Final 2023 Zone 6B Mini-Orchard Plan in MA

I finally have the final plan for the start of my 2023 mini-orchard. I am sure grafting will ensue in the coming years. For now we’ll start with this:

The next big project is to actually plant them. Irrigation drip system will go in place shortly after planting.
I will be accepting recommendations on how to properly and effectively spray the French Plum, apples and peaches, along with any helpful tips from experienced growers.


Looks like a gr8 plan, good luck and keep us posted! Randy/GA

1 Like

Adding this link for my own reference pertaining to fungicides:

@mamuang At your convenience, would you kindly be able to provide a best plan of attack in regards to a good spray schedule for the lineup above?

French plum will likely ripen for you in late August to mid-September.

1 Like

Apologies if I’m missing something but do you have just the Hosui for pears and the Winecrisp and Roxbury Russet for apples? If so, I might be a bit concerned about pollination. My understanding is that Hosui is not self-fertile and RR is a triploid so it will not pollinate the Winecrisp.

If you wanted another Asian pear, you might consider Korean Giant. I believe that it has done well for @mamuang, and it has also done well for me so far (both of us are also in MA).

For apples you would have lots of choices, but you might think of something that would ripen a little earlier, since you already have two late apples in Winecrisp and RR.

(And just to note that if you do need more pollen partners, you wouldn’t necessarily need to add more trees, just graft additional varieties to the ones you have. Though more trees are always fun too…)


@JinMA You make a great point. I was told Hosui was self-fertile (the reason why I purchased it). Then Trees of Antiquity changed their stance on it. Others still list it as self-fertile. I will eventually graft it with a Korean Giant or other similarly pollinating variety.

As far as the apples go, I have a few adjacent crabapples that should take care of pollination. This is where my inexperience shows. I might have mistakenly ordered the Roxbury Russet, incorrectly thinking it was another appropriate pollinator for the WineCrisp if the crabapple failed. Is there another suitable variety you would recommend as a pollinator to graft onto the other crabapple for the WineCrisp?

Thank you so much for pointing out what I should correct immediately! I appreciate your feedback.

I want to try mulberry but I don’t like tall trees so the only mulberry I plan to grow is Girardi.

@JinMA grows lot of apples. His suggestion will be a good one.

As for spraying, I am quite hapharzard. Are you an organic grower or not? My advice will depend on whether or not you mind spraying chemicals.


There does seem to be conflicting info out there about whether Hosui is self-fertile, and self-fertility in pears seems to be kind of a complicated subject generally. I think I’d be inclined to graft in a branch of KG just for insurance. (FWIW, our KG flowered for the first time this past year and bore a pretty good crop in spite of having only one other pear with a couple of blossoms nearby.)

If you have crabapples, you’re likely good with pollination there, but you might think about grafting on a somewhat earlier variety even so.

Hope you have a lot of fun with the new orchard!


@mamuang I will spray anything necessary to keep the tree healthy and thriving for decades to come, but nothing so toxic that presents a threat to someone’s health. Chemicals are ok. Effective and efficient works for me.

Unfortunately, while I grow quite a lot of apple trees considering the size of our yard, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to taste a lot of homegrown apples, partly because our trees are still pretty young, and partly because squirrels.

@Marco Take this with a giant grain of salt, because these reviews are based on a literal handful of fruit, but my favorites from our trees so far, in rough order.

Adams Pearmain: Rich, well-balanced flavor. Midseason for us, but triploid. Less vigorous, more precocious tree with pretty blossoms.
Hunt Russet: I really like this one. Sweet and tart with a bit of orange to the taste. (The citrus, not the color.) A bit later than AP as I recall. Stronger growing tree with pretty blossoms.
Kidd’s Orange Red: Milder than the two above but very pleasant, with more crunch and juice. (Calling AP and HR dry and hard would give the wrong impression, but they’re definitely not Honeycrisp.) About the same time as HR. Moderately vigorous, pretty blossoms.
Black Oxford: Similar to HR but a bit sharper, like tangerine as opposed to orange. (To be fair, this is really a storage apple and I ate mine straight off the tree because I only had the one. $#**$^%$# squirrels…) Slightly later. One of my most vigorous trees, pretty blossoms.
Mother: Has a reputation for being very variable and that’s been my (limited) experience. One very nice apple with a touch of vanilla and a curiously cooling effect in the mouth, and one that was pleasant enough but not a lot going on. Second to ripen after AP if I recall correctly. Moderately vigorous, pretty blossoms.
Hubbardston Nonesuch (I think - bit of a mixup with tags): Pleasant apple-that-tasted-like-an-apple. Midseason, moderate vigor.

I’ve had a couple others that were disappointing but I’m not going to name names because (a) some of them were picked way too early because the squirrels and/or birds were getting after them, (b) at least one may not be what it was supposed to be, and (c) it’s way to early to form a negative judgment.

Korean Giant has been very easy to grow so far. Precocious, prolific, and pleasant eating, though the fruit was very-not-giant (probably due to the drought last year), and not as crisp as Asian pears that I’ve bought in the past.

I haven’t sprayed yet. Issues so far have been aphids (mostly just an annoyance, controlled by squishing), pear blister mites (big problem on European pears but they seem to be growing out of them, KG seems less affected), Cedar Apple Rust (annoying but mostly cosmetic on the varieties I grow), and Marsonnina leaf blotch (this one has been my main problem so far - will cause early defoliation and may be the thing that prompts me to actually start spraying).

I haven’t seen much if any evidence of scab as yet (I did try to pick out less susceptible varieties).

Hope this is helpful (but again, do take it with a grain of salt - I’m just starting to learn myself).


I like Russet apples. Hoople’s Antique Gold, Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet have done well and tasted good here.

I really like Calville Blanc D’Hiver and Crunch A Bunch. The red flesh one I love is Pink Parfait.


I have only had Roxbury Russet that we bought from the store (came from Scott Farm Orchard originally), but it’s one of my two favorites that I’ve tasted so far. (The other is Orleans Reinette. Crimson Crisp and Crimson Topaz from a local orchard were both memorably good as well.)

Hoople’s was one of the ones that’s been disappointing for me so far but I’m optimistic that it will improve as the tree matures.

1 Like

All spray including organic can be harmful if not handled properly. I started with non- and low toxic spray for 5-6 years but it was a losing battle. We have high pest pressure and humid enough to have fungal and bacterial issues up the wazoo.

I have move to use of chemical spray. They are toxic to targeted pest, bees and human so I max protect myself.

No one single spray can do a job. It needs a combination of several spray for different targets.

Not only what to spray, when to spray is as important. If you use the right chemical but spray at the wrong time, it won’t work.

If you want low spray, stay with apples and pears.
If you want stone fruit, you need more complicated spraying plan.

Scott can do it organically but it is a lot of work, in my opinion. He has 100 of trees so it is worth it for him. I have about 10 stone fruit trees, I don’t want to invest my time and money acquiring all organic items needed.


I wish I could grow a variety that my family grew in central Italy for over 150 years, called Gelso della Regina, a Morus Nigra cultivar that was one of the most delectable things my taste buds have ever tasted. @Blake from Peaceful Heritage turned me to Varaha, which I trust are amazing. They appear to have some accentuated Morus Rubra qualities. Can’t wait to try them. Jan Dooley down in FL recommended and turned me to Oscar. Unfortunately I managed to kill all her cuttings and got some more cuttings from @SMC_zone6, which rooted like champs. I’m hoping to taste it this year. I also have a potted Kokuso, which I initially was planning to put in ground, but I was talked out of it by several folks. I’m still hoping to taste it this year as well.


@mamuang I just need to spray my plum, my 2 peaches, my 2 apples and maybe the Hosui. I can let the other trees go spray-free.

How old are your trees? Have they produced any fruit yet?

@mamuang Most of my trees are yet to arrive. The only trees I have in my possession right now are sleeping in 8 gallon pots in my garage, and they are: 2 Oscar Mulberries, 1 Kokuso, 4 Russian Mulberry Rootstocks awaiting Varaha scions, 2 JT-02 persimmons and about 30+ varieties of potted figs. I have doubles for insurance. The rest are expected to arrive within the next 2 months.

You have 2-3 years to plan for spraying. No spray needed this year.

In the meantime, read up the Spray Schedule for both Low Impact Spray (Scott) and Synthetic Spray (by Alan) in the Guide category.


One additional thought: once your trees are established, you may not need to water them much if at all. Even with the long dry spell we had last summer, my trees that have been in place a few years seemed to be fine without additional water. Something to consider perhaps before you invest in the drip system (but I’d ask others in our region with more experience than myself).

1 Like