Hi all, I’m closing on a .4 acre property in Holly Springs NC, zone 8a, on the 29th–our first house! I’ve already toured the place a few times and made a sun map based on some online tools, and due to the whole property being on a slightly South facing slope most areas get 6-9 hours of sun in the summer, even areas right up against the privacy screen of holly/etc. I have been lurking the forums for the past year, trying to decide what to do, but now the dreaming is going to become a reality soon, since I want to get planting the very first weekend I move in before plants start breaking dormancy. I should stress, I know nothing first hand, so am so happy to have read so much on these forums from experienced growers! I’m planning to get the following from a local nursery, Rabbit Ridge Farm, since I suspect I’ll get larger and higher quality plants in person and I like to support local business when possible:
- Apache (5 gal)
- Triple Crown (3 gal)
I’ve read both can suffer from orange rust (and people often refer to TC as too much trouble, though I couldn’t find why), but these are the sweetest varieties they carry and have in stock. I want berries as soon as possible, so I’d rather take a small chance on pretty good plants of large size, rather than get twigs shipped to me so I can get Ponca, which seems to be the fave around here. Unless I’m over-estimating how important pot size is in getting fruit quickly? I can try netting them with insect netting during fruiting to stop SWD (since I’ve read these aren’t early enough to avoid the SWD season here) and cut back on sun to avoid white druplet, which I’ve also read on these forums can be a problem with Apache. Good plan or no?
- Amity Red (2 gal)
- Fall Gold (2 gal)
- Ohio’s Treasure (2 gal)
Red, yellow, and black. For this area, they recommend pruning them back to the ground so you only get a fall crop on primocanes each year, so that’s the plan.
- Vernon (5 gal, rabbiteye) - early enough to avoid SWD
- Ochlockonee (3 gal, rabbiteye) - highly recommended on these forums
- Legacy (3 gal, SHB) - most recommended SHB on these forums
- Star (3 gal, SHB) - second most recommended SHB
I thought I’d try the SHB for flavor and size, decent being a bit more fickle in this area. Do I actually need Star or will Legacy cross pollinate with the rabbiteyes? Should I give up on SHB and go with a Brightwell and maybe another Vernon which I won’t have to net for SWD? How important is amending sulphur if I’m already planting into red clay/Piedmont?
- Green Ischia (3 gal)
- Violette de Bordeaux (3 gal)
Would love to get my hands on Smith as well, but maybe I’ll order it online elsewhere at a later date. Primary concern here is getting something delicious that will be trouble free in the humidity down here, which these seem to be from reviews. How big do these naturally small varieties get? Will they grow decently in a year or two? I’d like 5-6ft trees so they’re as big as I can easily maintain without a ladder.
- Mulberry, Dwarf Everbearing (5 gal)
The only variety they carry. I just wanted something to put in the back corner (away from anything that could be stained) that wouldn’t be much trouble, and my wife likes mulberries.
- Meyer Lemon (5 gal, dwarfing rootstock)
We always wanted one for our future sunroom, but the sunroom is Northwest facing on this house, so I was hoping to nestle this in a small South-facing corner (corner only extends a foot or two East, so not much of a corner, but partly obscured by a holly 20 feet to the South, when the sun is low during winter) against the house’s brick facade for radiant heat. Then I’ll cover it in frost cloth whenever the night temps go below 40. Worth a try?
Stuff I’ll have to order via online nurseries…
- Korean Giant, Asian
- Shinko, Asian
- Warren, Euro
I love Asian pears, and these are reportedly fireblight resistant. I thought I’d throw in Warren just for fun (supposed to be a disease resistant pear that isn’t grainy, which sounds like something I’d like), as conflicting reports say it’s either partially self-fruitful in some climates, or can be pollinated by Asian pears. Worth a try? I’m not seeing much of anything bare root left in stock, so guess they’ll be shipped in pots. How bad is that?
- Jujube, Honey Jar
- Persimmon, Saijo
- maybe a feijoa
- maybe a Jenny fuzzy kiwi
Just for some low maintenance stuff to help form a privacy screen by an iron fence on the Southern side of my backyard.
Any locals have recommendations on where/what to buy? Should I get a load of certified compost delivered from Area Mulch and Soils and a load of wood or leaf mulch, and store it with a tarp under and over it in my driveway? Or will it be way too much and I’m better off getting something sold by the bag at a nursery?
Should I really not amend the planting hole at all? Even if I make a gradient with 100% compost as a top dress, going down to 5% compost a foot or two down? I know I need to rough up the hole edges to prevent the clay soil from forming a barrier the roots can’t get through. And that I need to keep the root flare above the soil line, and plant in mounds for better drainage.
Anything else? Am I on the right track? Is my wife right to think I’m becoming overly obsessed with fruit trees and bushes? Weigh in on the controversy!
Thanks for reading and helping with my first big project as a homeowner! Next will be getting some raised beds set up…