Articles in Category: Fruit trees

Watering 101

on Friday, 29 May 2020. Posted in Drought tolerant, Fruit trees, New Plants

Watering Guidelines for the Rogue Valley

soaker hoseWith the temperatures rising and summer right around the corner, we thought this would be a good time to give you a little “Watering 101” overview. Watering problems are behind the overwhelming majority of the garden-related concerns we deal with here at Shooting Star. We’d love to help you avoid some of those problems this summer! Let’s start with a few basics:

--- Even if it is 100 degrees out, do not water twice a day - or even every day! Your plants can’t take up that much water; they actually shut down when it gets very hot. In addition, most plants actually need a period to dry out between waterings.

--- Frequent, shallow watering (e.g.: 10 minutes a day, every day) only encourages shallow root systems in perennials, shrubs and trees, which makes your plants even less drought tolerant!

--- Ideally your yard should have multiple irrigation zones, to accommodate different plant needs.
      • Trees should be on their own watering schedule, separate from shrubs, perennials, and lawns
      • Drought tolerant areas should be a different schedule than areas that need more water
      • Lawns should always be on their own separate watering schedule

One of the trickiest things about watering is that everything happens out of sight – under the ground – where you can’t see what’s going on. Here’s a quick little exercise that can help you get a better understanding of what’s going on below the surface. Pick an area and water on your regular schedule. Wait for about an hour after watering (to let your water soak in), and then dig down to see how far down your moisture zone extends. In general, the roots from lawns will penetrate about 6-8” into the soil; most perennials will go 2-3’; shrubs will go anywhere between 3-6’ down; and a tree’s roots are often as big below the ground as your tree is above the ground. In order water effectively, you want your water to penetrate all the way down to where those roots are. What did you learn?

Woman Watering Garden Hose.jpg.653x0 q80 crop smartSo what are our recommended watering strategies for different kinds of plants? For most perennials and shrubs: water deeply every 2-3 days for first 2-4 weeks after planting, then switch to every 3-4 days. After the first year, drought tolerant plants can usually get by with a weekly deep soak of an hour or more during the growing season. Once established, non-drought tolerant plants will generally need an hour-long deep soak twice a week. If weather is cooler, or if you have heavy clay soil, your plants will need water less often. Trees need a good deep soak upon planting, and then on average a deep soak for an hour or two once a week through the first summer. Once they are established, trees will be fine with a long, soak every two weeks. If you are watering trees with drip, consider placing multiple emitters in a ring around the tree.

Finally, retrofitting your irrigation system might sound overwhelming, but it is actually pretty easy. If you are the DIY type, the folks at Grover’s and the Grange do a good job of walking you through the process, answering your questions, and making sure you have the parts you need. If DIY just isn’t your thing, there are a number of irrigation specialists here in the Rogue Valley who can install a system that does what you needed to. Rest assured that the money you spend upgrading your irrigation system will be more than made up for by the money you save when you don’t have to continually replace dead and dying plants!

Want to learn more? Check out our Watering Guidelines for the Rogue Valley handout here.

 

It's Time for Bare Roots!

on Thursday, 02 January 2020. Posted in Edibles, Fruit trees, Classes, New Plants

Fruit Tree and Berry Season

homeWinter2017 Bare Root Fruit Trees and Berries

Foggy mornings, cold nights, soggy ground, and winter storm warnings - that means it’s a perfect time for planting bare root trees and shrubs! Our first shipments of bareroot have already arrived, so this is the perfect time to start making your 2020 fruit tree wish list.

Bare roots, for those unfamiliar with them, are dormant plants (generally fruiting trees and shrubs) that are sold with exposed roots. We hold them here at the nursery in bins filled with soil, to keep the roots from drying out. When you buy them, we dig them out, pop them into a plastic bag, and you’re on your way! And although bare roots look a little…unimpressive…at first glance, there are a lot of great reasons to consider planting a few this winter.

              Selection: You’ll find the biggest selection of fruiting trees and shrubs at this time of year - ranging from hard-to-find food plants like quince, jujube, elderberry, currants, and hops; to a larger selection of sizes (from dwarf rootstock to semi-dwarf) and varieties of fruit (five kinds of strawberries, five kinds of grapes, ten kinds of peaches and four persimmons!).

              Price: Because these are bare roots, nurseries have a lot fewer costs invested in them: no containers, no soil, no fertilizer - and they haven’t spent months (or years) caring for them as they’re growing out. Those savings are passed along to the buyer, and they can be significant.

              Mid-Winter is a great time to plant: It might seem counter-intuitive, but this is a wonderful time for planting trees and shrubs. The ground is moist and plants are dormant, so plants are far less likely to go into transplant shock than they are during warmer and drier times of the year. In addition, because the ground is soft, tree-sized holes are a lot easier to dig!

              Getting to the root of it all: Plant roots are amazing structures: they hold plants in place, pull water out of the soil, and store the nutrients plants need to grow and be healthy. And root structures are incredibly variable. Some plants produce lots of thin, fibrous roots; some rely on a long taproot; and others have root structures that branch as widely and intricately as the above-ground part of the plant. And yet, we rarely get to see them! This is probably the only time you’ll have the opportunity to see the whole plant you’re working with. And that can help give you a better understanding of what your trees and shrubs need in order to grow and thrive.

blackberriesapple treepeach

There are just a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when planting bare roots, in order to get your new plants off to the best start possible:

  • Try to get your bare roots planted within a few hours of getting them home. Your bare root plants are dormant, but they’re not indestructible. If you can’t get them planted immediately, make sure you keep roots from drying out between the time you bring your plants home and the time you get them planted.   You can keep them moist inside the plastic bag for a couple of days.  It is best to heel them into some soil or moist bark if you can’t plant them right away.
  • Hold off on fertilizing your new plants until all risk of frost has passed. Fertilizing too soon can push leaf growth before their roots have had a chance to get established. In addition, new leaves are thin and tender and can be killed by late frosts.
  • It is best to prune back the branches of your bare root tree.  You want the top of the tree to be more in line with the root system.  This will help give the roots a better chance at supporting what is up top.  Have more questions?  We can help at the nursery or come to our fruit tree pruning classes on Feb. 15th and Feb. 22nd!
  • Please feel free to ask us questions! The staff here at Shooting Star is happy to help you with suggestions about the best varieties to plant, how much space your plants will need, and what pollinizers (if any) your plants will need in order to produce fruits. We can even give you a few simple pruning suggestions to get you started on the right foot with your new plants.

The Fruits of Persia

on Thursday, 28 November 2019. Posted in Edibles, Fruit trees

Delicious Additions to Your Edible Landscape!

What do figs, pomegranates, persimmons, almonds, peaches, apricots, and grapes all have in common (aside from being delicious)? They’re part of a group we like to think of as “the Fruits of Persia’, as they all originated in the Fertile Crescent region and figure prominently in Persian cuisine.

The Rogue Valley shares several similarities with the climate of Persia: Hot summer days and cooler nights, relatively low rainfall, a long enough heat spell in summer to ripen fruits, and ample chill hours in winter. Thus, it makes sense that many of our favorite fruits come from this rich and abundant area of the world. In fact, the word ‘paradise’ has a Persian root, meaning walled garden. This year, let’s create our own paradise of luscious fruits!
 
figsFigs
Love our hot summers
Very traditional in Persian and Mediterranean cuisine
Best flavor when picked very ripe and soft to the touch
Choose early ripening or two-crop varieties
Appreciate a well-drained soil
 
PomegranatePomegranates
Thought to be the ‘apple’ in the Adam and Eve story
Drought tolerant and very heat tolerant, grown as a large shrub to small tree
Like figs, locate in the hottest location you have and provide well-draining soil
Choose early ripening varieties
 
all in oneAlmonds
To avoid potential spring frost damage, choose a late blooming variety like ‘All in One’, which has the added benefits of being semi-dwarf and self-fertile
Encourage your pollinators by planting pollinator-friendly plants nearby. They’ll repay your efforts by improving pollination!
Well-draining soil is best but can tolerate some clay
 
suncrestPeaches
Nothing beats the taste of a sun warmed peach
Long history in Persian culture. In fact, the botanical name for peach is Prunus persica!
Lots of varieties so you can stretch out your peach harvest time
Look for disease resistant varieties to avoid Peach Leaf Curl, or use a dormant oil spray
Does best in a well-drained soil; all varieties are self-fertile!
 
apricotApricots
Early blooming like the Almonds. For best results, choose late blooming, self-fertile varieties like Harcot, Chinese, Moorpark, and Autumn Glo
Best flavor when picked ripe, and always better than store-bought!
Very traditional fruit in Persian cuisine: fresh, dried, and preserves
Like most fruit trees, Apricots do best in well-drained soil
 
GrapesGrapes
Love our hot summers; drought tolerant and fast growing
Very traditional in Persian and Mediterranean cuisine, leaves are culinary as well
Choose different varieties to enjoy contrasting flavors and colors and ripening times
Can tolerate different soils, but well-drained is best. Avoid overwatering
Maintain good air circulation and sun exposure to avoid mildew
 
fuyuPersimmons
Persimmons originally developed in China and Japan. However, the word “persimmon” likely come from a Persian word meaning date-plum: a nice description of the flavor!
Very ornamental tree with great fall color and decorative and edible sweet fruit
Best flavor when allowed to soften
One of the latest fruits to harvest, cold hardy to Zone 7 
Persimmons can handle clay soils better than most fruit trees