Tree Tag Info

What info. do people like to record on their (metal) tree tags? Any thing other than the variety of tree?

I write rootstock and year and month the tree was planted.

I need to mark and tag things better now that I know more and also have more growing. Then I’ll be less likely to have “unknown this”, “unknown that”. :wink:

For the things I’m going to be grafting this year, I also intend to put the name of the person who sourced it to me. That way, in years to come, each variety will continue to remind me of those special people. They’ll be living parts of my life.

My whole life is an unknown. I have a bunch of grafts out there that i’ve lost the magic marker/tape label.


Like Andrew does, the variety, the year it is planted/grafted and the rootstock.

Source/Year Planted

In the orchard I only put the cultivar, year planted and the ripening date. This is really the only info you need at hand in the orchard.

The limited info has the side benefit that it lets me write it BIGGER which has the added benefit of my being able to see/read it.

All the rest of the info (rootstock, disease susceptibility, last treatment etc.) should be recorded in the orchard journal. That type of information is needed when we need to make longer terms decisions, plans or analysis.



Do you just put together an Excel spreadsheet for the data you mentioned as your orchard journal?

I know this is a really old post. I was curious about the info you put on your id tags. In regards to ripening date, do you go back and add this after you have a few years data on your tree or do you go with the reported expected ripening dates for your area? Do you put a date range, or the median date? Something else? thanks!!


All my trees were bought bare root from the different nurseries. Usually there is a ripening time stated like; “early Sept.” " mid Sept. " “late Sept”.
So I write “-9” for early, “9” for mid and “9+” for late etc for all other months.

The purpose of this labeling is just so that every time I check out a tree I get a rough idea of when I can expect it to be in the ripening zone. It is not a laser focused date.

I am then able to mentally adjust due to weather conditions in the particular year. Cold spring, wet spring, hot summer, wer/dry etc.

In my orchard journal I keep an historical yearly record for each variety. In this section each year I note how that particular variety did, when it bloomed, how it tasted, how much fruit, fruit size, and generally what was MY perceprion ( not with scientific measurements) of the general weather pattern or conditions.

You sort of start to get a feel for how each variety does in YOUR orchard under the conditions existing in YOUR orchard and subject to YOUR idiosyncrasies in the way YOU handle and practice orcharding.( is that a word?).

I also check other sources on the web that list ripening times for the specific cultivars and find that they sometimes vary quite a bit. So I try to adjust for my growing area and disregard the true outliers.

I put the generally accepted ripening time for the cultivar on the label just because I can’t keep the info on 140 cultivars in my head.

Hope this helps



Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Mike!
This does help quite a bit. Thank you for sharing your process of orcharding with me. :wink: Yep, it’s definitely a word.
I think I will start adding ripening time to my labels, for those that I know. I have upwards of 70 trees, but most are still young and not producing yet. There’s no way I will be able to keep all of that straight in my head, and adding ripening dates will help. I like to look at labels while walking through my orchard and remind myself when I grafted, or what year something was planted. I think I should be able to remember all of them, but it’s just not possible for me.
I started an orchard journal last year but haven’t gotten it all caught up yet. My intentions were to catalog the pertinent details about each tree and cultivar grafted. I have some time yet to bring it up to date before I get too busy this spring, so I’d better make it a goal. I know it will be very worthwhile in the long run.
Thanks again!

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One of the things I try to do is to take weekly pictures of each cultivar from bloom to harvest so I get a “time lapse” record of each cultivar showing the progress throughout the year.
Each photo has the date stamped. For others who might be looking, I put the zone and area so that they might better gauge and adjust for their own trees’ location.

See below for a set for Zestar I uploaded a while back.

If you do a search here for “time lapse” you can see others as well

With this you can build up a personal history of how different cultivars do in your orchard


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That is so neat. I don’t know how I missed that post last year, and haven’t come across it since. Thanks so much for linking to it. I will search out your other time lapse posts too.

I don’t know if I am organized enough to take weekly pictures, and then download and sort them, (FOR EVERY CULTIVAR!) but I should really give it a try. It is so helpful to see how quickly the fruit develops. Since this would help judge harvest time, it could be super useful for those years where it seems like everything is a little early, or the opposite- spring was late and fruit develops slower than normal.

Also having the weekly pictures must be helpful if you see a disease or pest problem. You have a picture catalog that corresponds with your written treatment records and you can go back and see how the trees responded. I know this would help me from year to year too. If I can’t remember how well trees responded to say, a particular fungicide, I could go back and see the progression and that might help me determine if I should respond differently the next time I see that problem.

I am impressed with your organization! OK, I’ve talked myself into it. I am going start taking weekly pictures this year, get my orchard journal up to date, AND update my tree tags. Thanks Mike! :grin:

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Usually just variety name, yet when I am grafting I put the date too, because the exact date is more important then, especially when I graft more than once a year on the same tree with the same variety.

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