Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our fruit trees

When we purchased our current home in the summer of 2009, there was an existing home orchard near the house containing 8 older fruit trees and 2 regrowth areas where there had obviously been a fruit tree that had died back. These fruit trees had been neglected for at least several years, and due to the timing of when we got possession, although all or nearly all had flowers and then fruit when we first visited the property, only the apple trees and the pear tree still had small hard fruit by harvest time. We had other priorities that first summer (making the house interior livable and starting a small vegetable garden) thus we didn't take time to water the trees, although it is likely that by the time (mid July) that we got possession, the fruit for that summer was already doomed. We were able to tell what most of the trees were that first summer though, and 2010 allowed us to get a more complete tally of what we had:

 2 apple trees, one greenish, one reddish.
1 pear (likely a bosc type)
1 pie cherry
1 apricot
1 plum
2 unknown at this time
2 unknown regrowth at this time

The reason there are still two full grown trees that we aren't completely positive what they are is that in spring 2010 we had a late hard frost that killed some of the blossoms, and the cold temperatures around that hard frost likely kept pollinators away from what we later realized was a very important pollination time for our trees. This late frost meant we had fruit on only 4 of our 8 trees - the plum and pie cherry had plenty of fruit, and both apples had some fruit.

However, after being neglected for so long, the pie cherries had a cherry fruit fly infestation so I had to remove and freeze all of the fruit in an attempt to stop their reproductive cycle (I will do the same next year although as there was no fruit in 2009 we may be ok - they can survive up to 2 years in the ground). Apart from becoming a bit over-ripe before I got the plums picked (with Little M gardening was often a challenge in 2010!), they were quite tasty, and a lady I work with made plum jam with what we picked. Although we watered every other day, I don't think the apples got quite enough water, as they never really got good, even after some light frosts. I'll have to do a better job of watering next summer!

In our small orchard there are now 2 rows of old trees, and also one row of new young trees. We planted these in 2010, some in the spring, and some in the fall. There is a Bing Cherry, a Polly Peach,  an Early 8-ball Peach, a D'Anjou Pear, and a Rubymac Apple. You may also have noticed that there is a grassy section (new this fall) at the end of my garden that is now incorporated within the garden fence, that has 2 more fruit trees - both apples - a Cortland and a Jonagold.
some of our 'unusual birds'!

This coming spring we plan to trim the trees, as we didn't get a chance with all that was going on this spring. In the meantime, though, all the overgrown branches are serving another purpose this winter. I have 2 bird seed feeders and one suet feeder hanging on one of the apples which is closest to the house. We keep an eye out for unusual birds, and have been very happy with the enhanced cover the overgrown trees provide!

1 comment:

  1. Once your fruit starts to ripen, you may become a magnet for bears. We did, when we tried to bring the apple orchard back and boy, did they wreck the trees.
    Sounds like a great list and I look forward to progress reports this spring and summer.
    How about a bee hive? I'm sure you'ld get great advice.


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