Coastal Massachusetts 6b New England

Hi, I am new here. I would love to get meet a few zone 6b growers and especially any New Englanders on the coast. I appreciate any suggestions from people who know the climate. (Marblehead, Ma)

I planted 8 bareroot trees this past month. All are showing some life.

All the below trees are on dwarf stock like Citation and Gisel3.

Most are from Dave Wilson nursery or Raintree.

Black gold cherry

Prune D’ente plum
Bubblegum Plum
Late Santa Rosa plum

I have 2 espaliers as well planted from pots last year: Monrovia
Multi grafted Apple (Honeycrisp, Spartan,Fuji)
Multi grafted Pear (Bartlett,Red Clapper, Bosc)


These Dave Wilson multi bud ones are easier to show in pictures than describing: I know these are ambitious choices:


All are facing south west against walls or wooden fences very protected.

I have sprayed the apple and pear with dormant oil spray and anti fungal but have not sprayed newer Dave Wilson multi buds yet. I have a tiny yard and plan to keep trees as small as I can.

I would be happy just seeing all these flower. I am not expecting fruit for 2-5 years.

Thank you for your advice!



Hi Colleen,

Like you, I’m in the Bay State, but Western Mass (Pioneer Valley) and zone 5b. There are a number of other New Englanders here, some closer to your neighborhood, including (I think) @mamuang, @galinas, @HollyGates, and @Johnthecook.

It looks like you have a very pretty setup there. Also like you, I’m working with a pretty small yard, so trying to keep things small and using espalier to make the most of space and sun. (A set of Belgian fences in my case.) I’m predominantly growing apples and pears, plus one peach (Madison) and some Nanking cherries (flowering for real for the first time this year). I plan to add some more berries eventually, but probably won’t do much with stone fruit.

Still very much in the early stages myself, so I can’t offer too much in the way of advice, but do wish you good luck and enjoyment in your endeavors.

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Hi Colleen, most of the things you have will be fine but a few of them I would cut out and save the trouble.

Here are the troublemakers:

Rainer cherry: cracking problems.
Bosc pear: well this one may not be so bad but it is relatively more difficult. Maybe someone with more experience with Bosc can comment.
Bing cherry: cracks badly.
Van: I think Van also cracks badly.
Flavor Supreme: very difficult to get fruit set on.

Flavor King is very rot-prone but if you are spraying synthetic rot preventatives you should still be able to grow it.

For the multi-budded trees, you may be able to just cut off some of the grafts. It is hard to grow four things on one tree anyway, they will get in the way of each other.

All the other fruits should be fine for your zone 6b, at least from what I know.

You don’t need to worry too much about your trees until they start fruiting, but then you will need to have a diligent spray program in place.


I have a couple Multi-budded trees and they are trouble. One variety will constantly try to take over. Those are still small. I would recommend turning them into espaliers. The varieties growth will be more easily controlled and they will be much easier to spray. There are other forms of espalier that may work better than the traditional though.

Hi Colleen, nice to meet you here. I am in Somerville, so pretty similar climate to you though about 5km in from the ocean so not as strong an effect from it. You certainly went all in with all those trees!

I also have a small yard and try to make the most of it with espaliers and careful planning. So far I have done mostly apples and berries, but I’m planting some stone fruit and pear trees this year. From what I understand, stone fruit is much more difficult than apples here. My stone fruit experience so far is two apricots that died suddenly in their second year and nanking cherry bushes that have made one or two cherries in 6 years.

Yeah! Someone in Boston area! I read this book about tiny fruit trees and I became obsessed! I have raspberries (bushel and berries) and strawberries (Charlotte, Ft Laramie, Quinault )and blueberries (Chandler, Elliot, Jellybean, top hat and a few others). Every inch of my postage stamp size yard is growing something.

I would love to hear more of your successes!


My yard is somewhat bigger and less amazing than yours. But I have the same philosophy about trying to pack it in. Grapes have actually done very well for me here, though I expect I’ll have to start spraying them at some point. We had a phenomenal year of strawberries the year after we planted the first round, but much less impressive every other year. Goumi and autumn olive been great for me, currants and gooseberries pretty good as well. Blackberries and raspberries reasonable if not awesome. Atilla alpine strawberry spreads almost too well and makes a good ground cover and a constant if low volume stream of little treats.

For semi-perennials, I have had good luck with an assortment of perennial leeks, egyptian onions, perpetual sorrel, sylvetta arugula, and chives.

Other things I’m still waiting for some production from are chinquapins, hazelnuts, aronia, honeyberry, dwarf blueberries, nanking cherry, Juliet cherry, cornelian cherry.

Apricot (going to try grafting to peach eventually)
dwarf blackberry (poor flavor)
asian pear (replanting this spring)
skirret (weedy, not much harvest)

Like everyone I have my successes and failures with annuals and flowers as well, though I suspect more failures than many others on this forum!

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I’m in Michigan zone 6a/5b. I have as many as 9 cultivars on one tree a couple are just for holds for now. All my trees, well not all most of my trees have at least 4 cultivars and I’m happy with them.

I have one bought multi-graft tree and agree with Scott. Flavor Supreme only produced 3 fruits in 7 years. Now the others did well. Flavor Queen is a very low producer but I love the fruit.
Dapple Dandy and Flavor King fruits

Indian Free peach and Yukon Gold potatoes. I’m growing Adirondack Red and All Blue Potatoes this year.

My yard Look at my profile to see what I grow.


One of my plums is not leafing out. I think it is the Santa Anna. Which plums work for our area?
When it came to me ( Barr root) it had already leafed out and had flowers. I pruned them off.
I think it is a goner.

Typo: it was a bare root from Raintree “Prune D’ente plum” or “Late Santa Rosa plum”
Have to check my notes.

Hi Colleen, I just planted plums for the first time this year so I am not a great person to ask!

I know @mamuang has some grafted plums at least though she isn’t quite as close to you in climate as I am. My understanding is that plums are tough here, but not because tree death like apricots, rather from disease and pests.

I planted Black Ice and Purple Heart bare root from Fedco. The Black Ice already had some little flowers on it when I planted it, which I cut off. Both have leafed out and are growing fine so far.

I also planted some K1 rootstocks I ordered from Raintree, looking towards grafting apricot at some point. Two of them seem to have died, while two have put out some leaves.

Your tree is not looking too good there in the pictures. Does it show any green when you scratch the bark with your thumbnail? I also planted a Red Haven peach from Fedco this year which took a long time to leaf out and then only did so down just above the graft. But the upper part still showed green with a scratch test and eventually sent out a shoot about a month after the bottom shoots came out. So if your wood shows green when you scratch it maybe there is still some hope.

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Need pruning advice 6b coastal Ma.

I pruned everything June 21. Goal is to keep trees manageable at 3-4’ high. I also followed advice of Dave Wilson Tree videos , keeping center free.

Now, I have all this new growth that does not appear to have any clusters where fruit would grow next year. I want to remove new growth. What is the timing of this? Should I wait till fall?

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Any pruning pros out there? Should I take these pear and apples down again? Timing?


Hi @Colleen7. I’m in Watertown, MA. I have a few cherry espaliers, and I constantly pinch back new growth throughout the season to create the form I’m going for. Pruning can get a bit dicy at this time of year though. Because sometimes, like for younger and more vigorous trees, pinching now can spur a new flush of growth that won’t have time to harden off by first frost. So I’d suggest waiting until winter to do any more pruning at this point.


Oh, I like that recommendation! Although, I am dying to give it a hair cut!

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I’m in Somerville, MA. Like Steven, I try to stay on top of growth by pinching throughout the season but sometimes things get away from me. I have summer pruned into September without significant winter kill. I guess I would probably cut back now but you could also wait until winter. I’m not an expert so take my advice with a grain of salt.


First of all, your garden/orchard/berry patch is lovely. You’ve worked really hard to keep it neat and tidy. I try but don’t succeed often. You’ve done a great job. Just remember trees grow really tall quickly. Pruning or espaliers will become your best friends.

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I used to live in RI for a little over 20 years, but had a house in Maine most of my life. I have since moved to the south of France our summer is far longer with less humidity. But hot is hot. I only grew Montmorency cherries, because I love cooking with fruit.

I can sympathize with your humidity. Your espaliered tree is lovely. An apple? I too have only one. But now my at one point 40 trees, down to 23 when I left the states is now down to 7 very large pots of fruit trees plus currants and strawberries. All of it is wonderful. I am watching my fruit trees finally bloom after a year! Your garden is so pretty. And I bet the fragrances are incredible!


The South of France sounds really nice right about now. In Marblehead today we have gust of 60 mph and the actual temp was 12 when I woke up! The long summers and less humidity would be glorious. I have read every book I can find about Villa Americana and the 1920’s expatriate writers and artist.

I do have a tiny yard. I grew up on 55 acres in Upstate New York and took all the fruit trees there for granted. Now, it is strictly espaliers and tiny, tiny fruit trees, blueberries, strawberries and non productive raspberries.

All the best to you. Colleen

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Update photograph (after one year of being in the ground: