In climates that can be highly variable from year to year, experienced fruit growers know the value of crop diversity. To spread the risk of crop failure, home growers can add higher- or lower-chill varieties for their differing adaptabilities or bloom times, disease-resistant fruit types and varieties, and the widest possible range of ripening dates. An untimely summer rain that affects the crop of a variety as it begins to color and ripen might not harm the still-green crop of a variety that ripens two weeks later. In a year of atypical relative bloom times, having more than one pollenizer might save the crop of a favorite variety.
A good place to start when choosing stone and pome fruits to add might be the list of Consistently High Scoring Varieties, a tabulation of DWN fruit tasting data introduced in the 2014 Fruit Tasting Report. This select list draws from seven different fruit types plus interspecific hybrids, and includes a wide range of estimated chilling requirements and harvest dates.
For growers needing the latest bloomers, which have the best chance of withstanding hard freezes in spring, there is a new screen of the DWN Home Garden/Retail fruit varieties, Late Blooming. These are the varieties rated late and very late blooming within their fruit type, as observed at Hickman, CA.
A select group of proven varieties appear on both the late-blooming (within fruit type) and consistently high-scoring lists:
Craig's Crimson Cherry
Arctic Glo White Nectarine
Double Jewel Fruiting/Flowering Peach!
Polly White Peach
Emerald Beaut Plum
These late-harvesting selections also made the consistently high-scoring list:
Late Legrand Nectarine
Zee Glo Nectarine
Emerald Beaut Plum
Flavor Grenade Pluot®
Flavor Finale Pluot®
Favorite fruit types well-known to be widely adapted and relatively free of pest and disease problems are persimmon, jujube, pomegranate, fig and blueberry. All home fruit growers in suitable zones should consider these! Some favorite varieties are Fuyu and Giant Fuyu persimmon; Li jujube; Eversweet, Parfianka and Wonderful pomegranate; Black Mission, Chicago Hardy and Violette de Bordeaux fig.
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Short of space for adding more varieties? Many home growers have adapted the high-density planting and summer pruning methods of Backyard Orchard Culture to their particular circumstances and objectives.
Another excellent way to fit more fruit types and varieties into a small space is by planting Multiple-Budded Fruit Trees. The Variety Finder on the Where To Buy page gives retail sources for all DWN multiple-budded combinations.
last edit: February 23, 2015 2:38pm