Apple trees come in different sizes, depending largely on the rootstock that they have been grafted onto. Pruning should be done in February. Apple scab fungus can be a problem, treat it when necessary in the spring with sprays. Apples can be used in many ways such as eating, fresh, canning, pies and even drying. Some of the best varieties for ripening in Western Washington include the following: Elstar, Gala, Gravenstein, Jonamac, Jonagold, Liberty, Spartan and Williams Pride.
Apple trees always need to have a pollinizer, unless you are choosing a combination tree, which has more than one variety grafted onto a single stem. The following varieties are not reliable pollinizers: Gravenstein, Braeburn, Red McIntosh, King, and Mutsu. These varieties are called triploid plants. That means that they must have another tree to pollinize themselves, plus the pollinizer will require another tree to pollinize it. Combination trees are great for gardens with limited space. Combo espaliered apple trees are also available in 2 tier and 3 tier.
Apple pollination chart
These deciduous trees can be grown quite successfully in the Pacific NW with some limitations such as late frosts. These late frosts can severely reduce the amount of blooms which in turn will limit the amount of fruit produced. Apricots are a good dual purpose tree making a nice ornamental as well as a fruiting tree.
All apricot trees are self fertile.
These beautiful trees are also called pear apples. The pears have a rough skin with crunchy flesh like an apple but gritty like a pear. Most of the Asian pears are large in size and very juicy. Trees tend to overbear,
therefore, thinning the fruit to one pear per cluster is very important in order for the tree to produce large fruit.
Asian pears need to have another variety as pollizer. Nijiseiki and Shinseiki are somewhat self fertile in warmer climates. Most varieties will pollinate each other. Late blooming Asians will cross-pollinate with early blooming Europeans. Combination trees are available
also and are great for gardens with limited space.
Asian Pear pollination chart (PDF
There are two types of cherries, sweet and sour. Sweet cherries are used for eating fresh off the tree or in canning and sometimes jams. Sour cherries are mainly used for pies and baking, but can also be eaten fresh from the tree. New on the market is the Gisela cherry trees, which is a unique dwarf rootstock making a mature tree grow only up to 8' - 10'. Fruit yield is very productive and abundant. These dwarf Gisela cherry trees are a big advantage in every aspect; from picking your fruit to the pruning, spraying and general care of the tree.
Sweet cherries are self-sterile, meaning that another cherry
tree is needed to pollinate it. Not all sweet cherries will pollinate each other. The following varieties though are self-fertile: Glacier, Lapins, Stella, Jubileum & Danube.
Sour cherries are self-fertile meaning that they do not need another pollinizer.
It is advisable though to have another tree to pollinate for a better and higher
yield of fruit. Do not rely on sour cherries to pollinate sweet cherries, since
the blooming time is different. Combination trees with 3 or 4 different varieties grafted onto one tree may also be an
option, especially when limited space is a problem.
Cherry pollination chart
The regular eating and canning pears are called European pears. Pear trees in the landscape can add strong vertical lines. Bees generally are not as attracted to pear blossoms as they are to apple blossoms.
All pear trees will pollinate each other except Seckel and Bartlett varieties. Pear trees should be planted close to each other, within 100 feet or so. Some early blooming European pears will cross-pollinate with late blooming Asian pears. Combination pear trees, with more than one variety grafted onto one stem are also
available and a good option for small yards.
European Pear pollination chart (PDF
Peaches and Nectarines
Peach and nectarine trees look alike and have the same cultural needs. All nectarines have a smooth skin. Peach trees start bearing large crops when three to four years old and peak at eight to twelve years of age. Peaches and nectarines tend to produce too much fruit if
not well pruned. Remove (thinning) some of the excess fruit when they are about one inch in width. It is very important that every season at least 2/3 of the previous years growth is pruned out.
All peaches and nectarines are self-fertile.
Plums and Prunes
There are two types of plums, Japanese and European. Most Japanese plums are used for fresh fruit only. With a few exceptions the Japanese plum is usually larger, a pleasant blend of acid and sugar and somewhat juicier. European plums are actually prunes. They have a higher sugar content which enables them to be used for drying without fermenting at the pit. As a fresh fruit they are sweeter then a Japanese plum.
Japanese and European varieties of plums do not cross-pollinate. European plums have been known to be self-fertile. Two different Japanese plum varieties will be needed to produce fruit.
Plum pollination chart (PDF
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