There is a huge range of experience on this board from professional orchardists and long term hobbiests to newbies looking to put in a few fruit trees. I started my small orchard in 2015 so most of my trees and plants are going on 5th leaf. I have some older blueberries as well. In that time period I’ve made some smart decisions and I’ve made a lot of bad ones. Some of which relates to zone pushing and others are due to poor planting location, improper pruning, and improper spray regimens.
I’ve come to realize that I don’t want to waste time growing green leaves with no usable fruit. I’ve talked about removing unproductive fruit bearers buy have not always backed it up. I’m going to remove some things this year and likely remove others by this summer if they can’t set fruit.
Fruits on their deathbed:
Figs - I really enjoy eating them and the shear number of varieties make them a very intriguing fruit to grow. But damn they a pain in the butt to grow in colder climates. I’ve grown several varieties in large pots and some cold tolerate varieties in-ground. I’ve overwintered my potted figs in my unheated garage and I’ve wrapped and insulated my in-ground plants and every year it’s a disappointment. Despite them being easy to root and start they have not been an easy plant to maintain. No more messing around with them for me.
Nanking Cherry - Nanking bushes were some of the first things I planted in 2015. The bushes are large and have bloomed heavily the last two years, they have failed to set hardly any fruit. Since planting I’ve read
that Nankings are pretty underwhelming in regards to fruit/ pit ratio and aren’t generally as good as the popular dwarf cherries that I’ve started growing. I’ll check again for fruit set this spring and will need a bumper crop in order to keep these plants. I can find something else to plant in their spots.
Blueberries - blueberry bushes are my oldest fruits. Planted in 2011 or 2012 I believe. Despite my attempts at controlling the acidic levels of he soil and giving them the proper fertilization, they have not thrived like I’ve hoped. One more summer and they are gone. I have a nice U-Pick blueberry farm a short drive away with berries much Superior to mine.
Dwarf Mulberry - I planted an Issai mulberry 3 years ago and it’s growing too large for the location it’s in. It’s close to my house and I don’t care for their invasive roots. The berry quality has improved but still not a fruit I love eating. They can’t compare to the large wild mulberries I used to eat as a child.
Apricots - they bloom too early around here to be a reliable fruit. I’ve debated removing them or just keeping them and settling for a rare harvest. I may remove the trees but keep the grafts I have.
Pluots - I don’t see myself removing any of these because they are one of my favorite fruits. Like apricots, they bloom so early their blossoms have frozen out every year. They are frustrating to grow around here.
Sweet cherries - I’ve harvested miniscule amounts since 2015 and like many others have stated the quality have not been as good as what I can get in the grocery. I’ll keep the two trees for the kids but absolutely no way I’d plant another.
What I’ve ultimately come to realize is what other people have realized here in WV and that is apple is king here. The pomes bloom much later here than prunus and that allows them to miss those late freezes. Pears seem to do well here too and show a lot of promise. Peaches and nects have done reasonably well too. So that is what I’ll focus on from here on out.
What fruits have you considered removing?