How are tree prices and selection in your local? (Also, my deer advice)

Early survey here shows that the fruit tree selection looks kinda spotty this season. It may improve…or not. The local CO-OP said this is all the trees they are getting this season. Prices have not gone up much, maybe $5 a tree for some sellers. But sizes have shrunk on some and less variety of trees with some retailers.

I’m glad I don’t buy ornamental trees. They range for $100 to $170 a tree. (Actually $99.99 - $169.99 - all prices are rounded up 1 penny.) I have no interest in trees unless they produce food! Now they got sugar maples…for $130 a tree. So it produces food, possibly. And some crabapples for $150. Crazy prices as far as I’m concerned. These aren’t giant trees either…they are 7 to 9 feet tall. For the record, fruit trees here are about $30 - $60 on average. A local high class nursery may change double or triple that. For $60 at the CO-OP you can get a 7-gallon pot and an 8-1/2’ tree or higher…if lucky. Some of the same priced 7-gallon trees may only be 4-1/2’ feet tall for $60. Just depends.

I talked with a dentist. Asked him if he got any fruit trees. He said the deer eat up everything, so has none. Now this was a supposedly smart guy. Dunno how I figured it out and he can’t, I’m not that smart.

If you have a deer problem, you need to deer proof your fruit trees when you plant them. You get (4) 7 -foot T-Posts (the cast metal type not the cheap stamped T-Posts) You get 16 -1/2 linear feet of 4-foot-high welded wire fencing. You lay out a square about 4’ x 4’ and make a deer barrier around your tree. Use wire to attach 3 sides of the fencing and zip ties for the last side…so you can cut the ties and get inside the barrier if you need to do something to the tree.

Note: the wire fence end shape is a cube and not round. It is sharply bent at a 90-degree angle around each T-Post. But you do it any way you like. If you use a loose circle of fencing, your length may vary. 16-1/2 feet fits the 4-foot square well and you get 3 cuts from a 50-foot roll.

When installing T-Posts, get a cross check level that works multiple ways and start the post with a small sledgehammer. Then use a T-Post driver to bang it in. Use ear protection, they can be loud. But before you do all that, pour half a gallon or more of water where you will install each of the T-Posts. If the ground is dry, the water makes a big difference with the installation. Just let it seep in 10 to 15 minutes.

Get some trunk protectors to keep rabbits from girdling the trees. After you remove the deer protector fence, keep the trunk protectors on the tree for some time to keep the male deer from ‘buck rubbing’ your trees to death with their antlers. You may need 2-foot and 4-foot trunk protectors depending on how big or small your trees are at planting time and to keep up with the tree as it grows. They also have 6-foot tree protectors.

If you are putting in tons of trees, make a 4’ x 4’ cardboard template for laying out the T-posts. The template has a 2-foot long U-shaped slot cut into it so the template can be slid with the tree planted to locate the corners for the T-Posts. The template makes it very, very easy compared to doing it by hand and trying to keep things square. You put a small marker flag on the corners of the template and you drive a post there. If you have bad wrists, get a pneumatic T-Post driver. You will be very happy with it. And if you can’t afford it and have wrist trouble, use a Velcro wrist support for the banging T-Post. Remember what I said about pouring the water over the T-Post spot, it makes it a lot easier to drive posts by hand.

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Apples are running $21-36 at nursery places. A bit more choice but still dirt common ones.

Box stores do not get it and are $56-78 bucks for apple trees.

Cheapest citrus is $45. Which is fine. Trees are common here and rooting citrus is easy.

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I bought a honey-jar jujube 7gallon for $85 at a local nursery and at a local home depot the peaches were going for $40

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Jealous…would love to grow citrus!

When I visited Riverside-Redlands in CA, citrus seemed to be a fairly common fruit tree with back yard growers.

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Learn propagation techniques. Apple rootstock is dirt cheap, it costs me under $5 to propagate apple trees. I do have the absolute worst luck with cherry though. Haskaps, saskatoons, currants, you name it; ridiculously easy to propagate once you know how each likes to go about it.

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Just to update my OP…

I checked out one of the $60 peach trees at the CO-OP. The rootstock caliper is 1-1/4 inches and just above the union was 1-1/8 inches. Height in pot in 8.5 feet tall. Some trees are 9 feet. The CO-OP has some of the nicest trees around for the $. Although last year when Tractor Supply was closing trees out I bought a few peach and apple trees for $15 each…or it could have been $20, can’t remember, but they were 50% off. They were about 8 feet tall, but caliper was only 7/8" or less.

Thing is you can’t wait for sales. Sometimes there are only 4 or 6 of a variety and that is it for the season. I did that last year. I waited until the Father’s Day sale and the trees were 40% - 50% off at the CO-OP, but everything I wanted was sold out. This year some of the trees aren’t coming back, such as Babcock white peach or Nakita’s Gift persimmon.

It depends if you’re going to keep your trees to no ladder height or not, but I wouldn’t really want a tree that’s over an inch caliper and six plus feet tall, particularly if I’m going to train it to an open center. They likely pruned off all the lower branches too, but you’d be able to see that if your looking at them in person

I’ll second looking into grafting. It’s way cheaper and your variety options go way up.

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Honestly in my area it is getting hard to justify going to a local nursery at all. Last year I was looking at lilac and my local nursery was selling the same brand and cultivar of lilac as Lowes and Lowes was selling them for 14 or 15 dollars but my local nursery wanted 50 or 55 for it. I think my local nursery was selling impatient for 7 or 8 dollars and Lowes was 3 dollars. Even before the pandemic The Tree Farm was selling Juliet bush cherry for 120 dollars so I can’t imagine what it is now. It is like my local nursery want to go out of business. The Tree Farm ads are misleading because it sounds like they are selling them for 99 cents towards the end of the season but that 99 cents is something like for the second tree and it is only on certain trees which apparently the bush cherry do not qualify for.

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To add the big new thing though is shrinkflation on seeds. I guess everywhere is including less seeds than they used to now.

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I purchased a couple seed packs and was surprised to find out it was like 15 seeds when they arrived.

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We bought 20 peach trees for $20 a pop last October from our local home and garden. They were about 6’ tall and many varieties. Locally owned. We’re also fortunate to have several nurseries within driving distance. We planted 85 pecan trees two years ago that averaged about $18 each. Improved varieties 8-12 feet tall.

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Lowes is probably the cheapest of the big box stores. Last year it was tractor supply. But they went up on everything this year. So far the feed stores are the cheapest. One nursery is very competitive; and their trees are all superb looking.

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Lucky you. I paid like 60 or 70 dollars for my pecans. I have to grow northern cultivars though.

We’re fortunate to be in the pecan belt. We have about 8-10 dedicated pecan nurseries within a two hour drive.

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I agree and you could take it a step further and produce your own rootstock, I have. :slight_smile:

No way in the world I’m paying $20 bucks for a common fruit tree when I can produce my own rootstock for free and trade scionwood (multiple varieties) for $6 dollars in shipping. Of course, I’m not acting like I never have, just that I wouldn’t now. :slight_smile:

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Not all tree … but local place was selling jiro persimmon for 97 bucks and a bush cherry for 140 … Also a few Japanese maple varieties going from 80-180

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What was the improvement on the pecans?

Inflation / shrinkflation.

CO-OP had some smaller trees this year, but same price as last year. I’m thinking they are selling trees a year younger that before for some of the varieties. Persimmons are very young and low quality. Something like you’d get mail order as bare root, 3 - 4 feet with on a couple of branches and very, very thin caliper.

One year the local nursery bought the exact same brand trees the CO-OP was selling and added 50% to the price.

I read that smaller trees are more desirable, but I like big trees. I don’t do much pruning. I like bigger trees because they are older and hopefully produce fruit faster. The same peach trees I bought last year for $35 are not as big as these trees I paid $60 for. Last year’s trees are still 2 - 3 feet shorter. So, I think the tall $60 trees must be a couple years older.

How long does it take for growers to produce marketable dwarf fruit trees to sell? Can they produce a 3 or 4 foot apple or peach tree in 3 years?