My sister, who has only basic gardening experience, is moving to Lancaster, KY in a couple of months. She has asked me for recommendations on fruit tree varieties.
I’ve lived on the west coast most of my life and have no idea what grows well in KY.
–What types of fruit will grow there?
–What varieties and rootstocks are recommended for the area?
She also needs shrubs for a hedgerow to block the view from the road. Any recommendations would be welcome. They don’t need to be fruit-bearing.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Pawpaws, of course! Any variety. Check out the Pawpaw Varieties thread perhaps.
Cliff England has a very nice orchard not far from there… he can be reached by phone or a visit…depending on health. I talked to him and he is selling fruit trees this coming fall.
Peaceful Heritage Nursery is also very near and he seems like a helpful guy.
I visited Lancaster alot in my college days…very nice place.
This place is definately worth a visit for you and her alike… great food and atmosphere is stunning.
I’m 200 miles west of Lancaster, but here’s my list - mostly no-spray:
Apples(though you’ll absolutely have to spray if you want to approach even ‘decent’ fruit quality) pears, persimmons - American & hybrids; possibly some Asians, pawpaw, jujubes, mulberries, stonefruits(though I’ve abandoned all except native Chickasaw plums), blueberries, gooseberries, strawberries, Aronia.
Pecans, hickories, black walnuts, heartnuts/buartnuts, chestnuts, Carpathian walnuts, hazels.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten something… but others will weigh in.
The guide that University of Kentucky publishes is a fairly good start: https://www.uky.edu/hort/sites/www.uky.edu.hort/files/documents/HortFact3003.pdf
@Lucky_P Did you try planting wild american plum? I’m curious, because I just planted some for wildlife for the second time. The first time I did nothing to protect them. I’m not sure if they were eaten or were outcompeted. This time I fenced some and planted in tree tops I cut. I’m hoping I’ll get some started, but maybe I should have used chickasaw plums instead.
On another note, I have a few varieties of apples. A couple, Liberty and Arkansas Black, produced for the first time last year. Something stole the Liberty. I got the AB, but my daughter took that before it had time to properly ripen. Both looked good and were no spray. A few of my other varieties had a slight bit of Cedar Apple Rust, but wasn’t bad by any means.
I am in 6b (VA not KY) and moved from CA and so far my experiences are similar to a lot of the 7a mid-atlantic folks who post a ton but I am a week or two behind. (eg. scottfsmith, TNhunter, sockworth).
I think it’s worth asking how much work she’s willing to put in, how much she’s willing to spray, etc. My big shock moving from CA to VA was how easily everything here grows. Plants here just… grow… I don’t have to really water them, coddle them, etc. The problem is that things you don’t want also grow really well here: bugs, weeds, fungus. Look away and your lawn has completely overgrown!
For example, my orchard was neglected for several years (I bought the property from an elderly woman whose husband died several years before she sold the property and she couldn’t keep it up). Despite having 60+ fruit trees I got zero fruit my first year. Most of the pears trees had lost all their fruit and leaves by mid summer having been destroyed by insects. All the apples have cedar apple rust and I’m sure other pests. I can’t tell you what happened to the peaches because I only just found most of the peach trees (that part of the orchard was literally buried in an autumn olive overgrowth).
If she has only basic gardening experience and isn’t sure how much effort she wants to put in, she should try a couple trees or bushes of some fruit she really likes that isn’t apricot, plum, citrus, or tropicals. I’m sure we could nix some other things dependent on soil, etc. (Where I am it is not possible to grow blueberries even though they’re generally recommended around here, because I have very alkaline soil). I say she should pick something she likes because I am interested in growing peaches, even though they’re a lot of work and new to me, because I really, really like them.
She should also plan on buying a nice zero turn mower. It was one of the best things someone told me to do. I didn’t realize how well grass and weeds grew. I was like “can’t I just use a 3 point mower and a tractor plus a push mower for around the small stuff?” answer: “sure but your life will be sooo much better if you get a dedicated zero turn”. I took the advice and I’m glad I did - I use the thing ALL THE TIME. It’s not like CA where I can forget to mow for a while and everything is fine.
Around here, most people use arborvitae or holly for hedgerows. They’re kind of boring but they work well and grow relatively quickly.
I bought a bundle of row-run P. Americana seedlings 20+ yrs ago for a grafting experiment.
All survived, and half are still in the nursery row where they were lined out, with some Nanking cherries.
Both the plums and cherries (Nanking is actually more closely related to plums than to true cherries) bloom, but fruit sparingly, if at all. Vastly inferior, in my experience, than my local Chickasaw plums.
Dang, i wish i would have gotten chickasaw plums now.
Winter honeysuckle does the job admirably. Not fruit-bearing, but produces fragrant flowers, and I’ve seen absolutely no evidence of invasiveness here (unlike more aggressive honeysuckles, such as Amur and Japanese, which are everywhere).