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  • Avatarbrausch
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    I am looking for garden center recommendations in the Des Moines area for buying some fruit trees. I am planning on planting a few apple trees for sure, but am not ruling out peach, pear, & plum trees. I have contacted the ISU horticulture dept and received some good reading material – but they didn’t want to recommend any garden centers.

    I would like to talk to a good garden center to make sure I am buying the right varieties, to ensure pollination and hardiness, among other things.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Brian

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    If buying local isn’t a constraint, I just bought two apple and two peach trees from http://www.fast-growing-trees.com They guarantee their 5-7′ trees to produce your first season. Assume about $100 a piece.

    You can find the information you are seeking on the site as well.

    Avatarbrausch
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    Quote by: CRIA1576

    If buying local isn’t a constraint, I just bought two apple and two peach trees from http://www.fast-growing-trees.com They guarantee their 5-7′ trees to produce your first season. Assume about $100 a piece.

    You can find the information you are seeking on the site as well.

    Have you ordered from them before? Do they arrive in good condition? What varieties did you end up going with (both apple and peach)?

    Avatarbowhunter87
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    I have ordered several from Stark Bros. They have a 1 year guarantee and lots of good info on the website. They will come bare root and pruned to the trunk but they take off quick.

    oldstylelightoldstylelight
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    Do some research like you are…

    My 2 cents are don’t get in over your head with the amount of work required for the trees and the amount of fruit that will come from them. It takes a while to prune and clean up one tree. I have 2 peach trees and that is more than enough fruit all at once in my case. What are you going to do with all the fruit other than having to clean up the fallen, rotten leftovers? Just practical questions to know before in your own mind before you become Johnny Appleseed.

    It is fun and rewarding, though!

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    I have not ordered from them before, but the reviews are pretty exceptional. They also have a full replacement warranty for like $8 per tree.

    For apple we got Macintosh and Honey Crisp, and for peaches we got Elberta and Red Haven. They are running some pretty decent sales right now too. 3 out of 4 of the trees are coming 5-6′ tall, and the Macintosh is 6-7′ for the same price.

    We had heard horror stories about raising peach trees, so we tried to balance disease resistance and hardiness with production.

    Regarding what we plan to do with the fruit, we like both fresh obviously, and my wife is a canner and baker. :mrgreen:

    Avatarbrausch
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    Quote by: oldstylelight

    Do some research like you are…

    My 2 cents are don’t get in over your head with the amount of work required for the trees and the amount of fruit that will come from them. It takes a while to prune and clean up one tree. I have 2 peach trees and that is more than enough fruit all at once in my case. What are you going to do with all the fruit other than having to clean up the fallen, rotten leftovers? Just practical questions to know before in your own mind before you become Johnny Appleseed.

    It is fun and rewarding, though!

    Funny you mention to amount of work required, as the response I received from the ISU horticulture gentleman also recommended to start small. I will keep that in mind. I grew up on a farm and we had about two dozen apple trees in our old pasture along the creek – I totally understand how a guy could get overwhelmed with fruit with only a few trees. Applesauce, pies, friends, family, farmers market are my intended paths for the fruit. My daughter is only 5 right now, but I would love for it to grow into a potential little farmers market opportunity for her – while teaching her some responsibility/work ethic. I enjoy doing this sort of thing, so even if she doesn’t take a liking to it, I will be happy doing it.

    Quote by: CRIA1576

    I have not ordered from them before, but the reviews are pretty exceptional. They also have a full replacement warranty for like $8 per tree.

    For apple we got Macintosh and Honey Crisp, and for peaches we got Elberta and Red Haven. They are running some pretty decent sales right now too. 3 out of 4 of the trees are coming 5-6′ tall, and the Macintosh is 6-7′ for the same price.

    We had heard horror stories about raising peach trees, so we tried to balance disease resistance and hardiness with production.

    Regarding what we plan to do with the fruit, we like both fresh obviously, and my wife is a canner and baker. :mrgreen:

    Thanks for the information, always good to have a starting point of varieties to research.

    Still looking for some recommendations for some good local nurseries.

    Thanks for the input guys.

    Avatarbbump
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    I have been planting various maple and fruit trees on my property the last 8 years. I will share a little that I have learned.

    I really like going to places like Hy Vee when they close out. Get some good deals.

    I purchase from Gurney’s online. They have furnished about 11 of my trees. It comes about 4 foot tall. Not a leaf on it. Usually just a stick, but they thrive here. I purchased a cherry tree 2 years ago and got a half of a 5 gallon bucket off of it last year.

    Make sure you fertilize the trees. I used some miracle grow spikes.

    I had some issues with some of my trees that were a few years old not producing fruit. That changed when I fertilized.

    I like to buy in groups of 2 (of the same tree). They say that a plum tree will pollinate an apple, but I found some that would not. So, I matched those trees that were singles and now they do just fine.

    There is a lot of joy I get from my trees. Something about grabbing an apple right of my tree to eat that is very satisfying.

    I have plum, cherry, honeycrisp, yellow delicious, peach, service berry, and pear.

    ECFirearmsECFirearms
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    Quote by: brausch

    I am looking for garden center recommendations in the Des Moines area for buying some fruit trees. I am planning on planting a few apple trees for sure, but am not ruling out peach, pear, & plum trees. I have contacted the ISU horticulture dept and received some good reading material – but they didn’t want to recommend any garden centers.

    I would like to talk to a good garden center to make sure I am buying the right varieties, to ensure pollination and hardiness, among other things.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Brian

    IMHO, stay away from the big box stores garden centers, the trees they sell can come from anywhere and may not grow well in zones 5a/5b in Iowa. Find an Iowa nursery if you can. I have had good luck with Kelly Tree Farm LLC. I only buy trees that are hardy enough to zone 4, better chance of surviving the worst Iowa winters. As for peach trees, look for an”Iowa Peach” variety, they are hardy enough to survive our winters. Smaller fruit, but they can handle our winters.

    Do your research, some trees will need a cross pollinator, some are self pollinating. Also give some thought to pollinators like bees. I have been using solitary bees called Spring Mason Bees, no hive. No work and they have tripled my fruit tree production.

    I saw mentioned above honeycrisp apple trees, I have them, love the apples. The Japanese beetles love them too, they can strip a tree bear of everything.

    Send me a PM if you want more info.
    Greg

    “Second Amendment – Either you are helping pull the wagon, getting a free ride in the wagon, or trying to take away the wagon. Which one are you?” -- IAShooters

    Avatarbbump
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    Good info here. I didn’t think about the zone 4 thing, that is a great idea.

    I had the japanese beetles on my cherry tree and they were working it over. Called my exterminator and they had a food safe spray that wiped them out in a day.

    I was thinking about getting a hive of bees, but they are very sensitive. I will research more on the Spring Mason Bees.

    Quote by: ECFirearms

    Quote by: brausch

    I am looking for garden center recommendations in the Des Moines area for buying some fruit trees. I am planning on planting a few apple trees for sure, but am not ruling out peach, pear, & plum trees. I have contacted the ISU horticulture dept and received some good reading material – but they didn’t want to recommend any garden centers.

    I would like to talk to a good garden center to make sure I am buying the right varieties, to ensure pollination and hardiness, among other things.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Brian

    IMHO, stay away from the big box stores garden centers, the trees they sell can come from anywhere and may not grow well in zones 5a/5b in Iowa. Find an Iowa nursery if you can. I have had good luck with Kelly Tree Farm LLC. I only buy trees that are hardy enough to zone 4, better chance of surviving the worst Iowa winters. As for peach trees, look for an”Iowa Peach” variety, they are hardy enough to survive our winters. Smaller fruit, but they can handle our winters.

    Do your research, some trees will need a cross pollinator, some are self pollinating. Also give some thought to pollinators like bees. I have been using solitary bees called Spring Mason Bees, no hive. No work and they have tripled my fruit tree production.

    I saw mentioned above honeycrisp apple trees, I have them, love the apples. The Japanese beetles love them too, they can strip a tree bear of everything.

    Send me a PM if you want more info.
    Greg

    IaCraigIaCraig
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    Quote by: bbump

    I had the japanese beetles on my cherry tree and they were working it over. Called my exterminator and they had a food safe spray that wiped them out in a day.

    Japanese beetles barely even look at my cherry and crab apple trees, but they devour my granny smith and honey crisp trees.

    To the original poster, They are out of my price range so I don’t buy a lot there but I feel Earl May Garden centers are very knowledgeable. I had them help me with a landscaping plan many years ago, and I wanted to use them but they were something like $17,000 so I only bought a few items from them. I think they are based out of somewhere by Atlantic or Creston, but have a couple stores in Des Moines. Often in the spring they will have buy 1 get 1 free on fruit trees.

    AvatarAnonymous
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    Stam Greenhouse in Oskaloosa.
    http://stamgreenhouse.com

    ECFirearmsECFirearms
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    Quote by: bbump

    Good info here. I didn’t think about the zone 4 thing, that is a great idea.

    I had the japanese beetles on my cherry tree and they were working it over. Called my exterminator and they had a food safe spray that wiped them out in a day.

    I was thinking about getting a hive of bees, but they are very sensitive. I will research more on the Spring Mason Bees.

    I get my bees from https://www.crownbees.com/. Prices are reasonable and the owner is VERY knowledgeable. Buy a starter kit. His website has a great section and vids on this type of bees.
    Once you get the bees established you shouldn’t have to buy bees after that, of course that can depend on mother nature. You will not get honey but your costs and labor are 1/10th compared to honey bees.

    I also have the summer leaf-cutter bees for pollination of my garden and later blooming plants.
    Greg

    “Second Amendment – Either you are helping pull the wagon, getting a free ride in the wagon, or trying to take away the wagon. Which one are you?” -- IAShooters

    Avatarphaffy12
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    Most apple trees are going to come from one of a few big nurserys here in the Midwest or NY/PA. It doesn’t really matter if you buy it from Menard’s, Earl May, mailorder, or anywhere else, as long as the plant is healthy. If the trunk looks healthy, no dead branches, kick the pot off and make sure there are good white roots, not brown/black. Everything in apples is clonal propagation, so everyone is essentially selling the exact same plants, the only difference being it’s health and size. The two things you control at purchase is the scion wood, which determines the kind of apple you harvest and the dwarfing of the tree.

    I am partial to Stark Bros. You are getting trees that they propagated, bare root, and in good shape. They also have plenty of good info on their website about growing what they sell. I’ve been by the retail outlet in Missouri and you can get potted trees there as well, but quite a long haul from here.

    For pollination, there are charts all over with the various varieties. I would cross check the scion types that you are interested in and see if they will pollinate yourself. The person at a retail outlet might know what they are talking about or they might not too. Here is a pretty comprehensive chart to look over:

    https://www.acnursery.com/apple_pollinizer.pdf

    https://www.starkbros.com/

    AvatarBullBlueGill
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    Quote by: ECFirearms

    Quote by: brausch

    I am looking for garden center recommendations in the Des Moines area for buying some fruit trees. I am planning on planting a few apple trees for sure, but am not ruling out peach, pear, & plum trees. I have contacted the ISU horticulture dept and received some good reading material – but they didn’t want to recommend any garden centers.

    I would like to talk to a good garden center to make sure I am buying the right varieties, to ensure pollination and hardiness, among other things.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Brian

    IMHO, stay away from the big box stores garden centers, the trees they sell can come from anywhere and may not grow well in zones 5a/5b in Iowa. Find an Iowa nursery if you can. I have had good luck with Kelly Tree Farm LLC. I only buy trees that are hardy enough to zone 4, better chance of surviving the worst Iowa winters. As for peach trees, look for an”Iowa Peach” variety, they are hardy enough to survive our winters. Smaller fruit, but they can handle our winters.

    Do your research, some trees will need a cross pollinator, some are self pollinating. Also give some thought to pollinators like bees. I have been using solitary bees called Spring Mason Bees, no hive. No work and they have tripled my fruit tree production.

    I saw mentioned above honeycrisp apple trees, I have them, love the apples. The Japanese beetles love them too, they can strip a tree bear of everything.

    Send me a PM if you want more info.
    Greg

    My best apple tree is a $30 close out mac from walmart. the thing is 7 years old now and it amazing. I’ve ordered from Morse Nursery in Michigan, Deer Candy Wolfwrath’s in WI….Bottomline is, if you are not there to water, weed, mulch and stay on top of things, NO FRUIT tree will thrive. After many failed attempts of thinking planting trees and they will just grow if fenced is a huge waste of money. I learned the hard way, now my apple tree’s are fantastic but it takes some redneck engineering. I built a watering system on a scaffolding. built a few water catching devices that funnel water to a 55 gallon drums and made an over flow and a drip system. I kill all the weeds with gly, mulch yearly. Plant and go will NEVER work regardless of how great the claims are about how good of a tree it is. ANY tree from ANYWHERE will grow if you take care of it. I go there in the spring to mulch, I use leaf mulch from the city and compost. Throw that down in may….go back one time at the end of may and kill everything around. After that it pretty much takes care of itself. I haven’t had a year where it’s been so dry I had to bring water in.

    As for pollination, keep trees 15 ft apart. any farther you could have some issues. Talk to someone about trees that are good cross pollinators. I picks apple trees, 3 early season, 3 oct and 3 crab apple that are latter dropping. I made a funnel system that when an apple drops it goes outside of the fence. Keep the deer off them with a fence, water, weed and mulch. there is not much else to it…..just don’t plant and hope nature will do it for you. I pull most of my apples/buds off and it apparently makes the branches bigger and stronger. who knows if that’s true. I let them all just grow now.

    ECFirearmsECFirearms
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    Quote by: BullBlueGill

    My best apple tree is a $30 close out mac from walmart. the thing is 7 years old now and it amazing. I’ve ordered from Morse Nursery in Michigan, Deer Candy Wolfwrath’s in WI….Bottomline is, if you are not there to water, weed, mulch and stay on top of things, NO FRUIT tree will thrive. After many failed attempts of thinking planting trees and they will just grow if fenced is a huge waste of money. I learned the hard way, now my apple tree’s are fantastic but it takes some redneck engineering. I built a watering system on a scaffolding. built a few water catching devices that funnel water to a 55 gallon drums and made an over flow and a drip system. I kill all the weeds with gly, mulch yearly. Plant and go will NEVER work regardless of how great the claims are about how good of a tree it is. ANY tree from ANYWHERE will grow if you take care of it. I go there in the spring to mulch, I use leaf mulch from the city and compost. Throw that down in may….go back one time at the end of may and kill everything around. After that it pretty much takes care of itself. I haven’t had a year where it’s been so dry I had to bring water in.

    As for pollination, keep trees 15 ft apart. any farther you could have some issues. Talk to someone about trees that are good cross pollinators. I picks apple trees, 3 early season, 3 oct and 3 crab apple that are latter dropping. I made a funnel system that when an apple drops it goes outside of the fence. Keep the deer off them with a fence, water, weed and mulch. there is not much else to it…..just don’t plant and hope nature will do it for you. I pull most of my apples/buds off and it apparently makes the branches bigger and stronger. who knows if that’s true. I let them all just grow now.

    I see this mentioned a couple of times that it does not matter where the trees are from in the previous posts.
    I suggest doing some research on whether trees, of the same variety, from different climates will thrive in Iowa.
    I have worked with the Iowa State Forest Nursery for over 20 years on plantings and have had very good luck with my projects.
    This from their website:

    http://www.iowadnr.gov/Conservation/Forestry/State-Forest-Nursery

    Why Plant Native Trees?
    No matter where you live, it’s always best to plant trees grown from locally-adapted seed. The further a tree is planted from its seed source, the greater its risk of suffering from disease or early mortality, even if the seed source and planting site both fall within the native range of the species.

    IMHO, why not buy locally grown plants? You give your plantings a better chance to thrive and you also support locally owned IOWA businesses..

    “Second Amendment – Either you are helping pull the wagon, getting a free ride in the wagon, or trying to take away the wagon. Which one are you?” -- IAShooters

    Avatarphaffy12
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    I see this mentioned a couple of times that it does not matter where the trees are from in the previous posts.
    I suggest doing some research on whether trees, of the same variety, from different climates will thrive in Iowa.
    I have worked with the Iowa State Forest Nursery for over 20 years on plantings and have had very good luck with my projects.
    This from their website:

    http://www.iowadnr.gov/Conservation/Forestry/State-Forest-Nursery

    Why Plant Native Trees?
    No matter where you live, it’s always best to plant trees grown from locally-adapted seed. The further a tree is planted from its seed source, the greater its risk of suffering from disease or early mortality, even if the seed source and planting site both fall within the native range of the species.

    IMHO, why not buy locally grown plants? You give your plantings a better chance to thrive and you also support locally owned IOWA businesses..

    This is fantastic info for native plants or those species that are actively bred for our market. And as a small business owner, I’m a huge fan of shopping local. Regrettably apples are native to central Asia and there are no large scale producers or breeders of apple trees in state (they all buy them in from MO/NY/PA nurseries and then sell them at markup). The apple tree you buy will be from a commercially or academically bred rootstock that is clonally propagated and then grafted to the scion/fruitwood that has the same production background (closest breeding station is U of Minn, most breeding in apple production areas of NW US and NE US).

    I got my degree at ISU while studying under Dr. Domoto, the apple expert of Iowa and have spent many years in specialty crop research. The info from ISU Extension is all based on local grower reports and the ISU Hort Research farm just outside of Ames. They know exactly which varieties are most likely to perform well in certain regions of Iowa. They won’t endorse a distinct retail outlet because they’re all selling the same wholesale available products more or less. Plant condition trumps the name on the front of the store as long as they carry the variety you would like to grow in the dwarfing/culture system you have selected. I can go a lot more in depth on this if you have additional questions, but generally the ISU Extension material (all available online) will get you headed in the right direction.

    Avatarkenhump
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    Can anyone recommend a free stone, self pollenator plum?

    Avatarphaffy12
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    Quote by: kenhump

    Can anyone recommend a free stone, self pollenator plum?

    Look at European varieties. They typically self pollinate and are freestone. Check hardiness for your location, not sure if you’re in zone 4 or 5. Stanley is common around here but only zone 5 hardy.

    Asians and hybrids can be more cold hardy, but need a partner for pollinating. If you’re northern Iowa zone 4, I would check with some of the cultivar releases out of U of Minn Extension. They’re nice people and have info on readily available varieties.

    Avatarkenhump
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    Quote by: phaffy12

    Quote by: kenhump

    Can anyone recommend a free stone, self pollenator plum?

    Look at European varieties. They typically self pollinate and are freestone. Check hardiness for your location, not sure if you’re in zone 4 or 5. Stanley is common around here but only zone 5 hardy.

    Asians and hybrids can be more cold hardy, but need a partner for pollinating. If you’re northern Iowa zone 4, I would check with some of the cultivar releases out of U of Minn Extension. They’re nice people and have info on readily available varieties.

    Thanks, that’s the info I need.

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