The Q&A Archives: Heirloom Fruit Trees

Question: My husband and I are purchasing a new house, and are interested in planting some heirloom fruit trees, especially apples and pears. What are the names of the various heirlooms, and where can I find them to purchase?

Answer: There are a mind-boggling number of heirloom apples and pears! You're best bet is to first find out which varieties are best adapted to your area. There are several sources of this kind of information: your county agricultural extension agent (ph# 307/352-6775), orchardists, farmers and gardeners in your region, and the North American Fruit Explorers (1716 Apples Rd., Chapin IL 62628; ph# 217/245-7589). Here are names of some suppliers of heirloom apples that are closest to you, geographically speaking: Greenmantle Nursery, 3010 Ettersburg Rd., Garberville CA 95542; ph# 707/986-7504; Earth's Rising Trees, PO Box 334, Monroe OR 97456-0334; ph# 541/847-5950; Sonoma Antique Apple Nursery, 4395 Westside Rd., Healdsburg, CA 95448; ph# 707/433-6420. Another supplier not listed as a specialist in heirlooms, but much closer to you climatically is Bitterroot Nursery, 521 Eastside Highway, Hamilton MT 59840; ph# 406/961-3806.

Think about these elements when choosing trees: climatic adaptation, disease resistance, mature size of trees, and how much maintenance they'll need. Best of luck to you and your antique orchard!

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