Old Timey Fruit Trees for Deep South

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by JawjaBoy, Oct 13, 2017 at 5:14 AM.

  1. JawjaBoy

    JawjaBoy Cultured Redneck

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    I've looked but haven't found anything so I figured I'd ask and see if anyone had some answers.

    Most all my life I've seen pear trees around old farm houses with large, hard, but very sweet fruit. Does anybody know what variety of pears these are? Also, I've seen a good number of apple trees around my area. The fruit are usually green, fairly small and quite tart. Again these are usually around old farm houses. Any ideas as to what kind they are?

    I'm in South Georgia just north of Vidalia, solidly in zone 8b, but I would love to see about getting some of these old timers to plant around our place. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. CIW

    CIW Well-Known Member

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    Aren't paw paw fruit grown over that way. I have a friend in southern Kentucky that has several. Maybe your too far south.
     

  3. Lookin4GoodLife

    Lookin4GoodLife Well-Known Member

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  4. ldc

    ldc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm also in Zone 8b here in Baton Rouge, and I've seen (and eaten!) that type of green apple and pear. Some were growing in the LSU horticulture demo garden from a long time ago. The green apples are an early summer type, with pears ripening in Aug/Sept. No one on staff knew what type they were. For many years there were also peaches and plums, which died a few years ago. I did see some plum trees advertised in a penny paper from Mississippi; they tasted like apricots! Maybe check the penny papers for your area...
     
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  5. JawjaBoy

    JawjaBoy Cultured Redneck

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    That sounds about right on ripening times. If nothing else I'm tempted to try to get ahold of some fruit from a couple of trees I know of around some derelict old farms and try to grow them from seed. But that's a heck of a job and I'd rather get trees to plant if I can.
     
  6. JawjaBoy

    JawjaBoy Cultured Redneck

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    Thank you! I hadn't thought of that but I'll definitely give them a call. I'm actually in Emanuel county, about 25 miles from Vidalia. But while nobody has ever heard of Stillmore, everybody's heard of Vidalia!
     
  7. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Apples and pears are unique in that they do not reproduce exactly from seed. They end up being some sort of, often inferior, cross. So your grown from seed idea is flawed.
    Most apple tree varieties require a cold period in order to produce fruit. You will need to locate varieties known to not require that cold period.
    You can select rootstocks suitable to your area and collect scions from the proper varieties prior to spring time bud swell and carefully graft onto your rootstocks. Scion is budstock from this year's growth. Often old homestead trees are barely living and not much new growth. Heavily pruning those homestead trees will promote lots of new growth next year and then the following winter, you'll have good scions to use.
    If you know the variety, several places sell scions, including the USDA. Order them now for spring delivery.
     
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  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Most likely you see a lone old pear tree out in field somewhere in south it is a Kieffer. Very resistant to fireblight. Its a cross between European pear and Asian sand pear. There were other such crosses. One called Orient and one called Warren. But several more existed at one time. Maybe one called Pineapple? Kieffer was however most popular. Be careful buying Kieffer, I have two that are very large and dont produce pears, just these weird little nubbins. I think they were mislabelled and some sort of decorative pear. Very disappointing as they are very nice looking trees and getting large at this point.

    Pristine is modern variety, but great summer apple for the south. Resistant to just about everything and grows fast. I suggest growing it on either seedling rootstock or Antanovka rootstock unless you are so limited on space you need dwarf rootstock. I have had very good luck with Antanovka rootstock here in south. Its full size. Usually used in north cause the extra deep roots tolerated cold better. For me I have very dry summers, and it tolerates that well. Antanovka can be grown as an ungrafted tree also, produces a soft yellow apple that doesnt keep very long. Traditional favorite in Russia for wine and pie. Its one of the few apples that breeds nearly true from seed. Not quite as true as grafted tree, but close. It and some other historic Russian varieties were exception to usual rule of apples not breeding true.

    Will also say I've had good luck with Pixie Crunch apple and Granny Smith. Honeycrisp seems to be doing well but hasnt produced anything. Liberty looks promising. As does Anna.

    I planted some more traditional southern varieties I grafted myself. None have done super well though several still alive. Older varieties are a gamble as new diseases and such. And I am in Arkansas so less rain than folk east of Mississippi.

    Here is place that sells either grafted trees or scions for the older southern variety apples. http://bighorsecreekfarm.com/
     
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  9. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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  10. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you bought a pear tree and it only produces tiny pears, I'd suspect the graft died and you are growing a seedling rootstock.
    Don't despair. You can get a bunch of pear scions and hack the heck out of the tree and graft new varieties. It amazes me that so many people tolerate crappy apples and pears when they can graft any variety they want so easily.
     
  11. krackin

    krackin Well-Known Member

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    Would those tiny pears yield viable seed for root stock in theory? Be nice if Hermit could get something out of investment.
     
  12. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Planting the seeds of any pear variety would grow rootstock. But why? You can buy bare root rootstock about a 1/4 to 3/8 diameter for a couple bucks. Plus, it would have a known hardiness. Clearly not worth your time to nurture a dozen seedlings grown from seed for a year or two. He has a mature tree. If he cut a third of the branches off near the trunk and grafted each branch that is under an inch diameter with three scions, more scions for the larger branches. Then did another third the next year and finally finished the tree on year three, he would have a producing pear tree in the exact place of this nonproductive tree.
     
  13. Lookin4GoodLife

    Lookin4GoodLife Well-Known Member

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    Good info. I'm starting an orchard soon and going to try to go the "food forest" route. I was aware of the grafting thing, but I didn't really understand any of this until y'all explained it. Thanks for the explanation guys!
     
  14. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    No you can see the tree comes from the grafted scion, not from the rootstock.

    Pears in my experience are harder to graft than apples. The only pears worth the bother here are those sand pear hybrids that are very resistant to fire blight. Havent seen any other pear do well. Friend had a Bartlet tree. In a good year, it might produce couple pears but most of tree turns black. How it even survives is beyond me. I guess it stores up enough energy before the blight defoliates it....
     
  15. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    John; I'm in Boone county, a quarter mile from an arm of Bull Shoals Lake. Soil is rocky and sandy but reasonably productive. Summers are as you would expect, hot and dry.
    I inherited three unknown apple trees from the previous owner, two of which put on a few apples after I pruned them last fall, and I planted a Gala that is promising. I plan an Arkansas Black, which I grew in OK. Also plan a Bartlett pear or two.

    If I am close to you I might need to change that plan. Where are you in Arkansas?
    Ox
     
  16. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, if you see the graft, then I guess you are correct, it was a mistake.
     
  17. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I am in southern Washington County. You are over by Harrison? You arent that far away. Same climate anyway. Though I am like 2100 feet up on a hilltop ridge. It makes a difference. Can be raining on the county road at bottom of my driveway and snowing up at my house.

    Way I hear, the Arkansas Black does well here and good quality apple, but isnt super productive. But you would know as you said you grew it in OK. Gala maybe susceptible to fire blight, cant remember. Then again Fuji is supposed to be susceptible and I have one of those and no blight so far. I gambled on it cause there was a sale and I got it very cheap. Bartlet not a good bet, but who knows you might get lucky. There are some of the other sand pear hybrids that are softer and less gritty than Kieffer, might be worth looking. I dont mind Kieffer myself. Kieffer will soften some if you wrap individual pears in newspaper when you pick them and store in dark cool area. But I dont mind crisp myself. Kieffer is about as bullet proof of a fruit as you will find in the south. Well other than native persimmons and the like.
     
  18. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Oh two other Arkansas related apples. King David and Arkcharm. King David especially supposed to be great apple, better production than Arkansas Black. Arkcharm supposed to be maybe one of best eating apples ever, but they dont keep very long.

    The is a Texas apple called Reverend Morgan that is seedling of Granny Smith but superior eating qualities.