New Orchard and Pollenators

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Bresias, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. Bresias

    Bresias Restless User

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    I am planning an orchard for our property, and am researching what grows best in zone 4 (according to zone map, we are 5b, but up at 3200 feet in North Idaho, I kind of doubt it).

    What is the role of a "pollenator" type tree?

    If there is a previous post, I didn't find it, but direct me if so. Thanks
     
  2. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    Some (seems like most) fruit and nut trees need another tree to pollinate them (of the same type of tree just another variety) some trees are sterile (and so won't work as a pollinator). An example is HONEY CRISP apple, Mid season bloom; pollinated by most varieties EXCEPT Gravesntein, Bramley's seedling. Or ORCAS European Pear Early mid-season ripening. A late bloomer. Pollinate with Bosc, Comice or any other pear.

    Most good nurseries (on line as well as the catalog) will say as part of the description whether it is self fertile (example Apple COX ORANGE PIPPIN - Self Fruitful) or as the above mentions Honey Crips apple or the Orcas European Pear. Honestly, if the nursery doesn't list either, I wouldn't buy from them.

    Another thing that the great nurseries provide is if it's resistant (GOLD RUSH - The best keeping, disease resistant apple variety; ripening early Nov. It improves in quality after 2 months in storage, & keeps up to 7 months. Scab immune, resistant to mildew & fireblight. A yellow, crisp medium sized apple with an excellent flavor.
    A late bloomer, pollinates with all varieties EXCEPT early bloomers such as Gravenstein, Spartan, Lodi, Golden Russett, Liberty.)

    Another suggestion about pollination (even if you have the proper other tree or shrub) is you need something to pollinate them. I have a hive of bees (Russian) to pollinate our orchard and berry patches. (I hope to have 2 this coming year, I had 2 and lost 1.) I've read where keeping bees will increase your yeild by about 40 percent. Unless you have a neighbor (or someone within about a 3 mile radius of your orchard, I'd think about bees also.

    Have patience too... most fruit trees are at least 3 years before they start bearing.

    Pat
     

  3. Bresias

    Bresias Restless User

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    Ah, I get it. It sounds like I will just have to have a pollinator variety or a self-fruiter in the mix, like two of each fruit? Now that I think of it, the old orchard in my backyard childhood home had two of each, including two filberts, a pie cherry and a sweet cherry . There was a huge, gnarled green apple all by itself, made tons of apples, so must have been a self-fruiter, or had a friend close by. I knew ya couldn't just grab a tree from Home Depot. The research on companies and types that grow best in my zone is something to do when it is only 15 degrees out and a foot of snow on the ground.

    I also would like to have bees, was just a romantic idea, but it sounds like a very practical idea for an orchard. Good. Apparently, choosing the right kind of bees is another research project in itself. I do indeed, have the time to take my time as this is our first year.

    Honey Crisp apples can grow in zone 4. They sound like a good choice . . .
     
  4. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

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    Almost all fruit trees (there are exceptions) need cross pollination in order to fruit. For there to be pollination, the two trees (of the same type) need to be flowering at the same time. In other words, if their blossoming time is two weeks apart, you won't get much fruit. If there are other fruit trees within a few miles, the bees that pollinate can get the job done, but it's still helpful to have at least two compatible trees.

    What I used to do was to order a lot of different nursery catalogs and read them. I don't know if Bear Creek Nursery is still around, but they had a very informative and useful catalog. IIRC, it had a chart telling blossoming time, good pollinators, and other useful stuff- storage quality, etc. They carried hundreds of apple varieties and all sorts of other fruit, too, so a lot of info was covered there.
     
  5. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    I cut and pasted from Burnt Ridge Nursery (http://landru.myhome.net/burntridge/), they, Raintree (http://www.raintreenursery.com/) and Stark Brothers (http://www.starkbros.com/) show the zones, pollinators and if it's resistant or not (and what it's resistant to). I know there are other nurseries that do the same. These are the ones I deal with.

    I keep Russian bees because they are mite resistant. They aren't as productive (and I've noticed a little more aggressive than other breeds that I've kept) but well worth not having to be medicate for mites. Most of the backyard bee keepers here (and in Houston) kept bees for the honey. Most commerical bee keepers keep bees for the pollination (they "rent" the hives out, and follow spring north putting the bees in various commerical orchards as they are in bloom). While honey is valuable to us, it is a "just" a by product.

    Pat
     
  6. Bresias

    Bresias Restless User

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    That is a good point about the blossoming time. How fascinating, and complicated all of this is.

    I have been ordering catalogues, have about three requested. Looking at mainly cold climate caterers.

    I looked up Bear Creek Nursery, and unfortunately they closed in 2001.

    Chamoisee: you are in Idaho: what usda zone would you say you live in? North ID is so hilly with lakes, mountains and river valleys that the maps are not all that helpful. You have experience with the climate, would love to hear if your able to do well with fruit trees.
     
  7. Bresias

    Bresias Restless User

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    I ordered a catalogue from Raintree nurseries, so thanks for that. Stark Bros website is under construction :( and Burnt Ridge looks like it doesn't exist anymore.

    I'll check the Bee forum here, too. We have giant bumblebees native and happy in colder climes, big black things I actually saw flying around albeit verrry slllowwwlly in 40 degree weather. They aren't much for honey, but are good pollenators, or so the info says, if I am getting it right.

    I'd love to produce a little honey and beeswax, too, if there is a bee type that can thrive in short warm seasons. I'll have fun looking that up, too.

    Thanks for your info, very much.
     
  8. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    I got the bad address on Burnt Ridge also. I just cut and pasted the address line. Anyway here it is again, (and this time I did test it sorry!) http://landru.myhome.net/burntridge/

    Russian Bees are named Russian because that’s where they are from. (I believe from the Southeastern part).

    My grandfather kept bees (when I was young between 35 to 50 hives, earlier my Uncle said closer to 100 hives) in Northern Illinois (about 10 miles south of the Wisconsin border. I know there are bee keepers in Canada also.

    Pat
     
  9. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    You could also look for trees grafted with more than one variety.
    Pat What mite are you referring too? Varoa??
     
  10. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    Varoa is one of the mites can't remember off hand the 2nd one. I have a neighbor (lives within 2 miles) that brought 17 hives here when they moved. After the 1st year they were down to 3. Part of it was there is no fall honey flow here, and he stold too much, but lost several to mites too. He requeened his 3 hives with Russian queens and bought a couple Nuc's of Russian too.

    Now the new problem is Hive Beetles. I'm hoping by free ranging our birds not to have a problem with it. The beetles pupate in the ground. We have about 20 guineas and chickens, ducks, geese, heritage turkeys and Muskovy Ducks (and they've done a fantastic job on ticks, chiggers as well as flies and mosquitoes).

    We're not certified Organic (nor do we plan on ever getting the certification), but so far haven't had to use any chemicals (and plan on trying very hard on keeping it that way). Raising heritage breeds, having deversity in animals, birds and fruit as well as the more resistant varieties of fruit; as well as rotating vegatables in the garden, planting nitrogen cover crops, composting everything that rots well help us not have to use them.

    Pat
     
  11. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I heard that they closed, but I also heard that someone else bought the nursery up and reopened it. I'm not sure if this is true? Does anyone know?? The thing to do is if someone here has an old catalogue, they could photocopy or scan the page with the information on pollinators. That would be really nice. I know that my ex has an old catalog...but I don't have a scanner... We bought almost all our fruit trees from Bear creek- the prices were extremely good, so was the quality, and the selection was phenomenol, you could get so many old antique varieties and unusual trees.

    I am in zone 5. I typically try to pick thigns that are hardier than that, to be safe, but 5 is a pretty sure bet. 6 is not.

    Most apple trees wil do well here, as will most plums. The european prune plums are the most reliable, productive, and useful IMHO. Sweet cherries, haen't seem much success with, we have seen sour cherries. The only peach I can get to ripen is the siberian peach, which is tiny (smaller than a golf ball), but hey- it is a peach, up here!! Pears are generally reliable, Bartlett and Red Bartlett have both done well. Hazelnuts/filberts do well, pecans woudl not. I haven't had a lot of success with most of the alnuts, either. Some of them survived, but they just don't thrive. The hardy American chestnut did well, too.

    What els eis there? Oh, yeah...citrus has to be grown indoors!! :p
     
  12. Bresias

    Bresias Restless User

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    This is a horrible admission . . . I wish there was a smiley with bright red cheeks for embarassment and shame . . .

    Where I lived in CA was at least a zone 8. I could not beat back the tomatoes hard enough, they nearly took over the garden. I used to go out almost daily and catch suckers that seemed to grow overnight. I had an orange tree in the back yard that I rarely harvested (insert shame smiley HERE), and even more rarely pruned and cared for. Now, I hear stories of horror regarding tomatoes, so I know I must have a greenhouse.

    Chamoissee, your remark about citrus growing indoors. I figured I would never, ever have citrus again, unless the earth's poles shift and we end up in more southerly latitudes :D . But I might try a dwarf, just to be the only person up here who has an orange tree. Give me something to live and die for.

    The walnut trees up here are healthy enough, but the walnuts are very small. They taste fine, but are maybe half the size. Your words about fruit were encouraging, esp the plums. We had those in my back yard where I grew up, they make very good jelly and jams.
     
  13. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    You might consider growing crabapples as a pollinator for apples. Alot of orchardists around the northeast do that as they flower pretty heavily. Cherries you want to be careful of with another pollinator. I think that some varieties aren't compatible at all, with certain other varieties. Napolean comes to mind. but all growers and catalogues will have specific recommendations. The Ortho "all about fruit trees" is good for info on cultivars too.