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Re: Fruit Tree Questions

Jeneva wrote:

>The design for the inner city community garden and
>park that I am working on includes a small (VERY
>small) fruit orchard.  We're trying to figure out how
>to get a good amount of fruit out of a small space --
>six trees in the design at the moment.

 From a design/space standpoint, I'd go with the espailer if possible -- it 
will give you the most fruit for the least space.

>I would
>personally like to use native fruit as much as
>possible, and was looking at wild plum.  The other
>person working on the design leans towards a mix of
>plum and apple.

Apple trees take *tremendous* work to get decent fruit -- are you sure your 
folks are willing to put forth the effort?  I'm not sure what you mean by 
"wild plum" -- does it produce a fruit that folks will actually use?  How 
much problems are plum curculios (sp?) with this species?

>I haven't got input from the
>gardeners themselves yet, I'll have to get them
>together to ask their opinion.

It is incredibly bold to put in fruit trees without getting not only input, 
but solid commitments from gardeners to take care of the trees.  Fruit 
trees take a *significant* amount of work and so far in your designs, 
you're selecting trees that require tremendous effort to produce useable 
fruit.  (And I speak as someone who has 6 apple trees, 2 pears, 1 plum, 2 
umes, 1 medlar and 1 quince tree in her community garden).

If the purpose is to get fruit, I'd think brambles (as in raspberries), 
bush cherries, or hardy kiwi as they have fewer pests and don't require as 
much committed care.

>The question of cross-pollination has come up.  Apples
>require at least two different varieties to
>cross-pollinate in order to produce fruit.

Who the heck said that?  Apple pollen travels *very* far and if you garden 
organically, you'll have *plenty* of pollinators in about 3 years to take 
care of everything.  Native solitary bees are your *best* friends! ;-D

>anyone know if wild plums, or other native fruit
>trees, need a variety of pollen sources, or is this
>requirement a peculiarity of cultivated species?

If you have a variety of herbs and flowers to keep the pollinators in your 
garden year-round, you shouldn't have the problem with native 
species.  However, for the best info on fruit growing on the web, check out 
the Back Yard Fruit Grower's Page at


If they don't have the links you need, e-mail them.  They truly do know all 
when it comes to fruit!

Good luck!

Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden

A mission of
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA  19460

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