardy kiwis as well. My 2 jumbo argutas and a male arguta are limping along and have a hard time with our heat. Also it seems like the males are weaker as this is my second one and it is doing worse than the females.
On the other hand my 4 in 1 grafted pluot and artic jay nectorine I bought from sunriver nursery last year are growing like weeds!

I have a hardy Chicago fig and Salatvaski pom that made it through the winter with a about 50% die back. The pom is small and hasn't fruited yet but the fig made a few fruits last summer that were pretty good.

Last summer I planted a siajo persimmon that died over the winter. It was grafted on virginiana and it grew like a crazy in our climate. I am going to replace it with a nikitas gift and see how well that does. It seems persimmons like the heat and soil here, its getting them threw the winter that can be hard so I would plant a hybrid or American variety.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:13PM
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