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pls recommend

Posted by thecityman 6a (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 2:51

Experienced Fruit Tree Growers,
I suspect that all you experienced fruit growers hate subjective questions like "what is the best kind of tree"....but I'm going to try anyway! If a few of you will be kind enough to recommend 1-3 of your favorite trees in a few categories then this thread will become a favorite for beginners. I know "best" is very subjective and depends on everything from geographical area, personal tastes, intended use, etc. However, your answers would still be far better than beginners such as me just blindly selecting a tree from a nursery list, which for me is just like picking a doctor by looking at ads in the yellow pages. So please take a moment and give us some of your favorite trees for the fruits below.

BTW, if it matters: I live in middle Tennessee, zone 7a near 6b. Sweetness is my # 1 priority in any fruit. I grow in a tiny backyard orchard for fresh eating (no shipping, storing). I space my trees at 16-18 feet and prefer semi-dwarf. I plan to buy 2-3 trees of each type of fruit for proper pollination, so please mention your top 2-3 trees.

Sorry for long prelude, and thank-you for participating in this informal poll to help beginner pick a decent tree!

#1.) Please recommend top 2-3 varieties of Pawpaw trees for me to grow.

#2.) Please recommend top 2-3 Varieties of ASTRINGENT Asian (or similar) Persimmons. (I love the taste of soft Hachiya, dislike FUYU)

#3.) Please recommend 2-3 varieties of apricots.

#4.) Please recommend 2-3 varieties of Nectarines.

#5.) Please recommend 2-3 varieties of SWEET cherries

Optional
#6.) Please recommend your top 2-3 (a.)Chestnuts & (b.) Pecans.

I am absolutely going to order all the above trees in the next week, so they are the ones I need help with. But other newbies doing "fruit tree recommendations" type searches who end up here might appreciate you all mentioning you favorites in other popular types (pear, peach, etc. Sorry this got so long. Thanks for your help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: pls recommend

tcm,
Spent a number of years in Giles Co.; now located pretty much due north of there, just across the KY/TN line, in Christian Co.
Can only make recommendations on pecans for you, but feel very confident in recommending the following: Major, Kanza, GreenRiver as my top 3 picks, and these will complement one another fairly well, with regard to pollenation. If you have room, there are others, like Pawnee, Posey, Oswego, and others that are worth considering.


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Off to a good start here....thank-you, Lucky! I've added your top 3 to my buy list...especially since I'm also on the KY/TN border, 1 mile from Simpson County, KY!

BTW all...I noticed someone else just started a thread asking for plum tree recommendations, so if you all wanted to include plums here, this thread could serve as the answer for him, me, and countless others and be on its way to becoming the go-to place for helping identify some of the better trees in each fruit. Thanks.


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  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 11:52

Cityman,

Just a general comment for this thread. Many times there is only a small difference in flavor between, say, the top three or top 5. In other words #3 may not be noticeably better most years than #5. I just mention this because new growers sometimes think they must have the top three, but finding a nursery (or even two nurseries) which carry the top three can sometimes be difficult, leaving the newbie frustrated that he can't get the "best".

Let me offer an example from the other day which is sort of a practical approach to this problem.

A customer called wanting to buy some peach trees from me, so she could grow her own peaches. This happens from time to time. Customers find they really like the taste of home grown peaches and want to try their hand at growing their own. She had the same question. What are the best three varieties? Rather than give her three of the best, we discussed how she would be more satisfied to spread her out her harvest so she could enjoy peaches all summer.

I generally don't sell trees and instead pointed her to some online nurseries I buy from. She wanted me to sort of walk her through it, so we agreed to log onto Adams County Nursery Website together.

It was much simpler for her to order from one Website, so we went through the list of what was available.

She wanted all fully freestone yellow peaches, so the ones I picked out for her were Redhaven, Coralstar, and Autumnstar.

In reality, none of those peaches is my absolute favorite. For example O'Henry is a tad better than Autumnstar for a late ripening peach, but Adams isn't currently selling O'Henry.

Nevertheless, all of the peaches I picked out for her are excellent peaches, as grown here. With proper care, she will be very happy with all of them.

Sometimes a certain variety or two clearly stands above the rest. For example, as a white peach I would vote for Lady Nancy as outstanding. But for most top varieties, the taste isn't that distinctive from one top variety to another, and frequently the "ranking" will change from year to year.

RE: Pawpaws

I'm not qualified to comment on the best pawpaw varieties, since I only grow two. However, as far as I can tell, pawpaw aficionados seem to like Overleese and Susquehanna best. I've not tried either, but do like both of mine - Sunflower, and Taytwo.


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I agree with olpea that ripening time is also very important. When looking to add plants, I want to consider flavor, ripening times, disease resistance, and those suitable for my environment.

Having the "best" flavored fruits would be great, but if they don't do well in your area, or if everything ripens during the same period, you may end up disappointed. Sometimes you may have to sacrifice a little on flavor in order to obtain other attributes. For instance, someone may list Bing cherry as their top tasting sweet cherry. However, it would probably be the worst choice to try an grow in your environment. Just some things to think about.


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My Pawpaw are still too young to fruit.I have Wabash(a Peterson variety,thanks Benny L.),Mango,NC-1 and Overleese and a bunch of two year old seedlings,including some Kentucky Champions.
In fact cityman,I could send an extra seedling or two if wanted.The only thing is,the wait will most likely be longer for fruit than if buying bigger trees from a nursery.
Olpea mentioned some good ones and from what I've read,all the Peterson varieties are excellent.The next two that I'd try though are Halvin and Summer Delight from England's Nursery.
In relation to getting more information,I found this event in your State.It's an orchard workshop put on by the University of Tennessee,happening on Feb.28th.It looks to be in the northern part near the Kentucky border in Adams.I don't know how far away that is,maybe something to check out.There's a brochure file to click on,once getting to the page. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: Orchard Production 101 Workshop


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"She wanted all fully freestone yellow peaches, so the ones I picked out for her were Redhaven, Coralstar, and Autumnstar.

In reality, none of those peaches is my absolute favorite. For example O'Henry is a tad better than Autumnstar for a late ripening peach, but Adams isn't currently selling O'Henry. "

Well if you would have taken her to Grandpa's Nursery. One of Garden Watchdog's "Top 5" nurseries for hardy fruit trees. You could have purchased O'Henry's and the other three if you liked too. Even though you get free shipping at Adams, you would have paid less at Grandpa's. Almost $20.00 less! Hope that helps others as to what nursery to use! Adams though is a good nursery, i would buy from them, but if at grandpa's i would go there first. Man prices have really gone up! That sucks as I have to buy new trees in a few years after I move. Yikes! Looks like I'm shopping at the TN nurseries!! $8.50 a tree is looking mighty fine!
Fruit Tree Farm has Red Haven and O'Henry, they don't have the others. But they have Jefferson which also is a top rate peach. Winblo is good too, but only in the south. At least it appears that way in test growings in the north it did poorly in production and taste. Although in say the Carolina's the peach demands a premium!

Any other Stellar series you like?

This post was edited by Drew51 on Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 14:24


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Cityman

Pawpaws - I agree with the different ripening times. Summer Delight is very early and very good. A very late good one is 275-56, and Wabash, 10-35, Overleese, or others could be in the middle.

Persimmon - Nakita's Gift is late, hard to beat in the taste category. Saijo is earlier, but has much less flavor, just sweet taste. A Virginiana would ripen earlier, there are many to choose from.

Hachiya is at the top of my list for flavor, and it can be picked when firm and orange, and ripens very well off the tree to a dark red soft fruit.

Benny


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Drew,

"Winblo is good too, but only in the south. At least it appears that way in test growings in the north it did poorly in production and taste."

This was the first time I heard such a comment. Where did you hear it from, please? Olpea grows it in zone 6, Scott grows it in zone 7 (not very south). Both give Winblo very good reviews. Others do as well.

Cityman - sorry,I don't have any recommendations of fruit trees you look for. I don't grow many varieties. I like most of what I grow.

I think Olpea and Rob have good points.


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  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 21:14

"Olpea grows it in zone 6, Scott grows it in zone 7 (not very south). Both give Winblo very good reviews. Others do as well."

Mamuang,

I haven't actually fruited Winblo yet. As you know from our emails, I have high hopes for Winblo and made several copies of Winblo last fall.

I've also heard good things about it. Peach guru Desmond Layne (formerly at Clemson) had very high praise for the peach. Likewise with Andy Marini. Those two recommendations alone have me excited about the peach. Scott's review of the peach confirms in my mind, it's one definitely worth trialing.

I would also be interested in information where it did poorly in the taste category in test plantings.

"Well if you would have taken her to Grandpa's Nursery. One of Garden Watchdog's "Top 5" nurseries for hardy fruit trees. You could have purchased O'Henry's and the other three if you liked too."

Drew,

Well I guess that was my bad. I didn't want to steer her to a nursery of which I don't have personal experience, and I've never ordered anything from Grandpa's.

Sounds like a nursery I need to give a try.

Likewise I didn't want to recommend peaches to her I haven't fruited.

You mentioned the Stellar series. I like that series a lot. I've grown just about all of them, and the only one I don't like is Allstar.

Blazingstar is my favorite of the series and one of my favorites of all varieties I've tried. The peaches are very small though.

You may have noticed Adams carries Blazingstar (which ripens near Redhaven and tastes slightly better). Nevertheless, I didn't recommend Blazingstar because of its very small size. Typically new growers don't thin near enough, and Blazingstar suffers terribly if slightly under-thinned. If badly under-thinned, it would be tiny and she would be disappointed. Redhaven is a great tasting peach here and easy to grow. It also produces nice sized peaches, even when poorly thinned.


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AS always, I truly appreciate all the thoughtful comments here. I also fully acknowledge that many of the points you made about why a "best of" list would be difficult at best. All that being said, to those that did mention some specific trees, I can't thank you enough. And in spite all the reasons given why a "best" recommendation might not make sense, I'm still clinging to the idea that- at least for my area and stated goals, it might be possible. Some of the responses given above crystalize the reasons I need some recommendations. I picked most of the trees I have now with no more than the seller's description and zone recommendations. As a result, I am now the proud owner of bing cherry trees (black tartarian pollinator) which RobThomas just tells me is probably the worst (sweet) tree I could have. A "best of" list for mid-south might have saved me that. I'm also glad to learn that the differences in top trees might be small. SO maybe a more practical request would be for as "worst of" list...or the trees which are just notoriously bad. If there aren't any clear "best" trees in many categories, then I suspect there may at least be some "worst" trees that you experts know you'd never plant. Sort of the Bradford Pear of each fruit tree category. There is probably SOME kind of apple, for example, that almost everyone agrees just isn't a good tree.

Don't misunderstand, I know its not really practical to produce a worst of, but the fact that so many of us end up with trees that really are "worst of" still makes me long for a list of -if not "best"- then a few of the "good" trees that would be safe bets. But I trust you all, and if you say it just isn't practical, then I certainly accept that. I also don't want to come over as being ungrateful for the answers above that didn't include "best tree" names but instead explained (thoughtfully) why that isn't practical. Last but not least, I especially want to thank those who did mention some specific trees. I have taken those recommendations seriously enough that I plan on buying almost every single tree mentioned.

One special thanks to BradyBB for 1) telling me about the event in Adams, TN...which happens to be less than 30 minutes from my house and 2) for offering to send me some seedlings. I've seen occasional offers like that on here before, but it boggles my mind that a complete stranger with absolutely nothing to gain would take the time and effort to dig, package, and mail me something to help advance my hobby and my orchard. I'm not going to ask you to do that, but I offer my most sincere, heartfelt thanks for the offer. Everyone else who took time to respond to my thread is also much appreciated.

Anyone else that stumbles onto this thread and wants to throw out the name of a few trees in my stated categories (or others), please do so! thanks all.


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  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 10:23

"SO maybe a more practical request would be for as "worst of" list"

Well....actually a "worst of" list doesn't work well either. Typically someone will mention an unsavory variety and someone else will feel obligated to rebut the post because they like the variety.

For example, I don't like Keiffer pears and think they're pretty much inedible, because I think Euro pears should be soft, buttery and sweet (sorta like peaches). But there are a few on this forum who love Keiffer.

Likewise on peaches, I pulled out Reliance and Belle of Georgia because, although much better than store bought peaches, they really aren't up to par to other peach varieties. But some people on the forum like them.

A recent example, Stanley plum generally gets reviews of fair to sometimes poor in the flavor category, but I saw a post the other day where someone indicated they very much liked it.

Nevertheless, I will post what I think are some common varietal mistakes new people make in home plantings. I'll probably generate some disagreement, but that's OK.

Bing cherry (as indicated above)
Keiffer pear
Bartlett pear (in fireblight prone areas)
Reliance peach (in zone 6 or greater)
Belle of Georgia peach
Red Delicious apple
Yellow Delicious apple (because it's so prone to CAR and new people don't spray for it)
Early thornless blackberries (like Arapaho and Natchez) because they don't have the sweetness of berries ripening a few weeks later

That's about all the obvious mistakes I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are more.


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On Winblo,
The bad review was from a test planting at some university. i was all up for trying it, but the production and I think taste were poor, even last in the study. And sorry, i don't remember where? i remember it because it was on my "to buy" list. After the study i removed it. I do remember it was a northern University. Scott in zone 7, I consider south as I'm in 6a/5b. And this years temps put us in zone 5a, at least for this winter. We broke an alltime cold record yesterday. Plus I already have observed a lot of difference between his expierence and mine. Olpea is much closer to my environment, I get 4 more inches of rain, otherwise they are similiar. Let's see what he thinks in years to come. I looked for the study i saw but cannot find it. Let's just wait and see what happens with Olpea's tree. Plenty of others we know are good. And it certainly is a tree worth trying no doubt about it. I saw reports where farmer's markets cannot keep it in stock, it is an exceptional peach no doubt!
But so are pluots, and most perform poorly here. Although some do well here!

Thanks Olpea for the info on the Stallar series also past info on the Candian peaches too. All look good for my area.

Speaking of Canadian peaches we all were recently talking about cling peaches and the Canadians have recently released one. "Vinegold" It's at Grandpa's Orchard. i keep calling that place "nursery" proper name is Grandpa's Orchard. My bad! I'm interested in the Indian Blood Cling too. Two is probably enough for me. Although i can't plant any till i move, it is very frustrating. I need to make this move happen get off my butt, and get things done. If I'm gone for a long time, I busy getting this place ready to sell!


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cityman, don't worry to much about having Bing. I made the same mistake. Bing was one of the first fruit trees I bought before I really knew what I was doing. I've had no real problems yet, but it really doesn't like the heat, cracks, and it is very susceptible to disease. I've read good things about White Gold and Black Gold sweet cherry trees. Both are more disease resistant and resistant to cracking. I plan on replacing my trees with those, eventually.

We probably have more difficulty growing certain fruit trees in our zone due to our heat and humidity. However, that doesn't mean we can't push the boundary and experiment. We just have to go in expecting some things may not work out. It's still fun trying!

One more point of advice. Several southern universities have and are developing fruiting plants more suitable for our environment: U. or Arkansas, Clemson, Auburn are a few to look into. Also the USDA research stations in the south have produced fruit suitable for our area.


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> Early thornless blackberries (like Arapaho and Natchez) because they don't have the sweetness of berries ripening a few weeks later

Olpea, I haven't tasted Arapaho yet, but I'm hopeful that the difference in sweetness isn't so great as to negate the advantage of producing much of its fruit before the June bugs show up, especially for a small, low-maintenance planting.


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Cityman,

A lot of times, it has to do with Location, Location, Location, just like real estate. If you can get people living closer to your area, in a similar climate to give you input, their reports probably more applicable to you. Same zone is not a guarantee. Zone 6 in the west coast is very diffrent from Zone 6 in the east.

I think a lot of us in the east have made the same mistake of growing Bing cherry including my best friend. Her tree has grown and flowered very well but never fruited due to lack of pollination. She is going to plant a Stella cherry this spring since Stella is one of those pollinating Bing. We'll see if it works. She wants to try this first before removing the tree if it does not work.

I have Black Gold cherry. It's not crack resistant to me when summer rain arrives right before the fruit ripe. It rains quite a bit in the summer here. I lost all my Black Gold and Vandalay that way last summer. I can keep canker and leave spot at bay by spraying Kocide at a dormant stage. Then, you will deal with brown rot and birds if your cherry survive cracking.

I've heard White Gold is less attractive to bird since ripe cherries are not red. I am going to plant a new Lapins crosses, an Italian variety from Schlabach this spring. Not sure why I bother growing more cherry!!!


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This has turned into a very interesting thread, but I don't know whether to laugh or cry about the above information, especially from Olpea, who's insight is always appreciated. You see, I started my "orchard" two years ago with stock from Lowes and Wal-Mart. I know...I just heard the collective gasp when you read that, but it gets worse. Out of the above posts mentioning some of the "worst" trees, I've got an amazing number of them! I have Bing Cherry, Bartlett Pear, Belle of Georgia peaches, red delicious AND yellow delicious apples (& I have cedar nearby!), Arapaho AND natchez blackberries!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY COW! Between buying at big box stores AND getting all the wrong varieties, I don't think I could have done much worse!!! So I'm feeling pretty depressed right now! ha. Please remember I was an absolute novice and like (I suspect) many average people, it seemed rational to buy trees at my local big box store and assume they would be appropriate for my area or they wouldn't sell them. Of course I know now what a stupid, naïve assumption that was, but I suspect many people make the same. THe good news is that these aren't the only varieties I have of any of the fruits, and I also have plenty of room to add more, better trees. I also am prepared to spray a lot so perhaps I'll make some of them work out. Sadly, my bing has been my fastest growing, healthiest looking tree out of 41 trees, and I had highest hopes for it. Maybe with the Black Tartarian beside it I'll beat the odds?
Anyway, I do appreciate all the info. And this thread has 100% absolutely highlighted the need for a list of "best" or "worst" since I've just proven that left on our own, many of us will end up with terrible choices. SO thanks to you all for reluctantly throwing out some names...perhaps it will help others avoid the mistakes I've apparently made!


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One man's meat is another's poison! On the blackberries, those two make excellent jam. You need to add so much sugar to traditional jam the last thing you want to use is sweet berries. I bought Natchez just to make jam, also Chester. So these IMHO are superior cultivars for cooking.
Both are amazingly strong plants too. Impressive!
Black and blue jam is one of my favs. Use blackberries and blueberries. Another is blackberry-kiwi jam. I remove the blackberry seeds as some complain about them. Liquefy the kiwi's in a blender. Works good with other fruit too.
Mulberry-blackberry jam is awesome too. I forage wild mulberries and wild blackberries. Talk about sour, wild blackberries are almost inedible raw. They are fantastic in jams. All these make great syrups too. Or blackberry crisp is pretty tasty. Poor mulberry-blackberry syrup on top of ice cream, unreal! I have experimented with calcium jelling agents. Not bad, they set with no sugar added. So you don't have to overkill with sugar. But usually blackberries have a lot of pectin naturally. Also corn starch works somewhat too to set jams.


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Cityman,

Scott Smith is in Maryland. This was his comment from a Sept, 2012 thread on his nectarines that year.
"All nectarines - splitting, rot and small size means they get the axe this winter -- I don't have the time for hard to grow things like this. I am going to keep a spindle of Mericrest since it is the most reliable and is very tasty."

Then, last year, I read Harvestman's positive review on an Easternglo nectarine. So, I ordered one from Schlabach for this spring.

I just hope New England climate is not as humid (obviously not as hot) as Maryland or TN. Easternglo is an early nectarine variety, I might be lucky and could avoid brown rot. There are other diseases that love nectarine, too. I am still not sure why I want to grow it!!


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  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 20:59

Cityman,

That's the funniest response I've read in a while. You said you didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I have to admit I was laughing here.

Don't worry too much though. All the fruits you mentioned will be much better than anything you've ever tasted from the store. And, if your Bartlett dies from fireblight, it will give you open space to plant another pear.

edit: Cityman, I wanted to add that varietal mistakes are not the worst mistakes made in fruit growing. I have made worse mistakes (like planting peach trees in poorly drained soil and killing so many they would form a large pile). I think anyone who has grown fruit seriously could list serious mistakes they've made (Might even make for an interesting thread).

This post was edited by olpea on Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 21:25


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  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 21:16

I'm adding my first in-ground nectarine this spring, a Cavalier. It is reputed to be resistant to brown rot and released by the Virginia experiment station in 1952.

I also have a potted nectarine, a Harko. It fruited for the first time this year (2 fruit). While they were small, they tasted great (16 brix for one I bagged and 21 brix for the un-bagged one) and didn't have any problems. Of course, conditions on the patio may differ from what an actual tree would experience...

For apricots, Tomcot seems to always get rave reviews from those on the forum. Mine had its first 4 fruit this year, which were very good (16 brix, good flavor), but I don't yet have any other homegrown apricots to compare them to. They were far better than the PF1 peaches which were ripe around the same time (just before July 4th).


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  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 21:31

"I'm adding my first in-ground nectarine this spring, a Cavalier."

Bob,

I remember you trying to get that cultivar last year. Your comments then piqued my interest a bit. I'll be waiting to see how it does for you.


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  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 21:46

I'm looking forward to it as well- this year I got the order into Sanhedrin before things started to go out of stock. As part of the order, I also added a Laroda plum, one Scott gave a preliminary thumbs up in his 2013 report. Each year, I think the yard is full, then I squeeze in another dozen (or more) trees.


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A little better info on the Halvin Pawpaw: from my evaluation of the tree discovery: The tree has been the tallest I've ever came across in the wild. I've evaluated the tree in its origin for the past 5 years and in only one extremely dry year were the fruits under a pound. Here are some pictures of the fruits in 2013. The fruit on England's Orchard and Nursery were from the dryest year we've had here in Iowa since I've lived here. This is why the fruit doesn't look that big. Last year was also considerably dry but the fruits got over a pound each. Also the Halvin has less seed than any Peterson Variety that I've personally evaluated. It hasn't yet been evaluated fruiting in any other situation than its original location but grafted in other locations it's a super vigorous grower like Sunflower.


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A fruit weighing 1lb 3oz. cut into three sections. Super sweet flesh with no bitter after taste.


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With a fruit being that size, this is all that's left after the pulp is consumed. 6 seeds and a small pile of skin. I will let you guys be the judge. My Susquehanna fruits have more seeds than this pawpaw. Not that Susquehanna is not an excellent variety and Halvin still needs to be further evaluated.


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Pictures really are worth a 1000 words....you just got me all fired up to raise pawpaws at a time when I was having doubts due to there being so many varieties and me not having a clue which one(s) to try. If I can't find Halvin it sounded like you just gave a recommendation for Sunflower and Susquehanna...so those may be my ticket.


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I have a pawpaw orchard in its infancy here with about 35 grafted trees, not to mention all the controlled cross seedling I have planted. The nice thing about pawpaws is that they also grow very happily in full shade as well as out in the open. You can stuff them under a larger tree and even cram them 10ft apart just about anywhere. they have rocketed in popularity over the past few years. I would add Overleese to your list as well, very nice flavor. I grow every fruit you can name here in my zone 5 Iowa climate but pawpaw takes a special priority on the farm for many reasons. It is probably the most complete fruit nutritionally and you would be amazed at the extensive cancer research being done with the fruits acetogenon properties. Now pawpaws are unique in the sense that you cant compare them to apples or oranges at all. These are slimy custardy fruits with an amazing tropical flavor. The number one turn off for people is the texture and no it's not like a ripe banana. Its more like a slimy mushy avocado. It's one of the most aromatic fruits there is. I love the pineapple/mango/banana/vanilla aroma of ripe pawpaws. They are kind of messy to eat but they are a real treat! I really recommend the pawpaw for anyone. It truly is a cold hardy tropical with big old leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall and they are the host vegetation for the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.


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