The first day of spring seemed to creep up on us here in Springfield. TN. We watched the thermometer hover just under 80 degrees. Then a day later it was 39 again. The year so far has been much like this. extreme highs and lows. which means that my free time is spent either in the garden, or on the couch planning the garden, depending on the day. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fruit trees, and the challenges associated with growing them here.
According to the University of Tennessee, Plant & Soil Science Professor David W. Lockwood, A leading authority on the subject “Many types of fruits can be grown in TN. However not all will grow and fruit consistently in all parts of the state”
Today I’ll touch on some of the tips I picked up while earning my Master Gardeners Certificate. And maybe you can learn from my challenges growing fruit trees.
Of all types of fruit available, Apples, Pears and Peaches are by far the most popular tree varieties. All of which have their challenges.
- Apples. Apples need a good, cold dormant period. Thus, they are a challenge to grow in the Volunteer state. Liberty is a good variety. choose a M or MM root stock. cross pollinate with a tree such as Golden Delicious or Winesap. In my experience, don’t expect anything for several years. Then “prune to the leader and pray!”
- Peaches. although our neighbor to the south, Georgia, is famous for them, Peaches are a challenge here. Unlike apples, where our dormant season is not cold enough, often it is too cold for peaches! frustrating, I know. Red Haven and Elberta are good varieties and there is no need for cross pollination. Pick a Lovell rootstock. You should see your first production in 4-5 years.
- Pears. The easiest to grow here. They need a moderately chilly dormant period and a warm spring for blooming. These are the typical conditions that we tend to see here. Plant 2 varieties for pollination. Do not cross Asian and European varieties. I like Moonglow & Ambrosia. Both good fresh and for canning.
Thanks for stopping and Happy Gardening!