Choosing Cultivars

Home gardeners can choose from a wide variety of grape cultivars, each differing in time of ripening, productivity, vigor, hardiness, fruit size, color, and flavor. The grapes most widely cultivated in the Northeast are derived primarily from Vitis labrusca and are referred to as American bunch grapes. The following cultivars of this species produce well in much of New York State Concord the primary cultivar grown in the Northeast and the standard for hardiness. Niagara the leading white grape...

Managing Grass and Weeds

You need to minimize competition for water and nutrients from weeds and grass growing adjacent to your trees. Two approaches commonly used in home fruit plantings are mulches and permanent sod. When planting trees into a lawn, follow the planting steps described previously. In addition, remove the sod within 2 feet of the tree to prevent competition between the tree and grass. If you don't water your trees or if they otherwise fail to thrive, you may want to expand this cleared area as the tree...

Vertebrate Pest Control

Voles, deer, and birds are the three major vertebrate pests of fruit plantings. Voles are mouse-like mammals that eat the bark and roots of young fruit trees and thornless blackberries in winter and are frequently a serious problem. Deer consume the new shoots of fruit trees. Birds damage the fruits of blueberry, cherry, gooseberry, and grape plantings. Two different vole species cause problems the meadow vole (which lives aboveground) and the pine vole (which lives belowground). During the...

Purchasing or Propagating Vines

Purchase grapevines from a reputable nursery. Place orders early to ensure that the desired cultivars will be available. Request that the grapevines arrive in early spring, and plant as soon as possible after they arrive. An alternative to purchasing vines is to propagate vines from cuttings of a known variety. (It is illegal to propagate vines that are patented.) Making your own cuttings is inexpensive, requires no special equipment, and is usually successful. Most grape cultivars root readily...

Diseases and Pests

Your best first line of defense against diseases and pests is to choose disease-resistant cultivars and to keep your plants healthy. Choose your site and prepare the soil carefully, paying special attention to good drainage. Make sure plants get adequate water, but avoid saturating the soil. Remove wild brambles, which can harbor diseases that can spread to your planting. For more help identifying disease, pest, and other problems with raspberries, see www.hort.cornell.edu diagnostic. Choose...

Blueberries

Blueberries, and their cousin the cranberry, are the only commercially produced fruit crops that are native to North America. Wild blueberries grow in all regions of the country except in the High Plains and the desert Southwest. In the early 1900s, Elizabeth White of New Jersey and Fred Coville of the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperated to develop the first hybrid blueberries. Many of their cultivars are still grown commercially today. Blueberries often are incorrectly called...

Seedless Table Grapes

Seedless grape cultivars suitable for the Northeast are a relatively recent development. They are more challenging to grow in home plantings than other cultivars and require different practices. While moderately hardy, they may not perform well in colder sites. Even though they are less than perfect, their flavor far exceeds that of Thompson or Flame seedless grapes from the West Coast. Seedless cultivars suitable for the Northeast include Canadice a hardy, productive, and popular vine, but...

Rootstocks

Most home gardeners prefer small, size-controlled fruit trees grown on dwarfing rootstocks. Smaller trees make picking, pruning, and pest control easier, and they set fruit at a younger age than full-sized trees. Rootstocks for apple trees are special apple varieties that control the height of the tree and give it other special characteristics, such as resistance to insects or diseases, solid anchorage in the ground, and early fruit production. A cultivar is grafted onto this special rootstock,...

Day Neutral Strawberries

Unlike the common June-bearing strawberries discussed above, day-neutral strawberries flower and produce fruit anytime temperatures are between 35 and 85 degrees F. Instead of a bumper crop in June and July, harvest is spread out through the summer to as late as October, and plants yield well during the planting year. Because they do not send out runners as profusely as June bearers, you need to manage them differently. Cultivar selection. The most successful day-neutral cultivars for the...

Site Selection and Soil Preparation

Fruit plants are most productive if you carefully match them with the proper planting site. Very few sites are naturally ideal. To succeed, you may have to overcome some combination of weeds, diseases, pests, poor drainage, low soil organic matter, and poor soil fertility. Each of these can severely reduce the size of your harvest and the health of your plants. So it's best to take care of them before planting. Once plants are in the ground, it is very difficult to reduce soil pest populations...

Highbush Cranberries

Viburnum trilobum, Viburnum opulus var. americana Highbush cranberries also known as American cranberry bush are in the same family as elderberries. The size and color of the fruit are the only characteristics this species has in common with commercial cranberries. Bushes grow to 15 feet tall and become rather formal and rounded in shape. They make a great hedge or privacy screen. The flowers are very small and white and are borne in large terminal cymes that are 3 to 4 inches across, similar...

Pruning and Training Basics

Images Training And Pruning Peach

Apples, pears, cherries, and plums produce their best fruit on two- to three-year-old wood. Peaches bear their fruit on the last year's vegetative growth. One of the prime reasons for annual pruning is to encourage lots of productive fruiting wood one-year-old wood on peaches and two- to three-year-old wood on the others. Unpruned trees can quickly become unproductive, while 70-year-old fruit trees can still bear lots of fruit because annual pruning promotes the right amounts and kinds of...

Diseases and Insects

Your ability to grow terrific tree fruits depends in large part on your ability to control pests and diseases. You will face many of the same challenges as commercial growers, but it's unlikely that you will have the same powerful pest control tools that they have. For example, home fruit growers typically use hand-operated sprayers or those run by small electric or gasoline motors. Compared with commercial-sized sprayers, these machines have a smaller capacity and lower pressure and require...

Pruning and Training Peaches

Like cherry and plum trees, peach trees are best pruned in the late spring. They are unique among major tree fruits in that they bear most of their fruit on lateral buds in the lower half of vigorous one-year-old shoots. To maintain a constant flush of this growth for the next crop, prune peaches hard every year. Peach and nectarine trees are very susceptible to perennial canker, which is caused by a fungus that infects open wounds when temperatures are cool. Don't prune them unless the weather...

Site Selection

Strawberries grow best in a sunny location with deep, well-drained sandy loam soil with a pH of approximately 6.2. The plants do not tolerate extremes in pH, either below 5.5 or above 7.0. Determine pH by testing the soil, and follow recommendations to adjust the pH accordingly a year before planting. Contact your county's Cornell Cooperative Extension office for more soil test information. See www.cce.cornell.edu local_offices.cfm. Lime and other soil amendments that are used to adjust pH...

Rejuvenating Old Apple and Pear Trees

Many old, neglected apple trees can be rejuvenated by proper pruning during the dormant season. Many will have grown too tall to manage and harvest conveniently. Most will have too much old wood and not enough young, productive fruiting wood. Here are some suggestions for bringing them back into production, but keep in mind that it usually takes several years of corrective pruning. Don't try to make up for years of neglect in a single season. Remove dead branches, rotten and diseased wood, and...