Fruit Trees can be broken down into 2 categories:
Self Fruitful or Self-Pollinating
Cross Pollination is not essential but does improve the number of fruit
- ex. Apricots, European Plums (such as 'Damon', 'Green Gage', 'Italian' & 'Stanley'), Prunes, Tart Cherries (such as 'Montmorency'), Peaches & Nectorines.
Self-unfruitful or Needs Cross Pollination
Cross pollination from one or more compatible cultivars is essential for Apples, Pears, most Sweet Cherries (except 'Stella' & 'Compact Stella'), and most Japanese Plums.
Pollen is primarily transferred by honeybees so plant trees 100 feet or less apart.
Below are Cross Pollination Charts for Apples, Pears, Sweet Cherries and Japanese Plums.
Apple Cultivar Cross Pollination Chart
Pear Cultivar Cross Pollination Chart
Sweet Cherry Cultivar Cross Pollination Chart
Japanese Plum Cultivar Cross Pollination Chart
General Fruit Tree Pruning Instructions
Always use sharp shears or saws so your cuts are clean. Use pruning shears on young trees and limbs less than 1/2 inch diameter, and lopping shears for your bigger cuts. For mature fruit trees, use a pruning saw.
Begin by removing dead wood and broken branches. Then cut out any wood that crosses or rubs against any other branches. This opens up the middle so the sun can get to all the fruit.
Make your cut close to a bud, to a joint in the branch, or to the trunk; never leave a stub. The pruning cut should be just above a bud. Make the cut at a backwards angle of about 30 degrees.
Prune stems just above a pair of opposing strong shoots or buds. If shoots or buds are staggered, choose a strong one and prune just above it.
Keep more horizontal branches, and prune more vertical branches.
Remove suckers (shoots) from around the base of the tree.
Get rid of all debris which can harbor pests and disease.
You'll want to follow a few specific fruit tree pruning instructions for different types of fruit trees. For instance, apple trees need a different pruning system than peach trees. Here are the basics:
The Central-Leader System:
This is used for pruning apple trees, pear trees, and sweet cherry trees. A "central leader" is the main stem or trunk of the tree from which other lateral branches develop.
Fruit tree pruning instructions for this method are based around thinning the lateral branches.
The Open-Center System:
Used for peach tree pruning, as well as pruning plum trees, nectarine trees, apricot trees and sour cherry trees where there is no dominant, vertical trunk (central leader).
Open center fruit tree pruning instructions are based around three or four main limbs set at wide angles with about five lesser branches on each.
The Modified-Leader System:
Mostly used for nut bearing trees, this can also be applied when pruning apple trees and pear trees. Modified-leader fruit tree pruning instructions are based upon giving the central leader and three or four lateral branches equal importance.
What to Prune
- One of the most difficult parts of pruning a fruit tree is deciding what branches to remove. Any diseased or damaged branch is the first candidate for removal. Diseased or infected branches serve little or no beneficial purpose to the tree and, unless the infection can be handled without significant injury to the tree, these branches only take energy from the tree that could be of more use elsewhere. Next, the gardener or landscaper must decide what his ultimate goal is and work from there. If you are pruning to limit height, topping off the tall vertical branches is next. However, if your goal is to prune for strength and vitality, the gardener or landscaper should target weak branches that are impeding or shading other more fruitful branches. As a rule, horizontal branches are more fruitful while vertical branches are more vegetative. However, a good combination of both is necessary for hardy fruit production.
- There are many reasons to prune a fruit tree. Some gardeners and landscapers choose to prune their fruit trees for safety or aesthetic reasons. However, the majority of fruit tree owners prune their trees because pruning, if done correctly, can be an invigorating experience for the tree. When you prune a branch off a fruit tree, the tree diverts its energy and nutrients to a different part of the tree, causing it to grow. This process is why pruning a fruit tree is often considered an invigorating process, no matter how ironic it might seem to call it such.
Fruit Trees we'll have in stock!
All Semi Dwarf
CortlandAfter the many attributes of Mcintosh were discovered, plant breeders began crossing it with other varieties to enhance its traits. One of the earliest was the Cortland, combined with the Ben Davis variety. Its flavor is sweet compared to McIntosh, and it has a flush of crimson against a pale yellow background sprinkled with short, dark red stripes and gray-green dots.Cortland has very white flesh and is an excellent dessert apple.
Unfortunately the visual appeal is not matched by the flavor. Red Delicious has a sweet but very mild flavor, somewhat reminscent of a pear. The flesh is juicy and has a light crispness. The skin can be quite tough. Overall Red Delicious can be quite a refreshing apple to eat.
Yellow Delicious is a large, yellowish-green skinned cultivar and very sweet to the taste. It is prone to bruising and shriveling, so it needs careful handling and storage. It is a favorite for salads, applesauce, and apple butter.
The fruit has hard, light green skin and a crisp, juicy flesh.
Granny Smiths go from being yellow to turning completely green. The acidity mellows significantly, and it then takes on a balanced flavor
The honeycrisp has rapidly become a prized commercial commodity, as its sweetness, firmness, and tartness make it an ideal apple for eating raw. It has much larger cells than most apples, which rupture when bitten to fill the mouth with juice. The Honeycrisp also retains its pigment well and boasts a relatively long shelf life when stored in cool, dry conditions
The skin is a dark red with a purplish flush. Its very firm flesh is juicy and snow white, tasting sweet with a hint of berry. This apple is preferred by many over the Mcintosh good for fresh eating, canning, cooking and drying.
The Mcintosh fruit has red and green skin, a tart flavor, and tender white flesh, and ripens in late September. Once the most popular cultivar in Eastern Canada and New England, the McIntosh is well known for the pink apple sauce the unpeeled fruit make. It is also well-suited for cider and pies.
Montmorency is the most popular sour cherry in the United States and is extensively used in cherry pies as well as in jams and preserves. It is self pollinating, and can be used as a pollinator for Bing and Black Tartarian.
The most produced variety of sweet cherry in the United States. They produce a large dark and firm fruit. Needs a pollinator montmorency or stella can be used as a pollinator.
Black Tartarian has firm, sweet, dark purplish-black fruits, smaller than 'Bing' but just as flavorful. Early bearer. Black Tartarian needs a pollinator. Montmorency or Bing can be used as a pollinator.
StellaStella cherries are a large, nearly black, richly flavored sweet cherry. Self pollinating.It is an excellent cherry for fresh eating.
These plums are all self pollinating, but will produce a higher yield of fruit with another plum variety.
Burbank plum is a medium sized blue purple fruit with yellow flesh that has a very sweet flavor. They are good for eating fresh, drying, baking and preserving. Self pollinating.
Italian Prune Plum
A self pollinating plum. The Italian Plum has medium to large fruit. These are the plums that are turned into prunes! The fruit has a dark purple skin with yellow-greenish flesh that runs dark wine color when cooked.Dried plums are known as prunes. Prunes are sweet with a thick, chewy texture. The Italian Plum makes a delicious sweet prune when dried.
Italian plum fruit separates freely from the pit. The large, freestone purple plums are very sweet, perfect for drying, eating fresh, or canning.
Stanley Prune Plum
A self pollinating plum. Blue medium sized oval, freestone fruit. Best for fresh eating, cooking, canning and drying. Makes a sweet prune.
- Almost 1/3 of the United States is covered by forests! And forests cover 41% of the land in the state of Idaho. About 90% of Idaho's land that was covered by forests in the year 1630 is still covered by forests.
- In just one year, the average American consumes enough wood and paper to make up a tree 100 feet tall and 16 inches in diameter! (For you fact fans, it breaks down to 43 cubic feet of wood and 681 pounds of paper per American per year!)
- The bristlecone pine is the oldest living tree -- one specimen is 4,600 years old!
- Trees, like people, have a natural life cycle and a finite life span. Trees grow up, grow old, and eventually die. The lifespan of a tree is influenced by a variety of natural events, including the availability of water, sun, the presence or absence of wind, fires, insects, and diseases.
- The Pacific Yew tree, which grows in northern Idaho, produces a cancer-fighting agent called "taxol." Doctors use taxol to control ovarian and other types of cancer.
- Native Americans used the western redcedar tree to make totem poles and canoes. They also wove its bark into baskets, fishing nets, and fabric!
- Chemicals and other tree components are found in many everyday products -- not just in furniture and building materials! There's some part of a tree in tires, paint, adhesives, cereals, chewing gum, hair spray, mouthwash, shampoo, toothpaste, and even Twinkies®!
The above trivia information is thanks to the Idaho Forest Products Commission. Click here to see more!