When buying fruit trees, what are your go-to companies, and which do you avoid?
What species of trees, specifically, are you looking to buy and how many of each? These answers will drastically alter my suggestions.
Edit: Other pertinent information is how long do you want to wait for fruit (bench grafts are cheaper but take longer) and do you NEED grafted trees or are you planning to use rootstock and scions?
Check out the nursery list here:
Usually, if you search for a nursery name plus “garden watchdog” or “scoop” you can get a good idea from the Dave’s Garden website. Just bear in mind people are more likely to lodge a complaint than a compliment. And for the love of all that is holy, do not buy anything from TyTy.
what do you want to grow and how much room do you have?
given you are in New England, Fedco would likely be a good option for you.
if you want Grapes, Double A Vineyards has been solid for me in the past.
I have 3/4 of an acre, backing up to 10 more wooded acres.
Here’s my current plan, though it’s updated as I go through my books this winter:
Pawpaws (I’m on the Peaceful Heritage waitlist) - this is my top priority
Blueberries (I have 2 planted already) - this is my husband’s top priority
Passionfruit, cold hardy (already bought from P Heritage, just itching to get her started!)
Honeyberry / haskap
June berry / saskatoon
I would plant a pre-grafted self-pollinating apple to see if it would take - I’m not up to grafting yet, so would want one pre-done
Maybe jujube down the line?
I’m looking at Javid almonds, and was just wondering if there is a cold-hardy pistachio. (That’s more year 3-5.)
I have good sources for native flowers, and picked some stuff up at Peaceful Heritage. I’ve found some of the above online but not sure how reputable these guys are:
One Green World
[Edit: answered in the reference]
Thanks for the link!
I’m embarrassed, I missed that there’s a reference section. I’ll go root around in there before asking more newbie questions.
Appreciate all the help, y’all. I’m getting excited about what 2022 may bring, at least fruit wise.
Ohhh Fedco, I am so bookmarking them!
I had forgotten about wild raisin. I saw that in a Massachusetts native plant preserve.
I’ve ordered from starks before, some blueberries and currants. They are expensive but all the plants are on there second winter and doing fine. After finding this forum I try to support smaller operations and had a good experience with fruit ridge nursery for apple scions and rootstocks. Just last month I made a big rootstock and scion purchase from burnt ridge nursery. They have a YouTube channel I find entertaining and I think they have a good reputation. Derek at Hocking Hills Orchard has alot of hard to find apple varieties I’m trying out this year too.
Hey, if you don’t know, you don’t know! All the nurseries you listed are great. England’s is taking a (hopefully) temporary hiatus from selling grafted trees for at least this year. Fedco is also great, but I haven’t ordered from their trees division yet.
A word of caution on some of your selections: just because something is hardy up here doesn’t mean it will produce. The amount of summer heat and length of growing season are at least as important as hardiness zone. Pistachio almost certainly won’t work, almonds may or may not (at least some do, there are some fruiting in my neighborhood), and hardy passion fruit might be iffy. That being said, feel free to experiment and prove me wrong! Sometimes the only reason something is said to not work is because no one’s tried it.
One Green World seems to have stocked up heavily on Pawpaw’s this year. I suppose in response to the pandemic shortages. Last I looked they had well over a hundred each of most types of pawpaws (with a few notable exceptions including Susquehanna). They’re very small ones in 4-in pots. But given they’ve completely sold out the last two springs that’s not surprising. Overall I’ve had good experiences with One Green World in the past few years, and would definitely recommend them.
HoneyberryUSA, is great for, well, honeyberrues. Indiana Berry is pretty good for most other berries.
I ordered a variety of trees here last year and all survived so far. They are responsive to email requests as well.
The two pawpaws were slow to wake but did around late June after being planted in April. I also have a nanking cherry, cornelian cherry, goumi and medlar. The medlar and pawpaws were the smallest around a foot to start.
Pistachio are not very cold hardy. The most cold hardy are zone 7. Alpine strawberry are easy to find. I like Nourse farms. Stark Bros are great but prepare for small plants.
Stark Bros are hassle free with their warranties too. they will credit you quickly without asking you to jump through hoops. I have found OGW to be hit and miss. All the jujubes i have ordered from there have done well, but only 1 persimmon from there has survived so far (3 dead). I ordered another and am waiting to see how it fairs as it was planted this fall. 2/4 Figs from them didn’t make it either.
When it comes to mail order, i do believe that less time in the mail leads to greater success, when i lived in NE, i think i lost 1/30 trees from Start Brothers. Now that i am in Texas (also a learning curve for my new environment), i lost 4/8 initial trees from them.
I won’t order from RainTree nursery again unless i have absolutely no other options for this very reason. They wait to ship until is too hot to be planting bare root trees in my area. I get their reasoning, they don’t want it to be too cold in transit, but it causes the timings to not work out. This is one reason for my recommendation of Fedco.
Unfortunately, without a large greenhouse to keep it in, you would now be able to grow pistachio (as others have said).
Maypop (the cold hardy relative to passion fruit) can get invasive once it establishes. I could never get it to establish in Zone 5b, even though everywhere i saw that sold it says it is hardy to zone 5. I have gown it down here for a few years, though only ever gotten 2 fruits from it (lots of pretty flowers and the wasps love them). The taste is a bit different than standard passion fruit, not bad at all, just don’t expect it to taste the same.
The multi-graft trees are an excellent way to go (IMO). Willis Orchards sells Multi-Grafted apple and pear trees. I have not had an issue with them, but i know there are lots of negative reviews. You can also buy larger trees from them, the larger trees can save you some time (before production).
Have you tasted sea buckthorn or saskatoon? I am not a fan of these and wouldn’t plant them unless you just intended them as wildlife food. Have you considered gooseberry bushes as well?
Thanks! That’s very helpful!
I had been wondering how distance impacted survival.
No, I haven’t tasted a lot of the more obscure fruits, I’m not sure how to when the supermarket only has a few things. I could drive a bit to an Indian grocery, and need to look for an Asian grocery. (But I don’t mind making fruit for birds and critters.)
I was worried about maypop’s invasiveness. I don’t want my neighbors hating me (though… they have poison ivy all over).
From what I’ve read, you can contain it fairly easily with a rhizome barrier. As for trying some of the obscure fruits, search around on this forum and see if you can find anyone growing things you want to try, then ask around. I’ve found people to be exceedingly generous with letting me come and sample some fruits. Seaberries are more popular with the permaculture crowd, so you might have better luck on the permies forum. They do need a male and female plant to produce, and reading between the lines of glowing reviews I’ve determined they’re squarely in the “processing” category of fruits rather than for fresh eating. Very strong flavored and the juice needs to be blended and/or sweetened. The juice also has a high oil content that separates out readily. That could be useful if it stores reasonably well and can be used for cooking, but I haven’t seen any reports on that. I mostly see it used for cosmetics.
I used to be big on the seaberry train and couldn’t wait to plant some. Now I’m much less bullish on the idea. Most of their positive attributes are either wild and unsubstantiated medical/wellness claims or are better accomplished with other fruits that have a more balanced flavor profile. It seems the biggest thing they have going is “more vitamin C than an orange” and antioxidants. The thing is, oranges have plenty of vitamin C, and there’s no benefit whatsoever to increased amounts, and if you’re eating pretty much any kind of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, you’re getting plenty of antioxidants. I could really see the benefit on a marginal site where other things won’t grow well (coastal sand, perhaps?), but I think you’ll get more bang for your buck with blueberries, honeyberries, etc. I might still stick some in somewhere if I can find a spot. I think Aronia would be a good alternative. I personally find them tasty (many would say I’m nuts), and they’ll grow well in most soil types in New England.
I’ll look up rhizome barriers, thanks!
I was looking at sea buckthorn as an edible nitrogen fixer in a fruit tree guild, that I saw grows well in the Ontario area (colder than New England). But I’m also looking at fava beans and goumi berries for that. The downside of fava is it’s not perennial.
I appreciate your sharing your experience and interpretations. That’s really helpful.
Is there a permaculture forum here? That’s what I’m looking to do.
The descriptions of aronia make me think it’s not for me. I hate the tannin feel of red wine.
https://permies.com/ is the one I’m aware of. There are a number of permaculture enthusiasts on growingfruit, but it’s not really the focus. My two cents is that there are some good aspects to permaculture, but its potential is way overpromised, and many permaculture boosters tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater regarding more “traditional” plantings. So, go ahead and read deep into it, but maintain a bit of skepticism. There’s a lot of snake oil mixed in with the good medicine.
Early in the season they can be rather tannic, but they’re not bad later. Maybe as much tannin was green tea. And I think the tannins must respond to freezing like persimmons do, because the frozen ones I’ve had have very mild tannins and taste kind of like a sweet beet/berry combo.
Sea Buckthorn is a tart, boldly flavored fruit that may be an acquired taste for most people (has overtones of cantaloupe). Thorns make harvest tricky. It also sends out runners. I grew it for about ten years, enjoyed the juice.