What have you given up on? Or plan to give up on in 2019

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?


I guess I’m an eternal optimist. (otherwise known as a sucker!) But, I keep trying to grow stone fruit. Especially peaches and nectarines. With little or NO success!
But . . . since the holes were already prepared (for last year’s victim, that bit the dust) . . . I never seem to be able to resist putting another variety in its place. I’ve been using this method for almost 30 years - trying to grow different fruit trees without a lot of spraying - here in Eastern Virginia. I mix up the locations - and ‘to mulch or not to mulch’ - ‘amend or not to amend’ - etc etc.

It’s a Hobby for me - and I love being outdoors and ‘communing with the plants’.
But, in the end . . . I don’t expect much, anymore. It’s just fun to see ‘what happens’.

Last spring I planted 6 apple varieties. (I’ve never planted apples. Because - we have Hot Humid summers.) I’m having trouble figuring out the pruning/training - as I am used to thinking in terms of ‘vase’ pruning. For some reason - I can’t get the hang of ‘leaders’. I may soon post some photos - and ask the advice of the pruning gurus, here on the forum.


Hey Karen! Good to see you posting again.

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i too have given up pushing zones. too much work keep something alive that rarely fruits. getting rid of aronia as i just can’t get it to taste good. grows well and looks nice but going to put another raspberry patch there instead. considering converting my other raspberries to summer bearing varieties. haven’t seen swd here yet but its coming. think I’m going to do a row per season so I’m still getting berries until all rows have been replaced. will also fix the issue of losing part of the crop to frost . was nice to just mow the canes every fall tho.


The place where I work and have a greenhouse,will be closing at year’s end.So,it will need to be dismantled and removed.
Vegetables were first tried out and did fairly well,but then roots from two nearby Maples filled the ground inside.
From then until presently,mostly stone fruit in containers are there and with limited success.The biggest problem for me,growing these are Spider Mites.
I plan to keep some of the trees at home and maybe give some away after taking scion wood from them.
Also,there is a Goji Berry plant that hasn’t produced,since planting,about 3-4 years ago that will probably go to make room for Blackberries.bb


I am pulling out all my non-blue berries this winter: blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries and currants. At this point if I don’t net them I don’t get anything and I had them spread out so not convenient to net and I was not doing it. My blueberries I have in one row and I can just throw a net over them so I am going to keep them. At some point I do hope to add blackberries/raspberries back in a bigger spot where I can throw a long net on them. The gooses and currants don’t like my climate enough to bother keeping them, the plants fry in the heat and the yield is too low.

My figs and poms are on life support, they are not producing. They get a few more years though.

I removed many apple varieties this year as well, I had many experimental apples that had flaws so why keep 'em. Part of the reason for removing now is I need to raise up the height of the fruit to protect against the deer, so I am taking out all my dwarf apple stocks and replacing with larger stocks. There will be fewer varieties on bigger trees when its done.



Blueberries: I gave up blueberries a couple of years ago. Like you, I couldn’t get my soil to be sufficiently acidic after all kinds of methods. It’s to the point that it’s not worth the effort.

Cherries: - I killed off two and have kept Black Gold and a Juliet. If something happens to them, that’s the end of my cherry growing. Same reasons you mentioned.

Persimmons: No more in-ground iffy persimmons (hybrids and/or non-astringent). Tired of winter-protect it. I will graft a few on a potted tree and see if I could get that tree to fruit. If not, it’s done, too.

Figs: My potted figs are not as productive as I wish. If they die, they die. I won’t shed tears.

Maybe, you should consider growing an apricot tree in pot. I had never like store bought apricots. They looked pretty but tasted awful, either bland or sour, every single time.

This past year, my in-ground trees set fruit. The tree-ripened apricots tasted so good. It helps me understand why people rave about apricots. They were very productive. If you could grow one in pot, it would be a good chance that it’d bear fruit for you. It may be worth it.

I am done with zone pushing. Let’s those who have will and energy push zones. I’ll root for them.


Notice the common theme about zone pushing?

Wish I had started out with tried and true .

One of my impulse purchase apricots ‘Sweetheart ‘ looks like it will die on its own. At least ‘cots are nice small landscape trees. More than any other fruit they are best home grown.


I’ve pretty much given up on almost all pluots and plums. I am down to just a Burgundy plum and some multi-graft pluots that I may let the Splash pluot side take over, since that is the only variety that seems to fruit consistently. I’m also giving up on anything that doesn’t have a firsthand reference for my area, even those marked less than 300 chill hours. Too many low chill fruits that never fruited for me.

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It sucks because of where you’re at sometimes. Reading all these posts make me think I’m lucky to live in the middle of the road. I gave up on elderberries, not because of any growing issue, they grow well and are very productive. I just don’t really care for the flavor, and they are difficult to process when you have 50 heads of them. It takes a lot of time. I thought about making wine with them, and maybe I will try again. I don’t see it though., Not a big wine drinker. i do consume wine, maybe a dozen bottles a year, or less. I gave up on zone pushing southern highbush blueberries as I can’t fool them and keep them dormant. Even outside they start growing too early. I still zone push western blackberries, figs and pomegranates. The poms are too young for a decision yet, but the other two have met with success, so I shall continue. I think this all comes about from being in a state buffered by the lakes, the air is cooled or warmed by the lakes and themselves are slow to change temps so this buffers the air. Less sudden changes in weather. Also not being in zone 9 or zone 3 but zone 6 smack in the middle. this has all helped me succeed in most fruit endeavors.
For me It’s more about finding the cultivars that work best then any one type of fruit.

It seems to me most struggle with finding fruit adapted to their area, and it’s hard enough to grow stuff that is, let alone stuff that isn’t well adapted to your location. this is a very important thing.

You know their are thousands of veggies one can try too. I love growing garlic and onions. They are cheap and readily available, yet growing your own is fun and easy in many places. I gave up on lettuce because the store lettuce is better. Now home grown Arugala is strong, and excellent. Better than store bought! Herbs too are so awesome home grown.
I sorta gave up on melons some work fine here, but they are not easy for me. And the yields are low. I bet I could make some work with decent yields, but have little interest in melons.
Sweet corn has been great.

Yes, I do! This is for advanced gardeners only. I have had luck doing it myself and will continue to push. I try to find the extreme hardy versions of fruit and some exist, like I’ll be trying pecans that are just barely hardy here, but should be fine if they can have a few good years when young. Also I found a black mulberry that grows at a colder latitude than mine. I had to reach all the way to Bulgaria to get it, but I got it! All other known cultivars will not grow here, and this may not either, but it is hardy enough to try. It’s with my figs for now. I will experiment with in ground plants with grafts from the mother tree kept protected.

I myself also just plain like growing things, I have been growing cacti for 43 years as I just like them and so easy to grow.

I like breeding plants too, I now have 2 raspberry cultivars, Andrea, a yellow, and Irene, a pink. I plan to work more on breeding in the future.

Well good luck, and yes switching to things that work inspire you, and is much more rewarding, so good luck on your growing quest! The more things you kill, the better gardener you’ll be!


I’m ditching figs as well. And Johnson grass.


Melons of any kind. Take up too much room, hard to figure out when to pick them on the rare occasion when one gets properly ripe, and even when it all works out mine don’t seem to be as good as the bigger, sweeter ones I can find roadside stands for a few bucks all summer long. Also cabbage. Sooooooo much work trying to keep the bugs away- and they are dirt cheap and just as good at the grocery store.


This is a great post. Especially seeing I’m getting a chance to start over with my gardens this year. After reading all this, I’m not going to put anything in initially to zone push. I’m moving up two zones so anything I wanted to push here would grow fine where I’m going anyway. I’m going to assume SWD is going to be my enemy, and only choose fruits that produce early. Goodbye fall raspberries (which never did good for my up here in zone 4b anyway). I’m going to give up my apple orchard idea until I find out if that’s feasible where I am going. The one I had been starting here was a bigger project than I initially anticipated. I did enjoy the grafting part, I’d like to do more of that in the future. Maybe 4 apples varieties for the garden to start and see if that’s enough for me. I’m afraid my haskaps are not going to thrive in my new zone 6b. I’ll be sad if I can’t have those. I won’t bring the Nankings with me, I also prefer the dwarf cherries. My blueberries told me they were not happy here by dying… so I’m not sure if I want to try some in my new location or not. Again, great post for thoughts on what I’m going to do next!

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Taking out the Asian plums - hoping to spare the Euro plums from the black knot. Also I find I really don’t like Asian plums so well

In the vegetable garden, giving up zucchini. It produces well, but far more than we can use, and takes up so much space

On zone pushing - I’ll never take out the cots. They fruit more often than not, and it’s totally worth it when they do. The nects - I’ll have to see if the trees live after this winter.


I also agree with the frustrations of “zone pushing,” but in my climate it’s for the opposite reason to most… we are so hot and dry in May and June that many non-native trees are stressed significantly, resulting in fruit damage or drop. The most problematic fruits are soft-skin stonefruit (peaches, plums, apricots, hybrids).

I’ve begun to remove late-ripening varieties of apple, peach, plum, and hybrids, and started grafting in early ripeners. The early ripeners are ready in early June, which has helped a lot!

On a separate note, I had been planning for the past few years to remove my Minnie Royal and Royal Lee cherries. However, now in their 8th leaf, they may be synching their blooms for the first time! If that’s the case, I will be VERY glad I didn’t remove them.

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what is the cultivar of mulberry you have? i have a russian unnamed cultivar that id like to graft on. i remember irene. how are the fruit and is it still florocane producing?

I’m slowly removing my fall raspberries also . they produce so late a lot of the crop is lost here.going to add some eden , cascade gold and squamish to replace them. more work for pruning but at least ill get a full crop. anyone interested in polka, autumn britten,and jaclyn starts let me know in mid may and ill send you some before i pull them.


The fruit is excellent as good as any I have tried. And no it developed fruit in the fall last year, it did not the first year. But it was so late none ripened at all. Still this is a young plant, so see what happens this year But yeah it is everbearing which makes sense as both parents were. Which were Polka, and Anne as the mother. Fruit is medium sized not large.
The yellow is too new to tell much about it except the fruit it produced last year was really good. probably everbearing. But your need for summer bearing (A good idea!) makes me want to develop one now. I’m thinking Taylor x Cascade Gold. Some say Taylor is the best tasting Raspberry and Cascade Gold is just awesome, not the best grower though! It is a yellow, but not translucent, a solid yellow color, very unique. Turns reddish when fully ripe.

It is a Morus Nigra which are usually harder to zone 7 and don’t grow well there as most cultivars sold are from zone 9. The tree in Bulgaria is dying and to survive produced both male and female flowers and I got seed from it. So all genetics is from this lone tree. No mulberries anywhere close as no nigras except this one tree grow in zone 6, It is in zone 6 and more northern than my location, but it does get colder here than there. So I need to protect the tree at least when it is young. It could be a male too. I have another, only 2 seeds sprouted, the other looks dead, never grew past 3 inches. the one I have is now 1 foot tall, It is called Tsarigradska mulberry seedling from Vratsa Bulgaria.

What I will do is protect my mother tree in the garage with the figs which do great there. And harvest scion and put on Russian rootstock. Grow two years with protection in the garage then the 3rd spring plant out and see once bigger, if it can survive. I will use a 20 gallon root pouch the first two years and move to protect from the harsh winter till it is bigger.
If you zone push, you have to know what you’re doing and why… I feel chances are decent it will work. If if doesn’t work I’ll do a backup and both trees will live their lives out in containers and protected in winter, and I’ll still get the world’s best fruit as many claim Morus nigra is.
Well if I don’t have a male. If I do I will first cross with one of our Nigra cultivars. that should delay me a decade! Ah the life of breeding plants requires patience. Instant gradification and gardening rarely go together.

I can say i doubt I will be able to harvest any scion till 2020. If it works good scion will be offered here.


I’ve given up on Gooseberries. As expected, they don’t like the severe heat we get in the Cali valley in the summers. But I’ll keep planting them even though I’ve given up the idea of ever get something. I just love them so much.

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if you find out how to rid yourself of Johnson grass please post the recipe!!!