WALKER -- John Dainsberg, master gardener, suggested fruit tree varieties likely to succeed in northern Minnesota.
While dwarf varieties make it easier to pick fruits, he said they are not as hardy for this climate. Standard root stock producing 20- to 25-foot trees has a better survival chance.
Fruit trees should be planted away from red cedar trees, because those cedars can transmit red cedar rust to the fruit trees. White cedar or arborvitae, more common native cedars in this area, do not carry the disease, Dainsberg said.
At least two varieties of each species of fruit trees should be planted for best pollination, he said. One apple and one plum will not work.
Encouraging honey bees on your property also will improve pollination.
Apple trees come in early, mid-summer and late fruiting varieties. The two trees you select should be from the same fruiting group or include at least one mid-summer variety, so their fruiting time will overlap with the early or late variety.
All apples will keep for quite a while at refrigerator temperatures, but late varieties keep longer than early ones, Dainsberg said.
Early varieties he recommends for this area include Beacon, Duchess, State Fair, Mantet, Goodland and Hazen. The last two varieties produce heavy crops annually, while most other varieties alternate years, he said.
Mid-season varieties include Sweet 16 and Red Baron. Honeycrisp variety is being tested for northern Minnesota hardiness at this time and can be used an extra tree in a grouping, he said.
Late season varieties are Haralred and Haralson.
Mid-season crab apple trees can be planted for cross pollination with any standard size apple, Dainsberg said.
Varieties producing larger crab apples include Chestnut, Whitney and Centennial. Larger crabs are sweet enough to eat, as well as use for baking and jellies.
Those producing smaller fruit are Hopa and Dolgo. These generally are planted for jam and jelly making.
Pear varieties likely to do well here include Ure and Golden Spice. Summercrisp is in trial status at this time, so should be planted only as an experiment, Dainsberg said.
Pear varieties bred to survive here have smaller fruit than pears available in stores. They have a crisp texture.
Dainsberg said you should expect to wait a few years before pear trees will produce fruit.
One Toka plum tree should be planted as the pollinator for other plum varieties you plant, Dainsberg said. Other plums hardy here include Pipestone, Waneta and Pembina.
Expect plums to have lots of blossoms, many more than the amount of fruit they produce, he said.
These are a separate type from cherries or plums, Dainsberg said. They actually are a small plum used most often for jams and jellies.
Varieties that do well here include Compass, Sapalta and Black Diamond.
Cherry trees can self-pollinate, Dainsberg said. Their fruit is tart.
Varieties for the North include Mesabi, Meteor and Northstar.
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