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...

Persimmons

This attractive tree can grow up to 30 feet tall. Persimmons are more common in the South but are hardy in Zones 4 to 9. They require full sun and well-drained soil for optimum growth. Persimmon trees have a pendulous branching habit and a narrow, somewhat rounded shape. The leaves are shiny and dark green and the flowers are greenish yellow. Most trees are either male or female, so plant several trees to ensure pollination. Persimmon fruits range from 3 4 to 2 inches in diameter. They are pale...

Pruning and Training Young Vines

Four Arm Kniffin System

Grapes will grow on just about anything. In the wild, they climb large trees to get their leaves into the sun. But in home plantings, you need to rein in that vigor by pruning and training the plants to keep them manageable and productive. You can train grapes to grow on an existing arbor, fence, or other structure. If you are starting from scratch, a good trellising method is the four-arm Kniffin system see Figures 16 and 17 . No matter what system you use to support your vines, the principles...

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

Heading Cuts Trees

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...

Training and Pruning Young Apple and Pear Trees

Pruning Young Pear Trees

Pruning is especially critical just after planting and during the first few years of growth to make sure that the overall structure of the fruit tree is correct and to encourage early fruiting. Pruning cuts on young trees stimulate vegetative growth below the cuts and delay fruit bearing. So keep the number of cuts made on a young tree to a minimum, making only cuts that are necessary for proper structural development. If you do a good job of pruning and develop a structurally strong tree with...

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...