Vegetables and Fruit forum: How to choose fruit trees

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Feb 18, 2014 3:55 PM CST
I want to plant some apples, peaches, an apricot and a pear maybe some cherries. What is the difference between self pollinating and the ones that need a pollinator. Well, besides the obvious--does one kind have more or better fruit than the other? There are 5 in our family, will a dwarf fruit tree produce enough for us? Are there certain things I need to look for? I don't know anything really about fruit trees. I don't have alot of space though so nothing too large. I like cherries, but was hoping to find something naturally sweet. My MIL has some cherry trees, but the fruit is so sour it takes a load of sugar to make it edible. Are there sweet cherries?

I posted this in the trees and shrubs forum but it isn't very busy over there right now.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Feb 18, 2014 5:47 PM CST
Maybe farmerdill or shoe will shed some light. The only thing I know for sure is that those you mentioned have "winter chill" requirements (which is why I can't grow most of them), and the sour cherries aka pie cherries are usually a pollinator for the sweet cherries.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Feb 20, 2014 12:52 PM CST
Generally trees that have a stone, like peaches and apricots are self fertile, but not always, that means that the bees can carry the pollen from one bloom on the tree to another bloom on that tree, and it will produce fruit. It doesn't affect the taste of the fruit. Apple trees usually need another variety to cross with that blooms about the same time. Most pears need another variety to cross with. There are a couple of sweet cherries that are self fertile, the Stella, and Lapins. Of the two I'd recommend the Lapins. I have a Stella, and it seems to be susceptible to some diseases. If you don't have a lot of room, you can plant a dwarf about 15 feet apart. They are easier to prune, and spray, and you can pick the fruit without a huge ladder. If you do a lot of canning, and preserving, then you might want larger trees. But if you use the fruit fresh, you might not want large trees. Here is a link to Grandpa's orchard. It is a great place to buy quality trees, and there's a lot of information as well. They give you a lot of information about the growing zones, and desease susceptiblity, good keeping fruit, etc.
These are the apples off one standard size tree (Bonnie Best variety) I really like these Bonnie Best apples, they make the best pies, and apple sauce of any. They keep fairly well too. The only place you can get this variety is from Jung Seeds and Plants here in Wisconsin. I had picked a quite a few of these and gave them away before I finished picking, so this isn't all of them.

These Granny Smiths came off of one Semi Dwarf tree.

These peaches came off of one Contender Standard size tree, which I keep pruned down a lot to avoid high ladders. Most peaches require thinning, or you get small fruit.

Good Luck!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
[Last edited by tveguy3 - Feb 20, 2014 1:05 PM (+)]
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Feb 20, 2014 3:57 PM CST
ok thanks for the link, I will check that out. I guess I thought they would need two trees, but didn't realize it would need to be a different variety. I'm not very bright lol
Your peaches look yummy!

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