Removing fruit trees: what and why?

I don’t remember who wrote it I’m sure I read it here and I agree 100%. Sweet cherry is the one tree that in most cases taste better from the store than your own home. Commercial growers have perfected cherry growing and when they are in season some of the grocery store sweet cherries are phenomenal. Can’t say the same for plums, peaches, apples, or pears.

Sweet cherries are my favorite fruit. The crazy high costs of sweets at the store is what prompted me into starting my little orchard. Buy I’ve learned a lot since then and I’m sure focusing on sweet cherries in my area is not the best thing to do.

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For me, I don’t know how to graft.
I have a jujube that’s probably going out.
Even if I did have the grafting skills, I’ld have to find budwood.
It’s hard sometimes to get the budwood.
A lot of times, you have to buy the grafted tree to get the variety that you want.
And then, unless you have space to spare, you don’t need 2 trees of the same variety.

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Green Gage plum - too vigorous for my small yard and non-productive for 8 years(Pulled out with Toyota Prius). Next candidate is North Star sour cherry - huge early fruit drop every year, when my romance cherry prove they are better(still young), NS will go. Apricot tree(2 years old) and another plum tree(6 years old ) both died, those I dug out.


Grafting actually is not as difficult as ones think. It can be scary for newbies. It took me about 4-5 years to work up a courage to try grafting. For a long time, I was intimidated by what I read in Garden Web esp. about their succesful grafting.

Then, I discovered Stephen Hayes grafting videos. That was when I thought I could do it and I did. I chose grafting pears and apples first because the chance of success is very high. Later, I watched Applenut (of Kuffle Creek) grafting vedios. His videos are excellent. If you watch those videos, you would be able to graft and succeed.

As for finding scionwood. You can buy them from online nurseries. Also, you can ask forum members. I have found that people here are very kind. If you are willing to pay for postage, most of us will be willing to send the wood to you. Check their profiles to see if they grow the varieties you look for. Send them PM. You have nothing to fear.

In the winter, many members will post their offerings or askings in the Scion Exchane category. You can contact them, then, too.


Sweet cherries can be grown here. I have been growing them for about 6 years. I’m down to two trees, and one has canker, also the area is becoming shady from other trees. I only have one that now receives a decent amount of sun, but not full sun. So I expect some cherries when mature, but not a lot. My 2nd leaf White Gold only produced a few this year, nice to taste them though.

I never pulled a tree yet, although I’m fairly new to stone fruit. I have only been growing them for 6 years. Most of my trees are 4th leaf. I’m happy with the choices I made.Although like others thought of pulling some, only to decide they are not that bad after all.

Yep. Certainly all our circumstances are different. I taught myself to graft this spring and after 3 months butchering practice wood, I had 90% success on my fruit trees. I was motivated because I also have limited space and suspected that I needed more pollinators, so grafting was the easiest AND cheapest AND most space saving way to do so.
Also, in my circumstance, in order to swap out a tree, I’d have to hire the man-strength (complete with chain and truck, LOL) to remove the tree, purchase another tree AND pay for shipping, THEN wait the extra years whilst it gets established.
Scion wood, to my surprise, was not hard to find and is certainly cheaper than another tree plus shipping. I believe sources for scion wood are listed on this forum.


Mostly the trees I’ve taken out have died or been very sickly

I said I wasn’t going to replace any of them, but I just ordered a nectarine because I’m an idiot



I have all three of the Hungarian cherries. It seems like they take a long time to come into production. I planted Jubileum and Danube in 2009 and this is the first year Jubileum really produced well. Danube was still very light production but it’s a smaller tree. Even Jubileum didn’t produce like a montmorency cherry, but there were a lot of cherries on the Jubileum.

Production apparently is a problem on these varieties

Still there is a lot to like about them. They don’t have the pick damage of montmorency and don’t brown from the pick damage where the stem was. Plus they are bigger. And of course they are sweeter. I actually ordered another 20 Danube for next spring.

They are easier to raise than peaches because they don’t take much labor. Very little pruning and no thinning, although they do sucker profusely on Mahaleb.

The new bush cherries are faster and more productive and may put in bush cherries at some point.

I totally agree about removing non-productive trees. Like Scott and Fruitnut, I’ve removed loads of trees and have about 35 peach trees slated for removal this year. So far I’ve only regretted pulling out one tree. I should have given that tree more time.

I’ve pulled trees out in the past, but a mature tree leaves such a big hole, I’ve started just cutting them down and planting next to the stump. This may cause replant issues for me. I haven’t had enough experience in doing this to form any observations yet.

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Same for me- once they are dead, I don’t feel bad about replacing them…

That’s actually what is replacing most spots which open up for me (and maybe Mamung), as well as a few plums. While cherries see problems from fungus, bugs, and animals, none of those seem to affect jujubes, at least here. So far at least. I bet that will change sometime in the future (hopefully 100+ years and not <5 years), as the pests adapt. Let me know if you decide to graft and need some wood.

I would try them. On my Carmine Jewel the cherries were small this year, but man they made a killer preserve. I love it, worth the trouble to remove pits. If I had to do it over I would try Juliet first higher brix, higher weight (about 5 grams). Carmine Jewel average 4 grams. and 15 brix.
Crimson Passion looks good too with 22 brix, and 6 gram cherries. This tree though is less productive. I think all mentioned are worth trying.
The flavor is rich, the color is dark red, I love these bush cherries. Such small bushes too, with good yields. On own roots, and do sucker some, so more plants is easy enough.
I made a lot of jam this year, the Carmine Jewel cherries is the best jam I made this year.
The smell when making the preserves was unreal. I love cherries, so I’m biased towards them. I’m sold on the bush cherries even with the small fruit.
Expected yield from 5 years old trees is 25 pounds or more.I think that may be a little high, mine is only 3 years old. Oh mine are in containers too. I’m putting one in the ground this fall.




Do not let that stop you from trying. For me grafting has played a huge part in the reason I started growing fruit. If it weren’t for grafting I think this hobby would be far less interesting. Many people have visited my house and after asking about my trees seem astonished that a single tree can grow many types of fruit. It’s a great talking point and ice breaker. And it allows a grower to test grow many varieties without the major investment of purchasing stand alone trees for each one. And if after a few years you don’t like a certain variety cut it out and graft something else.


The best part of it was no mess. My trees are growing on front lawn with about 2’ diameter circles around trunks covered with mulch. The rest is grass. So digging would require tarps/buckets and disturbing the grass. My husband pulled it just enough to take out of the soil, but to keep the root ball right on the trunk circle. The chain saw went next. In 30 min the tree was gone and packed in the bags to go to trash station to become town compost.

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If the tree is small enough it can be pulled by hand mostly, which sounds crazy but is possible. Wait until after a good rain. Start by pushing the tree back and forth and then side to side. Eventually you or you and a couple friends may be able to push the entire tree over without breaking the trunk. Then begin to pull the tree around in a circle and then tug the roots out in different directions by this action. Chop off any stubborn roots that are left with the axe.


second the pickup truck idea, used this method to remove a 30 yr old Yew hedge, the roots balls were immense.

Tore up the lawn, no big deal

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Sounds like a new Toyota commercial is in the making :wink:


I’d advise getting rid of the trunk and the entire root system, because
the new tree that you plant next to it, is always going to have to compete
against it, and the possibility of root fungus attacking the old roots, and then
spreading to the roots of the new tree. .

Very good point Ray! I think that would also be the advice of most fruit specialists.

The only reason I’m trying leaving the old roots is because the soil is so rich and with the use of wood chips, the trees so vigorous, I’m giving it a try. I would never try under other conditions, and may find it causes me problems in a few years despite the soil. So I’m not recommending it, just mentioning my “experiment”.

Thanks for chiming in with that caution.

I don’t mind if we get paid).

I’m not replacing trees because of advancing age and decrepitude, that makes it too much work