Has it been a good fruit year?


Here is the sum total of my Euro pears after the squirrels ate the 150-200 they decided was their share. Bagging didn’t slow them down, but they couldn’t figure out how to get at these two.

Last year they ate all my Asian pears but left the Euro pears alone. This year they ate the Euro’s but I actually got to eat a couple of Asian pears that for some reason they left. They also left me 3 peaches, maybe because they heard me say I was going to remove the tree since I never got any fruit. I keep feeling it is like playing the slots in Vegas - they let you win a little now and again so you’ll keep playing.

The deer were merciless on my fruit trees and any veggies I planted in my yard (except kale, which they left for the whiteflies and harlequin bugs), but I got some nice cabbages, tomatoes, and other stuff from my community garden plot, despite a lot of theft there as well. I had expected it due to the economic hardships, so mostly just sighed and kept weeding.

My potted figs were mostly ruined by splitting from the rain, birds and squirrels and lots of bugs. This is the first time I’ve had so many yellow jackets attack my fruit, which I hope is just a one year change and not a new normal.

But I connected with some very nice local gardeners and folks online, including here of course, harvested a fair amount of veggies (some weeks enough to donate the excess to the food bank), a few delicious pieces of fruit, and watched some things grow and flourish, including a bunch of new persimmons I grafted with the help of many generous members who send me scion wood. Who could complain?


Was a bad year here, combination of a few late spring rains and one hard, late frost doomed most of the fruit. The small plum trees I inherited with the house did all right, as did the poorly trained-Newton Pippin that hugs the house. But my apricots and the inherited ones all bore very poorly (probably 10-50% of expected yield). Of my new trees, only one perry pear tree made one fruit. On top of all that I didn’t get any mulberries this year :frowning:

Next year!


Great thread…got me reviewing my notes. But I do feel bad that most of you had a lousy year.

Bumper crop of pokeweed!

Cherries: overwhelming amount

Tomatoes: rather poor year, they were really sick, which is unusual in my area

Zucchini: overwhelming amount, almost no powdery mildew

Raspberries: Caroline and Heritage very productive and tasty

Peach/Nectarine: mostly overwhelming amount, and excellent quality. Had two varieties that made no fruit, and others that needed multiple rounds of thinning, and others that had trouble fully ripening. The early and late varieties did best.

Plums: overwhelming amount on some varieties, requiring a lot of thinning, but had bad aphid curl on most; again some had trouble ripening up properly. As always, Burgundy and Santa Rosa were insanely productive and wonderful.

Persimmons: variable. Some bore little due to alternate bearing, others doing great; my Chocolate bore nothing.

Goji berries: insane amounts, and not too bitter this year. Neighbor swears they cured her arthritis in her finger.

Figs: mostly great. Earlier they were ripening nicely, but then they had trouble, now barely ripening. Squirrels running off with whole fruit.

Citrus: great year, lots of fruit and growth.

Melons: watermelon did well despite being in a shadier location; muskmelons did great and I finally found a variety that will actually sweeten up for me.

Eggplant: bumper crops! Best ever.

Pineapple guava: pollination problems again. Just planted some seedlings to pollinate in future years.


I knew fruit growing was hard, but holy cow is this thread an eye opener! Here we have some of the most devoted, knowledgeable fruit growers that there are, and yet almost every single entry talks about having one kind of failure or another with at least part of their fruits. That really says a lot about how difficult this hobby is. Its also kind of neat how we just accept these hardships and move on. As @Courtney put it so well - “On to 2021”! I don’t know about the rest of you, but I also love how seasonal fruit growing is. Just about the time I get burned out and completely sick of spraying, our trees go to sleep and give us several months off. (there is work in winter but its different and not as hard). By the time spring rolls around I have my passion back and can’t wait to get started. So for me, this is the perfect hobby in spite of all the difficulties listed above.


Despite the all but total bust on fruits, the garden - first we’ve really planted in nearly 30 years - was pretty productive; timely rains all summer long probably helped.
Beans, field peas(blackeye & brown crowder) were productive, summer squashes kept us and all the neighbors supplied despite squash bug/wilt, and the butternut/buttercup squash were quite productive, despite the wife and daughter picking 25 large immature butternuts while I was out of town, thinking they were oversized zucchini. Have never had as much success with growing watermelons as I did this year, but the honeydew melons were a huge disappointment… just not very tasty. Okra just now really hitting its stride…
Peppers and tomatoes have been good, but I’ll have to pick a more productive bell pepper variety next year… CA Wonder just didn’t pack 'em on like others I’ve grown in the past… 2 or 3 peppers and quit.


Puget Sound lowlands had a very cold spring.
Summer got off to a late start. Lasted until about September 15. Now, the cloudy weather has arrived.
Although we had good fruit set
The quality is not good.


Is it true that G5 cell towers will repel squirrels?


So true, @thecityman - it is a great way to get in touch with the cyclical nature of life. I too look forward to the winter break and honestly need it to get re-energized :slight_smile:


My vegetable garden did well except for a lot of seeds that never germinated. I have wonderful watermelons for only the second time in my life, including a thirty pounder. Not much for berries of most kinds this year and once again a disappointing total crop failure of Carmine jewel cherries due to worms and rot, but the apples and pears did fairly well, a taste here and there of plums, which is fairly normal. Other miscellaneous stuff I am experimenting with continues to languish, but maybe some year it will pan out. Kiwi blossoms froze this spring. Had a crop of nice Nelson blackberries for the first time. My grafts didn’t pan out well this spring. I’ll probably still keep playing around with more next year, though, as it can be habit-forming. I sure do love having fresh pears, though.


First of all, I feel bad for those who have a bad year. I can empathize asI have been in that situation more than once.

This year has been a very good year for me after a shaky start of late freeze in May. That killed off most apricots and several cold-sensitive plums and peaches.

Cherries - Affected by late freeze. Set far fewer fruit than normal. Utah Giant stood out among 4-5 varieties I grafted,

J plums/hybrids - Shiro, Beauty set well. The rest were bud kills esp. Satsuma and Nadia. Not sure I like J plums that much anymore. May remove the trees.

E plums - very productive. Unaffected by the May freeze. They taste sweeter, more flavorful than J plums. A few are outstanding.

Peaches - Autumn Star and PF 24 C produced heavily. The rest sparingly. We have given some, sold some and canned so many jars of jam.

Nectarines - finally found a nectarines worth eating. A very nice Freckle Face. Everyone’s favorite.

Apples - last year was a skip apple year. This year, trees produced heavily. Many grafts from 3-4 years ago flowered and set fruit, too. I realize I don’t need 20 + varieties after all. Will only keep a few going forward.

Figs (potted). All set well and taste good to me.

Persimmon - my Nikita’s Gift finally is able to hold on to about 8 fruit (out of 100+). Grafted Prok on NG’s tree has 3 fruit. Quite exciting. Hope they will ripen in time.

Watermelons - late putting them in ground. They are not as productive as last year but we are much better at picking them at the right time.

Cantaloupe - got free seeds of Sivan F1 charentai melon. The best cantaloupe type melon I (and everyone I gave it to) have ever had. Very sweet and fragrant.

Freckle Face nectarine and Sivan F1 are the new and wonderful discovery this year.


I had a terrible fruit year.

  1. Late frost got all of my stonefruit.
  2. Early hot and humid weather brought the plum curculio before I could spray. Worst year ever for PC. Lots of scab this year too.
    Next year will be better.


Fabulous start! Looks great!


I read all the previous post and there are several common problems but the one I’m surprised about the most is how many share the same issue with late cold weather reducing or eliminating their fruit for the year. For the last four years my five plum/pluot trees have bloomed well but late cold weather has reduced the number of fruit to small quantities. My original pear varieties were a little better but even they were reduced most years. The addition of later blooming pears has improved my odds.


Very good:

  • Figs, lots of figs - I only had 5 small trees grown in bush form but got more fruit than we could keep up with. Towards late summer we started getting hit by birds and SWD but it just meant we weren’t picking every day as we should have been.


  • Peaches - surprisingly. Really focused on consistent spraying this year as well as trapping squirrels and it paid off. Got a decent size harvest off the peach tree. Lost a lot due to drops from not spraying early enough I think.
  • Spring raspberry crop - I need to focus more on pruning / variety selection of this versus the Fall crop production.


  • Late summer / fall raspberry crop - got destroyed by SWD, I think my spraying schedule is off
  • All pears - got wiped out by late frost, grafted more varieties to counteract this
  • Currants, gooseberries, and blueberries - got decimated by birds
  • Strawberry - crowns planted this year got completely eaten by bunnies
  • Melons - I think were planted too early, struggled to grow, got powdery mildew, cracked when it rained
  • Trees in pots got under-watered and grew poorly


Some of us that are fairly new to this hobby, might feel we have learned a lot. As I have seen here many times, “once you figure out pests, then you have to learn about fungus/critters”

What I learned in 2020;

Even a few peach trees with 90% buds lost to the late freeze, will provide all the peaches you can eat, can, freeze and give away.

If you are all over spray schedules you can beat the OFM! (last year, not one fruit was left. This year not even one branch flagged, let alone hit the fruit. Major victory

I should have planted 3 different types of peaches instead of 3 Red Havens. having 3 trees to harvest at once would be overwhelming.

Next year, if I keep up my spraying and we don’t have the late freeze, I will have some local food pantries on speed dial


The cold spring actually worked for our advantage
in the Puget sound lowlands.
Stone Fruits bloomed later, and the weather was dry, so we had good fruit set
It was a short summer.
Warm dry weather ender
September 15.
We’re in our typical
Temperature still getting up to 70
But mostly in the 50s and 60s.


I’m happy with what I got this year. The two year old strawberry bed produced gallons of berries, raspberries were and are what they have been, great, then gone. Blackberries were more than I could pick. Black raspberries were a delight and produced so much before the birds found them. Blueberries were average, I need to work on the soil in that section, seems like it needs a layer of peat moss and pine needles.
Pears were the worst, like everyone else were decimated by the last frost. Around 15 Hosui, 5 Bartlett, and 5 unknown.
Peaches were good. My Home Depot special tree made enough peaches to get us through a few weeks. The late frost probably helped me by thinning them out so I got bigger peaches. July Elberta Peach was again terrible and will be replaced this year.

Plums were incredible. Methley plum harvest was in the hundreds. Perfect! Had first harvest of Stanley plums, which I made prunes out of, which were also sooo good.

I had my first harvest of apples. Jonafree produced around 75 really good apples. I harvested 3 Golden Delicious and 1 William’s Pride, all of which were great. There is another crop of Enterprise still on the tree and 4 Goldrush and 6 Hudson’s Golden Gem.

No pawpaws, my producing tree died, the other two are too young. No jujubes, tree made flowers but no fruit, no persimmons, the flowers and small fruit fell from the tree one by one, sadly.

One thing I did notice was not a speck of black rot or brown rot this year. I had plenty of it last year, and I continued my low impact organic spray routine, but added Serenade this year. Also, I had to spray Immunox for Cedar Apple Rust, which clearly made a huge difference in my apples.


Here in Wisconsin, very mixed.

One of the schoolyards in Madison where I bag apples as an orchard volunteer, a great crop of Mount Royal plums and Red Star peaches. I don’t bag the stone fruit, only the apples, so this is an “organic practice”, apart from “on the Q-T” I splashed some iron-sulfate solution on the leaves of the plums and especially of the peach tree that had most of its leaves curl up and whither and then it put energy into putting out new leaves. The stone fruit held up pretty good considering how the plum curculio just tore into the apple stand. There was a minimal amount of brown rot on the plums that I tried to keep up with picking affected plums off the tree and off the ground.

The fruit set was mixed on Enterprise, Crimson Crisp and Liberty Apples, with the Liberty being the heaviest. My and a couple anonymous volunteers bagged several hundred applies in this small “tall spindle” grove (I could tell I had help this year by the different styles of Ziplock bags, but we didn’t meet on account of virus isolation).

The interesting thing is that high-school students were using this elementary school parking lot as a staging area for participating in protests this summer, and working in the orchard I was simply ignored. I live in an area of “affluence and privilege”, and it is amazing that if you are engaged in ag labor (bagging), no one disturbs your work to question in the middle of the protests why an old man is sticking Ziplock bags on a bunch of trees.

The unfortunate thing is that the coddling moth just ravaged that crop, even getting into the bags – I will have to investigate a better technique of sealing the stem closure and also training my fellow volunteers. The left pretty big gaps, but some of my bags got loose around the stem and let the moth in.

Up in Door County between two bodies of water, Green Bay and Lake Michigan, our tart-cherry region had a very thin crop – a big disappointment to the many commercial producers along with the neighbor where we go for pick-your-own. My orchard, however, not the biggest crop of Mt Royal plums we ever had, but I picked about 30 gallons (maybe 200 pounds?) from 3 trees and stuffed two freezer compartments with them. It was a little hard timing the harvest because of the heavy brown rot that claimed about a third of the harvest. Yes, yes, I am spraying these trees, just haven’t found the right spray plan to control this.

Looks to be not an insane bumper crop like 2018, but the Door County apple harvest looks strong, apart from my Honey Gold that is all scabby and with a succession of wet summers, my pruning, spraying and orchard hygiene plan of raking leaves and burying grounder apples just isn’t turning the corner there, either.

Our local University of Wisconsin Extension office, which is staffed by the producer where we pick cherries, was warning people of coddling moth all summer long, but that wasn’t a problem by me. He didn’t think the maggot fly pressure was that high, but the maggot fly was getting past my spray program, especially of the early-season Duchess of Oldenburg apples.

I worry about next season because the carbaryl, and old standby of insect control, is removed from Sevin and replaced by some sort of pyrethroid agent, and Ortho Flower Fruit and Vegetable Insect Killer Concentrate, my source of the neo-nicotinoid Acetamiprid has been pulled from the market and the stocks of this have run out.

I read the label on New Sevin, claiming effectiveness against Curculio, Moth and Apple Fly. It isn’t “curative” in the way the neo-nicotinoids or Imidan is, but the label says it has “residual activity” for 4 weeks. On my hobby orchard, I can’t be spraying every week.

Maybe the powers that be who decide on what sort of fruit tree-labeled insecticides home gardeners are allowed to use deemed to let us pome-fruit peons something that is safe and effective? I do worry about the mite flareup potential and have been warned away from relying on pyrethroid-family because they are as broad-spectrum as the label brags about?.


Can’t wait till 2021. 2020 was a total bust.


My thoughts - exactly.