The online retail nursery does have the following statement in their descriptions.
“Pluots need hot summers to bring out the sweet flavors.”
From what I read so far, I think Zee Sweet combination has early pluots except F.Gren, Is Zee Sweet combination more advantageous in the less sunny East coast, assume late frost is not an issue in our microclimate?
I bought the first one not Zee Sweet. At the time Zee Sweet was rated to zone 7. I’m in 5b/6a. I think they changed it? Anyway I’m happy with it. Flavor King is unreal, what an excellent fruit!. Super hardy too! Going on 4th leaf, the last 2 winters killed all fruit buds except Flavor King. So I have yet to taste the other pluots. This winter is mild, and I expect all to fruit. I think either one would be fine. Flavor Grenade is a good one too, and grows well in your area. This year is a big test for the tree. I got unlucky with two bad winters. The 2013-2014 winter killed every stone fruit bud I have. I have 9 trees.
Oh whatever one you buy you need to orientate the tree correctly. With mine FK needs to be south DD east, FS north and FQ west. The last two can be reversed. FK has to be south!
I can’t say for the other tree maybe somebody will chime in?.
I’m going to winter prune in a couple weeks, here is the tree today.
Because it is the weakest grower, if you face it in the other directions the other grafts will overwhelm it. It needs the advantage of getting the most sun. On my 4th leaf tree it faces south, yet still is the smallest graft. I have to cut away FQ and DD which keep trying to grow in it’s space.
You don’t have to, but it makes balancing the grafts a lot easier. FS is the most vigorous grower of the four, it has the most branches and the biggest. It’s main branch is three times bigger than FK.
You can see FK is very small yet it is facing due south, That branch from FQ growing toward the camera has to be removed.
If FK was on the other side it would be completely shaded out and die.I still have to keep it clear. If on the east it would be OK, but if west or north it would be shaded out.
Remember I have yet to prune, I’m adding some grafts to this too. Just for fun.
See the stub branch slightly left? One will go there and one on back on FS, that might not make it being north, but FS is too big! Maybe one on DD too, which is the biggest of all. Even though FS grows more, being north has kept it in check.
Between the 4x1 Pluot Combo and the 4x1 Sweet Pluot I would opt for the 4x1 Sweet Pluot. That’s just personal preference on my part. Right now the only variety I’m growing is Flavour Grenade but Splash, Geo Pride, and Flavour King are ones I’d like to try for flavour. So I’d go with the Sweet combo to get Splash and Geo Pride.
Also consider that Flavour King, Queen, and Supreme, and Dapple Dandy are all off patent to my knowledge. So is Flavour Grenade. Splash, Geo Pride and I think Emerald Drop are all still on patent. So in some ways you might look at it as acquiring their genetics if you go with 4x1 Sweet. You can graft the varieties not on patent.
You should ask fruitnut or search for his posts for advice on pluots.
My advice would be to consider not getting the 4x1 tree at all. Instead try doing 2 trees in the same hole (about 1 - 2 foot apart). When you grow a multi-graft it can be more challenging to manage because you need to balance growth of the different varieties as @Drew51 has described. Otherwise 1 or 2 varieties can end up dominating and the less vigorous varieties perish.
2 trees 1 hole is easier to manage. It has the effect of dwarfing both trees, the trees are more productive overall versus a multi-graft, you can still always graft between the two, and there’s also some redundancy because you have two trees versus the one multi-graft.
If picking two trees I would go with Flavour Grenade and Geo Pride as a personal preference. I’m pretty sure they would work as pollination partners although Geo Pride may be hard to find right now.
Drew, I think mine were grafted in the opposite pattern as yours. Clockwise from the E. I have FS, FQ, FK, DD. DD is the most vigorous, followed by FQ. FK and FS were considerably smaller on arrival, and stayed weaker growers. Even with the the FS oriented E, and cutting back the DD and FQ, it still didn’t have enough vitality to make it. FK hung in there and put out some growth, though. It’s at an angle that faces SW.
With just these two trees as examples, depending on the tree and the grafting, FS can be the weakest instead of the strongest. I need to get some FS scion to replace what was overwhelmed on mine. Of course, it’s DD that’s the strongest for me, because of the four, that was the one I was least interested in.
I planted a 3x1 last year that had FK,DD,FQ. Unfortunately it was missing FS. That’s the one I was really looking forward to along with FK. Luckily I got some flavor supreme scions to graft this spring. I don’t know much about the 4 pluots on the sweet tree.
A good idea in theory but on the east coast my main concern would be brown rot, and planting trees that close makes for bad air circulation. the multi-graft is a better way to go on the east coast IMHO as airflow is then not a concern. It can be done, but you would need to limit scaffolds to get good air flow. I would rather have two trees, but then I would end up grafting unto them anyway! I bought one multi-graft, but I’m making all my trees multi-graft trees. I love it myself!
An alternative would be to make a hedge like Scott does with 2 scaffolds, that is much more practical and allows for air flow.
Mine is north and a strong grower, I can give you plenty of scion. PM me if you want it. I’m pruning around February 15th.
Well FK is weak but it is facing south, and easy to keep clear of the others. The other three are doing great! I really am not having a problem managing the grafts. My FS grew almost horizontal to get more light, it is very vigorous for me. Ironic but in many ways these 4 pluots are more suited for the Midwest. Flavor King and Flavor Supreme are by far superior to the other 6, so if I were to do it over again, I would buy the same tree. Not without problems though as mentioned. Also Flavor Supreme has to be hand pollinated, but it’s so good I will always grow it, and Flavor King too, best plum I ever had. It is the standard to judge all others.
I have all 8 of the ones Raintree offers (Splash/DD/FK?FS/FQ?FG.etc)… Flavor King is my favorite, but its very late here (Sept)…Flavor Supreme is excellent and very early…My kids love Splash but i find them to be more sugar then anything…but they still beat store bought any day and you can just let them hang on the tree and have fruit over the course of many weeks… Geo Pride is awesome… Only one i really don’t care for is Flavor Queen.
After thinking about it the 2 trees in one hole can work fine too. Just don’t let it get crazy overgrown. It’s personal preference. Now I want to try two trees in one hole.
Heck I might like it better too! At one time I thought it would be cool to do Red Baron double flowering peach with Double Jewel that has pink flowers. Or another different color double flower peach or nectarine. @Dwn it’s a valid idea, sorry to criticize it. I’m not sure though what would be less challenging though? If one has aggressive roots or foilage the same thing could happen as with a grafted tree where one takes over. Especially say with a 4 in one hole. Not sure that would really be any easier to manage? Also where would you put those off patent grafts too?
If we start grafting we need to learn to balance multiple cultivars on one tree.
Steve on the 2nd tree how would you orient that one? Do you remember or know which are more vigorous?
When I tasted FK, I could not believe a plum could taste that good! I hope I can get FS to fruit!? Last year the buds were damaged from cold, this year has been mild, all buds look great! I’ll be out hand pollinating!
2 trees 1 hole requires maintenance too. It’s probably easier for beginners / those inexperienced with grafting because there’s less work involving balancing the growth of different varieties. That’s why I recommend it.
If you’re limited on space it’s a good alternative to multigraft to start while still providing the option of grafting later should you desire. If you do graft more varieties onto it then it’ll require more maintenance to match. Multigrafted 2 trees 1 hole is probably a lot like 4x1 multigraft except you have the advantage of a slightly larger root system and some redundancy if one tree should die. If one tree starts dying then you can use the other tree as a lifeboat to save the variety from the dying tree. Of course you can still do this with a multigraft if you have another tree to work with. But if space is limited you may not have another tree to graft to.
Excellent discussion and would be great to hear any updates on the trees everyone mentioned earlier. 4in1 Pluot arrived yesterday and knowing that FK is the least vigorous cultivar makes me lean toward planting that graft facing south. 1-1/2" diameter citation stock is quite impressive on it also, seems massive for a 1-3 year old tree (no indication of age from nursery)
(using Primestart blend 2.3-5.0-2.6 in planting hole)
My FK,FS, FQ, and DD tree is doing fine. FS is hard to get to bear fruit. But the others are great. Yes face FS north and FK south, if possible?
I topped work most of FS since it’s a shy producer. I left a small scaffold.