Southern heirloom fruit trees

Southern heirloom fruit trees

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Southern heirloom fruit trees and shrubs

Among the area’s best choices of early bearing fruit trees are some of the native heirloom fruit trees and shrubs growing throughout Virginia.

Some of the best early bearing fruit trees and shrubs are native to Virginia. Photo by Ann Tyree / Parks and Recreation

Ann Tyree

Among the area’s best choices of early bearing fruit trees are some of the native heirloom fruit trees and shrubs growing throughout Virginia.

The best part of growing fruit is the chance to taste its ripened goodness. Eating the fruits of your own trees, after they ve ripened in your backyard, is an experience that almost everyone should enjoy. However, this process, like every experience, should be as stress-free as possible, allowing you to savor the flavor and feel of your first experiences as a self-sustaining gardener.

Consider the first fruit that you tasted. Did you wait for it to ripen on the tree or harvest it from a branch that may be rotting, as it did for your grandparents?

When you can t wait to harvest a fruit, the taste may be after-ripened and only average, even with your own tastiest homegrown specimens.

Ripened fruit is the best.

Among the area s best choices of heirloom fruit trees and shrubs are native to Virginia and some other southern states. These are the trees, shrubs and vines that have been around for hundreds of years and have been passed on through the years for generations.

Little Drovers or Pruners are the peach, apple and plum trees that are still prevalent throughout the region, including Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee. These are the oldest trees that you ll see in yards throughout the South. Some of the Little Drovers are descended from the original Carolina peaches, the first variety developed in Virginia. Little Drovers are not allowed to pollinate Natural Peach s, so their blossoms do not open.

Natural Peach is a freestanding tree, introduced in the early 1800s and still grown throughout the South. It can reach 20 to 25 feet, while the varieties of Pruners are usually grown 10 to 20 feet.

These fruit trees and shrubs are hardy and adaptable. They grow well in the sandy soil common to the coastal plain and foothills and will survive heat and drought. Some have yellow fruit in the fall, others remain green until winter.

It s fun to grow your own fruit, but the naturalist in you wants to see how they ll look and grow after several seasons. They ll look the same as they do right now.

Some natural varieties have been selected and pollinated to create new, hybrid fruit.

The heirloom fruit trees you are considering may or may not be varieties that have been chosen to be taken as cuttings to create a new hybrid tree.

Hybrid varieties do take cuttings to produce new varieties, but to have the name hybrid on your tree, the new tree has to be pollinated.

The most common pollinated varieties are named varieties from different regions.

For example, there are varieties from California, Texas and other areas that create trees called Santa Barbara Plum. Others may be named from various areas of Virginia.

There are many other names and varieties that are pollinated and may carry the name of the pollinator. It s not always easy to discern which one you ll get, even if you select one from a nursery.

Here are some heirloom fruit tree and shrub varieties that are commonly grown, or were grown.

Apple Crispin

Apple Crispin

Heirloom varieties of apples can be transplanted, like other trees. To plant, select an area of 1,000 square feet, mark out the area with stakes and stakes that have long lengths of twine to secure the apples at various heights.

Because apples need lots of fertilizer, put at least 3 pounds of compost and composted manure around each tree and after each harvest. Water thoroughly, as they have a shallow root system. Because there is little shade, water with a drip system. In early spring, fertilize with a fertilizer that includes compost and manure.

After about 2 to 3 years, you can remove some of the branches to increase the size of the tree.

Apricot Candacum

Apricot Candacum

These tree and shrub varieties may have almost yellow-colored flowers and greenish fruits that grow from 4 inches in diameter and up. They can grow 10 to 15 feet tall.

It s important to know whether the fruit trees have been grown from seed or from cuttings to determine the size of the tree. The smaller the tree, the more sturdy and productive it will be.

There are dozens of apple varieties that produce heirloom fruit. And the word heirloom describes fruit trees of other fruit varieties as well, such as gooseberries and cherries.

A few, like Illini Delight cherries, may not be propagated or sold. Most will produce abundant fruit, so they are still worth growing.

White Pear Rome

White Pear Rome

Not many trees