Do you keep any finicky / high maint fruit trees?

I try to get rid of them. I like low maintenance.

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Pretty much all apples are finicky and high maintenance. Cox is the worst, bug magnet, disease prone, produces every third year etc.

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I grow western trailing blackberries as they are awesome. But it’s really too cold for them here. So I have to protect them. I have not been able to give them up. I have a great crop this year it was a fairly warm winter here.

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I agree with you Zone6. I want low maintenance plants and trees.
I also agree with ribs1- apple trees are high maintenance as well as most fruit trees. That is if you want decent fruit to use. LOTS of spraying.

Define high maintenance? Just high on water usage or ones that can’t seem to live. If I wanted easy plants that are idiot proof all I would be growing would be strawberry, asparagus, herbs and annuals. It is what people like my uncle do and I can understand why he does it. For fruit trees that is a huge it depends. I have kept the plums, peaches that come back every year, the super hardy apricot, apples, pears, tart cherries. Some I have kept trying and trying again because they are not your every day plants like persimmon and pawpaw and I may finally be having those work. The things like sweet cherries have made their way out other than the 4 in 1 sweet cherry and the other sweet cherry that is barely living. The pears that are left are pears like magness, Warren and Sickle that are claimed to be more disease resistant. I can see why some just grow annuals and herbs though because they are quick to fruit and are then done or tend to just grow.

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My Chicago Hardy fig has to be protected over winter… to maximize crop.

Without protection most years it would die to the ground and have to come back from the roots. It has done that before and it gets started about a month later… and starts ripening fruit about a month later. We get 100 or more less figs.

It is worth it to me to do the winter protection.

Because of this… I only have 1 fig… and 2 would be my max.

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Avocados, Bananas and Cherimoya all need some extra protection and love here. At least while they’re young. Potted 10th leaf Meyers Lemon is such a finicky tree with water and light, Blueberries are a pita because I have to water with vinegar. I have them mulched pretty good so it’s not too bad but I wish I could just water like everything else.

Yeah on apples. High daily alert for fire blight is 500. Ours is 1300 today. But looking at the maps it is off scale all over the country.

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I was seduced by the pictures of huge berries and bought a single Columbia Giant plant a few years ago, I haven’t tasted the berries yet,but the plant is now huge. It stretches the entire width of this picture on the fence and I’m looking forward to berries this year.

Closer pic showing the berries:

I gave up on protecting figs 5+ years ago. I wasn’t doing it too well anyway(they died back anyway, vermin girdled them, etc) and it was too high maintenance for me.

In those ~5 years, this is the 2nd year where at least some of the figs came through with no damage. In the other years, the I often get a decent amount of figs in September and October, though it varies by how sunny/rainy the year was. Last year was too cloudy and the only fig which produced more than 1-2 fruit was Bryant Dark (which was very good).

The first time I got a big harvest in late July/Aug, as well as September, mostly from one bush. This time, there are at least 15 figs which almost entirely survived.

Here are a couple, both of which have some breba on them.


I would view anything that needs a lot of spraying being somewhat high maintenance (which I still do, such as plums and peaches). And something that needs spraying and netting (like sweet cherries) as being too high maintenance to bother with.

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When I was getting all 3 types of raspberries someone told me the primocane ones are the only ones to fruit in CO. I ignored their advice. 4 years later and I tore them out since there was no fruit for 3 years. Now I can’t get rid of the Tayberry and black raspberry though because every time I pull them they sprout 2 more canes. They never produce here but maybe if I move somewhere more warm the canes won’t keep dying. I certainly can’t seem to kill them that is for sure. For figs I have found the best way to overwinter them here in CO is just bring them inside and put them by the window. They will start to lose their leaves and their leaves will turn black inside but they will live. Come time to put them outside they will experience sun scorch but once outside again they will rapidly start growing again. I tried an unheated garage and it died to the roots here but luckily sprouted upwards.

I think the term means something different to everyone. I have 17 citrus and 2 avocados in ground that some of them I protect in varying degrees during the winter. Even this I do in a low maintenance way. I have Christmas lights on a smart outlet which cut on automatically whenever my location’s temperature hits x degrees. I only cover with frost cloth when it looks to be into the 20s at night and usually for consecutive nights. Also if I see for example Wednesday and Thursday night look to be frosty I’ll cover them on my weekend off and let them stay covered until I feel like removing the cloth.

This is very low maintenance to me, as it costs me a couple of hours a year? Also it’s in the time of year when I have nothing but time as work is super slow in the cooler months.

My stone fruit I do nothing with it other than prune it 2x a year (everyone here tells me I’m still in the honeymoon period and I’ll have to spray soon). Until that changes I have plenty of zero spray peaches to eat. Loquats I bag basically all the fruit due to bird damage. And blueberries I bag or cover from birds also.

I’d say the most maintenance I do is by far my watering. It’s been about 90* every day already for about a month so watering all my potted plants and supplementing some thirsty flowers/veg with spot watering daily is a chore, but one I enjoy. I won’t put the pots on my water timer because not all of it needs the same schedule, so if anything is high maintenance for me it’s my potted plants (which is ever growing).

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My citrus trees need winter protection.



4 layers thick

I grew peaches from 2001 to 2021… and the first 10 years we got some decent crops of no spray peaches. The next 5 years OFM showed up and we had many wormy peaches… getting increasingly worse as the years went on… the last 4 years… we had OFM and then Brown Rot started showing up… the last year I grew peaches… i got around 50 clean no spray peaches off my early elberta tree… the rest fell to OFM and BR… then my later ripening tree Reliance ? Every prach was ruined by OFM and BR. I tossed around 400 peaches that year…

Cut my peach trees (3 of them) down and removed the stumps.

Too much pest and disease pressure for a no sprayer.

Loved them while they lasted.

Apples seem to be heading that same direction here… even those that are proclaimed to be very fireblight resistent… get loads of fire blight here.

I may try one more variety before I completely give up on them.

I may also restrict apples that I do try to espellar… in my retirement years. No more pruning or thinning fruit from top of an 8 ft step ladder.

Would prefer to prune all from the ground or at most from a smaller 4 ft step.

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I grow stone fruit and have all the pest pressures people mention but it just takes a couple sprays a month to keep them pest free. I don’t consider that really that hard to do. No harder than watering.


Modern pesticides have a short half life and are not that dangerous. I take six man made drugs everyday of my life. I find this extremely ironic. I would not be here if not for man made chemicals. They have extended my life tremendously. I owe big pharma my life.
I refuse to demonize our chemical companies that have given me decades more of life on this earth. These people are saints.

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I understand your frustration with figs. I had a neighbor some years back that had two fig trees. She had them in a protected area up next to her house in a corners of her house and day room extension.
Every year they looked so promising to give her some figs and every year just as they were getting ready to be ripe we would get a fall frost, and no figs. This went on for 7 years. The figs trees were older than that but I was her neighbor for 7 years. She finally said " enough" and took them out. She never did get any figs she said.

I have mixed results in putting figs & persimmons in “protected” areas. I think some areas I think are protected are really only warmer when it is already warm. Like on the South side of a big wall. During the summer it can be baking, but if the wall doesn’t have any heat source then it doesn’t really help with the coldest times of the winter. Unlike being the wall of a house (particularly near a window or hvac exhaust (probably running a lot when it is cold…) which seems to help more.

But I have a spot (with a row of figs) which I had thought would help, yet they have performed pretty poorly. It is one of the first spots in the yard where the snow melts, but that is because it catches the sun. During the coldest night of the year it doesn’t help any…

Did she ever try “pinching” them? It is supposed to speed the ripening by stopping the vegetative growth.

I’m actually not frustrated with figs anymore. After I gave up on protecting them, they became very easy. Just not certain production in any given year :slight_smile: I only enjoy the best and sweetest ones, unlike my wife and youngest who seem to love all figs.

Now the fruit which really frustrates me is apricots. They produce a few really really good fruit. Then die. They have a shockingly high mortality rate for me. I’ve started putting them in other locations at the rentals to see if they will do better, but the jury is still out on it. Not too encouraging though, as one has already died there. But I think the death rate is a bit lower.

I tried the unheated garage theory everyone tries and claims to be so much warmer than the outside. It worked with Morris Nigra when it was 0 at the coldest that year. The last few years have gotten to -10 and -15 and they won’t survive in the garage. My fig roots lived so they did sprout again but I was starting again from ground zero or negative growth. I have just learned that it needs to be able to live outside if left outside or be able to be brought inside.

My issues with frost cloth is they blow away and they crush the plants with snow. Down there is NC you don’t have to worry about snow too much let alone so much wet snow it will snap a tree in half. Here when it comes to a wet snow branches of established trees fall down over weight. Last March we got a record snowfall and I got to go around with my pruning chainsaw cutting and bundling fallen branches. That snow snapped my persimmon in half and it is rebounding and I will have to retrain it due to the frost cloth breaking it. In regards to the work being slow that depends on your industry. When I worked construction I was sitting at home. For the retail and shipping industry they are swamped. It is not bad in my office because my Postmaster refuses to pay overtime for the full time employees but but first office I worked over 8 in a 4 hour office and my second office I worked 4:30 AM to 5:30 PM 6 days a week and combined my breaks so it was 6 PM when I used my time. I would make a quick dinner and eat then take a shower and go to sleep to repeat my grind.

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She never said anything about pinching them. She had them us against a SW facing brick wall. I would expect that helped to keep them warm. She just had the two fig trees and nothing else growing, fruit wise. She was more of just a flower person.
My mom loved apricots. She tried growing them at her house for years. Nothing. So out they came. This was when I was in grade school and HS. So I had no clue as to how to help her.

Even if you can help them I find it is often a you can lead a horse to water but can’t make them drink kind of situation with gardening. I will tell people do X and they will either change the subject or talk on about something else. They don’t fallow your advice more often then not and then they say it failed. Then when you tell them I told you to do X it is always I don’t remember you telling me or don’t be mean. Some of this is basic stuff like not planting before 5 or 6 in the afternoon and then water the plants in so they can acclimate like a fish. They will plant something at 11 in the morning and wonder why they are delayed. Or they will start a plant from seed after frost that needs to be started 10-12 weeks before first frost like tomatoes or peppers. Another example is they will start things like sunflowers or squash in pots beforehand and wonder why they failed. All these are things I have mentioned to people and they don’t listen and wonder why they fail.