Last time I talked about some of the fruit trees I was looking at, and discussed some of the problems. Today I’m going to list out a few specific tree configurations and talk about the pros and cons of each.
- Two Sweet Cherry Trees: I like darker sweet cherries more than the lighter ones. I could get two varieties like Bing and Black Tartarian, or similar. I’d have to do a lot of work in early spring to keep these trees safe, but I’d probably end up with a good early harvest of lots of plump dark cherries.
- One Cherry, One Peach: I’d need a self-fruitful Cherry, like a combination or a Stella. The peach could be any one of a number of freestone yellow varieties, preferably something with disease resistance. I’d have to do a lot of work to protect the cherry, and would have to hope that the birds and the bugs leave me enough at harvest time to actually do something with.
- One Cherry, One Apple: Again, I’d need a self-fruitful cherry, and I’d need a combination apple (I don’t know of any tasty self-fruitful varieties). Since I can’t pick which few varieties of apple I’d want on the tree, this is actually not a great option.
- Two Apple Trees: There are a few varieties of apples I really like: Gala, Honeycrisp, Stayman-Winesap and Granny Smith. However, they don’t all flower at the same time so an early variety (Gala) might not pollinate a later variety (Granny). Also, I think the Staymans like to have at least 2 separate pollinators, which I wouldn’t have. A Gala and a Honeycrisp tree would make for great picking in August and early September. Honeycrisp and Granny Smith would push the harvest time from September through October instead. This is a very good option, if I can figure out which varieties I want.
- Two Pear Trees: We like pears a lot, but two trees full of them might be more than we can really deal with. We love turning apples into sauce, jam, apple butter, pie filling, etc. I’d also like to start making apple juice, cider and cider vinegar, if I can get the resources together. However, not all of those recipes work well with pears (especially the softer, more delicate varieties), or we wouldn’t want to do them as much with pears as with apples. Pears are known for being among the easiest fruit trees for the backyard gardener to grow, however, so I can’t rule this option out completely. This option is definitely in the running, because of the ease of growing them.
- One Peach, One Apple: The peach would pick early, the apple (a 3-on-1) would pick later. Like the “One Cherry, One Apple” combo above, I wouldn’t have as much control over the particular apple cultivar used which makes this option less attractive.
We do have good sources of pick-your-own apples and peaches nearby, so that has to factor into our decisions to buy any trees. Next time I’ll talk about which of these possibilities we’ve decide on.