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Dwarf fruit trees

14 years ago

I have been gardening for years but I never grew any trees.

I'm looking to buy some dwarf fruit trees to start out. I was thinking of cherry and apple and maybe some blueberry bushes.

Just wondering if anyone could suggest some good companies that they have had good results with to buy dwarf fruit trees from?



Comments (6)

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OK Jim, here's my list. I believe all the one's with an excellent or very good Garden Watchdog rating would be safe bets. For the ones with a good rating, read the reviews on Garden Watchdog yourself and/or do a little more research before buying. The ones on the bottom list are companies that I would avoid.

    Here are some good* mail order sources for various types of fruit plants:
    *Sources with poorer ratings are listed separately below.

    Adams County Nursery - various fruit tree types - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Bay Laurel Nursery - multiple types of fruit and nut trees and plants - very good G.WD. rating -

    Big Horse Creek Farm - apple trees - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Blossom Nursery - pawpaw trees & seeds - limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    Boston Mountain Nurseries - affiliated with Arkansas Berry & Plant Farm and Pense Nursery - multiple types of berries and grapes - very limited, excellent G.WD. rating (warning! Arkansas Berry & Plant Farm has a very poor rating!)_-

    Boyer Nurseries & Orchards, Inc. - multiple types of fruit trees and plants and nut trees - limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    Burnt Ridge Nursery - various types of fruit - very good G.WD. rating -

    Century Farm Orchards - apple and pear trees - limited, excellent G.WD. rating, knowledgeable and helpful owner -

    Cloud Mountain Farm - various types of fruit & impressive selection of other plants - excellent G.WD. - rating

    C&O Nursery - various fruit trees types - limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    Cummins Nursery - various fruit trees types - excellent G.WD. rating -

    DeGrandchamp Farm - blueberries - limited excellent G.WD. rating -

    Double A Vinyards - blueberries - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Durio Nursery - various types of fruit - limited G.WD. review -

    Edible Landscaping - various types of fruit - good G.WD. rating -

    Fedco Trees - various types of fruit - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Forestfarm - huge selection of plants - excellent G.WD. rating -

    fraises des bois - alpine strawberries - no G.WD. review, but my order was great! - Nursery - multiple types of fruit trees and plants - limited G.WD. review -

    Going Bananas - banana plants and corms - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Grandpa's Orchard, LLC - affiliated with Moser Fruit Tree Sales, Inc. - rootstocks and various types of fruit trees and plants - very limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    Greenmantle Nursery - various types of fruit - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Hartmann's Plant Company - various types of fruit (mostly berries) - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Hidden Springs Nursery - multiple types of organically-grown fruit trees and plants - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Indiana Berry & Plant Co. - multiple types of small fruit and berries - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Ison's Nursery & Vineyards - multiple types of fruit trees and plants (specialize in muscadines, blueberries and blackberries) - very good G.WD. rating -

    Johnson Nursery, Inc. - multiple types of fruit - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Jung Quality Garden Seeds - multiple types of fruit trees and plants - good G.WD. rating -

    Krohne Plant Farms Inc. - strawberries and asparagus - limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    Lawson's Nursery - apples - not sure if this place is still open, the website is outdated - limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    Leuthardt Nurseries, Inc. - various types of fruit (specialize in espalier) - limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    McKenzie Farms Nursery / World Wide Plants - unsure of products sold - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Montoso Gardens - tropical fruits and seeds - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Morse Nursery - various types of fruit - limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    Moser Fruit Tree Sales, Inc. - affiliated with Grandpa's Orchard LLC - rootstocks and fruit trees for commercial growers - very limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    Nash Nurseries - pawpaw, hybrid chestnut, pine nut, etc. - limited, excellent G.WD. rating - no website - phone: 517-651-5278

    Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery - persimmon, pawpaw, & multiple types of nut trees - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Nourse Farms Inc. - berries and small fruit - excellent G.WD. rating -

    OIKOS Tree Crops - multiple types of fruit and nut trees and plants - excellent G.WD. rating -;

    Old Southern Apples Nursery - apple rootstock and custom grafts - no G.WD. rating -

    Peaceful Valley Farm Supply - various types of fruit trees and plants - good G.WD. rating -

    Pense Nursery - affiliated with Arkansas Berry & Plant Farm and Boston Mountain Nurseries - multiple types of berries and grapes - mixed G.WD. rating but newer entries are better -

    Raintree Nursery - multiple types of fruit trees and plants - good G.WD. rating -

    Rhoras Nursery - various nut and fruit trees and plants - limited, mixed G.WD. rating -

    Rombough, Lon J. - grapes - limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    St. Lawrence Nurseries - various northern climate fruit and nut trees - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company - various fruit trees and plants - OK/good G.WD. rating -

    Tomlinson's #1 Farm - antique apple trees - no G.WD. review -

    Trees of Antiquity (formerly Sonoma Antique Apple Nursery) - multiple types of fruit trees and plants - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Tripple Brook Farm - unusual fruits - very good G.WD. rating -

    Van Well Nursery - various fruit and nut trees - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Vintage Virginia Apples - apple, pear, and quince trees - limited, excellent G.WD. rating -

    Whitman Farms - small-fruit plants and trees and nut trees - excellent G.WD. rating -

    Woodlanders, Inc. - wide variety of hard-to-find southern plants - OK/good G.WD. rating -

    Here are some mail order sources with poorer reviews for various types of fruit plants:

    Aaron's Bulb Farm, Arron's Fruit Nursery, Aaron's Nursery, etc. - see TyTy Nursery

    Apple Tree Nursery, Fig Tree Nursery, Pecan Tree Nursery, etc. - see TyTy Nursery

    Arkansas Berry & Plant Farm - affiliated with Boston Mountain Nurseries and Pense Nursery - multiple types of berries and grapes - very bad G.WD. rating -

    Autumn Ridge Nursery - various fruit and nut trees and plants - very poor G.WD. rating -

    Burgess Seed - various fruit and nut trees and plants - poor G.WD. rating -

    Direct Gardening - see Burgess Seed

    Gurney's Seed & Nursery - multiple types of fruit and nut trees and plants - poor G.WD. rating -

    Henry Field's Seed & Nursery - various types of fruit - poor G.WD. rating -

    House of Wesley - see Burgess Seed

    Inter-State Nurseries - see Burgess Seed

    Kelly Nurseries - see Burgess Seed

    Miller Nurseries - various types of fruit - OK to poor G.WD. rating -

    One Green World (Northwoods Nursery) - multiple types of fruit trees and plants - OK/fair G.WD. rating -

    TyTy Nursery - extremely poor reviews

    Willis Orchard Company - multiple types of fruit and nut trees and plants - fair G.WD. rating -

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    BTW, the above list may look big, but once you narrow down the variety and rootstock combination you want, you may find that you have to search through a number of the companies before finding what you seek. Many of these companies don't have a huge selection of any particular type of tree/plant and some sell out fairly early in the season. So, I often search through quite a few of these companies before finding what I'm after.

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    i have NEVER had a problem with stark.. from B's list..

    and the same with GUERNEY .... which i dont see on his list ...

    the trick with mail order.. is.. PROPER PLANTING TIME ... which you missed by about 60 days ... for mail order

    for my z5.. which would make your z6 only a week or so different is

    in spring.. from ground thaw until about tax day 4/15 ... until about 5/1 with a little extra TLC

    or when all the trees turn color in fall ...

    mail order are rec'd dormant.. and planted as such ...

    fall is preferred.. as you have 2 cool seasons to grow roots before the onslaught of the first summer heat wave ...

    if you can find local potted stock.. then you might still have success this summer.. but i gave up planting trees in summer a long time ago ... make sure you get a warranty with summer planting ...

    good luck


  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Stark Brothers is OK, but there have been issues reported in the Fruit and Orchards Forum (just as on Garden Watchdog). The one BIG gripe I have about Stark Brothers is that they don't disclose their rootstock. That's the equivalent of saying "trust us, we know more about your conditions and needs than you do". I never have understood why they can't just list what they use.

    Gurney's Seed & Nursery is listed in the second list. From what I've seen, I think their placement is appropriate. Yes, you can do worse with some place like TyTy, but why take the chance when there are so many nurseries with stellar ratings and many happy customers? I guess Gurney's can be a little cheaper, but cheap is not always (often?) best. They have more negative comments than positive comments on G WD.

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    WOW thanks for all the links Brandon!

    I realized after looking at some of these tree sites that there is a lot of things I should take into consideration before ordering trees.

    Like the rootstock for instance. I didn't realize there were so many choices. Where I live is a little north of Pittsburgh Pa. and the soil has a lot of clay in it. So I guess I need to figure out the rootstock I need for here.


    Thanks for telling me about planting time. I didn't realize that it is too late to plant for this spring. So fall planting is the best time to start a tree off?


  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here are parts of a few of my old posts that you can read through. Maybe something in them will be helpful:

    Re: Choosing a Fruit Tree

    The first thing I would do would be to pick out one particular type of fruit to make a decision on. (Repeat the process until you have quenched your desire for more types of that will be possible once you get started with this addiction.)

    Next, find out what factors are most important to you. (Examples are fruit taste and/or quality, amount of fruit - productivity, disease resistance, fruit storage/shipping potential, amount of pruning and maintenance needed, how soon your tree will start producing - precocity, etc.) You may also consider factors like suckering, soil/environmental adaptability, drought resistance, need or lack of need for external support, how long the tree will last and/or produce fruit - senescence, etc. This is a primary reason that what's right for you may not be what's right for others. One grower may decide that disease resistance is highly important to them because they want to limit the amount of spraying and preventative maintenance associated with disease. Another grower just down the street may see little value in using disease resistance in choosing a variety. He may have no problem with the thought of a proper spraying regime to reduce or eliminate the possibility of disease. One grower may want dwarf trees either because of limited space or because they want to reduce the amount of pruning required to maintain a smaller more manageable tree. The other grower may be an experienced pruner or have plenty of room for a larger tree.

    Then, study the specifics of the characteristics important to you. For example, if disease resistance sounds like an important factor, study which diseases are commonly found in the type of fruit you are evaluating. Also, look at which diseases are more common in your particular area (your part of the country AND your community). You may even want to consult someone from your local extension office or an experienced local grower for more information.

    After deciding which factors are primarily and secondarily important to you and finding out the specifics involved, study the different varieties (both scion and rootstock varieties) to pick out varieties and combinations that may work to meet your wants and/or needs. You will probably have to do multiple google searches and consult some of the better nurseries' websites for advice on this. An example would be if you were interested in the disease resistance of apples. From previous research, you'd realize that cedar apple rust (and other rusts), fireblight, apple scab, and powdery mildew were the primary apple diseases. You could google something like 'fireblight resistance apples'.

    Finally, identify a reputable source that offers some of the varieties you've identified as possibly meeting your needs. You may find that no single source provides all of your choices. You may even find that some of your choices aren't currently available anywhere. But, if you have a list of multiple possibilities, you can search to see what is available from the source you choose or from a couple of sources that together can fill your shopping list.

    Lastly, once you have chosen a few trees that look promising and are available, run them up the flagpole in this forum to see what others think. This can be particularly valuable if you have overlooked something important. It may even be something that you didn't know you needed to look at.

    I hope this helps some. It sounds complicated, and it is to some degree, but once you start, you will learn quickly and gain a much better ability to make an informed choice.

    Re: Rootstock

    Selection of rootstock is very important. Rootstock determines or influences tree size and architecture, fruit size and quality, disease and pest resistance, drought resistance, soil adaptability, cold hardiness, proclivity to sucker, graft compatibility, amount of fruit produced (productivity), how young the tree will produce (precocity), and how long the tree will last and produce fruit (senescence). The selection of rootstock will affect things like how much pruning will be required, how you train the tree, and whether the tree will need support (many rootstocks will not reliably physically support the tree without external support).

    When choosing a rootstock, size (amount of dwarfing) is usually the first characteristic considered. All rootstocks have some advantages and some disadvantages. There are no perfect rootstocks. Smaller (dwarf to semi-dwarf) rootstocks are the most popular choice for the home gardener and becoming increasingly popular among commercial growers. Smaller trees require less pruning, are easier to manage (harvest, prune, spray, etc), are generally more precocious, and fit into smaller yards. Larger rootstocks (larger semi-dwarfs to full size) are sometimes more disease resistant, frequently more productive per tree, generally more drought resistant, more likely to be self supporting, and usually produce a longer-lived tree. I usually choose larger semi-dwarfing rootstock because I have plenty of room and, for my particular application, consider senescence probably a little more important than many growers.

    Re: Question about Pear and Cherry trees

    There are many factors that I would consider in choosing varieties of pears or cherries. The rootstock as well as the scion variety should be considered. Factors like amount of pruning needed (and your pruning skill), disease resistance (and possibly pest resistance), planting location (dry or wet area, windy or protected area, etc), productivity (how much fruit you would like from each tree), usage (fresh eating, cooking, storage, etc), pollination requirements (generally you'll need at least two compatible varieties to pollinate each other), and taste are but a few of the factors that usually go into consideration when choosing a variety.

    The reasons that so many varieties exist is that different choices are best for different situations and different preferences. There really are not perfect choices, and what's right for you, may not be what others have chosen. When I picked out my trees, I concentrated first on disease resistance. After choosing possibilities that would be more likely to avoid some of the most common disease and problems, I narrowed the choices down from there.

    The primary disease associated with pears is fireblight. I would strongly urge you to ensure that the varieties you choose are resistant to that disease. Other common diseases/problems that affect pears include pear decline, leaf spot, cedar-apple rust (don't let the name fool you), scab, black rot, and bitter rot. For a more complete list, take a look at this list of pear diseases:

    Prunus (the genus that contains cherries) is a fairly disease-prone genus. Sweet cherries are even more prone to problems than sour cherries are. Bacterial blight/canker and rain cracking are among the most common cherry issues.
    For a more complete list, take a look at this list of cherry diseases: