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[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 4, 2008
602 posts
312 upvotes
Mississauga

Fruit Trees?

With Garden Centres being open now, anyone have any recommendations on places within the GTA to buy fruit trees? Preferably smaller ones like 7-12 feet. I have no idea where to look, how I know which kind would grow well in this climate, how much is a good price, or how they even deliver it to me or any of that.
46 replies
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
720 posts
302 upvotes
If you live in Ontario. Very sensitive trees to pests, fungus and climate and are not recommended.

Peach
Plums
Cherries


Apples and pears are farily simple. You may need a pollinator. The average fruit tree is about $50. If you are short on space they do graft multiple varieties onto one tree so that you do not need a pollinator. I saw some at Walmart for $39.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 4, 2008
602 posts
312 upvotes
Mississauga
Katedontbreak wrote: If you live in Ontario. Very sensitive trees to pests, fungus and climate and are not recommended.

Peach
Plums
Cherries
So you're saying those 3 are ones that will grow well?


And do you know of any place which might sell those tree?
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
720 posts
302 upvotes
dxbender wrote: So you're saying those 3 are ones that will grow well?


And do you know of any place which might sell those tree?
No. They are very sensitive to our winters and have lots of serious fatal fungal and pest problems. They are not good fruit trees for a beginner.
Jr. Member
Sep 23, 2019
156 posts
248 upvotes
I can confirm that there are many issues with Cherry trees we have in our backyard. They all have Cherry fruit fly issue - maggots inside the cheries and I cannot find good spray to get rid of that. And even then I have to fight birds as they take charies before us.
Can someone recommend any good spray for Cherry fruit fly that is legal in Ontario?
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2014
2145 posts
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Just Moved To Somewh…
dxbender wrote: So you're saying those 3 are ones that will grow well?
+1 @Katedontbreak Peach - Soil composition is important, Well drained sandy loam.
Cherries - I have had quite a bit of success with Montmorency and a couple of the Black Sweet Cherries - Cannot remember which ones though Disappointed But Relieved Face. That said one had better have a good repellent systems for Robins, it was always a race to the finish as to who was able to harvest cherries first.
“Before one can have a Clue they must first accumulate 10 Inklings. That said, all it takes is one bad post and you erase all Inklings & Clues accumulated'"
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
720 posts
302 upvotes
rcmpvet wrote: +1 @Katedontbreak Peach - Soil composition is important, Well drained sandy loam.
Cherries - I have had quite a bit of success with Montmorency and a couple of the Black Sweet Cherries - Cannot remember which ones though Disappointed But Relieved Face. That said one had better have a good repellent systems for Robins, it was always a race to the finish as to who was able to harvest cherries first.
If it wasn't the birds it was ants, aphids, flies, everyone loves cherries!

Now I don't get haughty when I see expensive cherry prices. They are most definately difficult for Ontarians to get a good crop and when you finally do, the tree often suffers some kind of weather related decline and has to get cut back.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 5, 2003
2384 posts
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North York
Katedontbreak wrote: If you live in Ontario. Very sensitive trees to pests, fungus and climate and are not recommended.
Ontario is pretty big, and has lots of different climate zones.

We and our neighbour had good success with cherries in the North end of Toronto, well drained soil there, well protected, the trees were thriving when we moved. I'd love another cherry, but our new place is too wet and doesn't drain well which isn't suited for it.

For OP, if you are in the east, or willing to drive - Humber river nurseries on hwy 50 had a great selection of fruit trees - and their website gave details. Looks like they closed in October. If suggest a garden center or tree farm over a box store. You'll get better stock, and advice.
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
720 posts
302 upvotes
cliff wrote: Ontario is pretty big, and has lots of different climate zones.

We and our neighbour had good success with cherries in the North end of Toronto, well drained soil there, well protected, the trees were thriving when we moved. I'd love another cherry, but our new place is too wet and doesn't drain well which isn't suited for it.
I'm going to respectfully disagree with you Cliff. The tree itself might be fine for a few decades and give nice blooms but a decent crop of the fruit are difficult without spraying, netting and other means of aggressive pest control. I assume this person wants to grow a fruit tree for the actual fruit and not for the sake of the tree or the blooms. For those reasons it's not the best starter fruit tree. Yielding a respectable crop and beating the pests and animals isn't an easy task. Nor are fruiting cherry trees long lived in our environment. As far as ease, the stone fruits are difficult in our climate. Imagine all that labour only to find your mature cherry declining when it gets to a good cropping size.

https://www.gardenguides.com/132104-lif ... trees.html

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/old-can-c ... 48143.html


My pick would be a pear variety for the ease of maintenance.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9637 posts
5035 upvotes
Paris
Our and our neighbours apple trees give fantastic apples for juice, sauce or cider without any intervention. Some years when the blooms are good I spray and try and manage pests and get a really nice crop of apples for straight eating.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
15457 posts
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Eastern Ontario
Katedontbreak wrote: If you live in Ontario. Very sensitive trees to pests, fungus and climate and are not recommended.

Peach
Plums
Cherries


Apples and pears are farily simple. You may need a pollinator. The average fruit tree is about $50. If you are short on space they do graft multiple varieties onto one tree so that you do not need a pollinator. I saw some at Walmart for $39.
This

OP if you are new to fruit trees ... stick with Apples.
They are the easiest of the lot to grow.
Perhaps look at 2 types of trees ... an Apple for eating straight from the tree, or for pies & Apple sauce
And maybe a Crab Apple ... great for making Apple Jelly

The aforementioned Peach family (including Apricots), Plums & Cherry trees all have MAJOR issues ... even if you are lucky to live in Southern Ontario

The biggest of which is Black Knot Disease = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dibotryon_morbosum

BEST ADVICE - Consult a local Nursery for recommendations on what would work best on your lot... including location & planting advice. Also they tend to be the best place to buy a tree (healthy & hardy stock) ... remember a tree IS AN INVESTMENT it adds to the value of your home ... so don’t cheap out. You want a tree that’s gonna stand the test of time, not something you end up putting 5 to 10 years into ... only to have to cut down ... and lose / need to replace
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
720 posts
302 upvotes
Make sure you put a spiral tree wrap about 1 meter up the trunk over winter during the first 10 years until the bark gets thicker. Fruit trees (including flowering trees like cherry, almonds and crabapples) are a favourite of rabbits and voles. Every few years there's an explosion of rabbits and voles. Some years they leave your trees alone, other years they will completely girdle your whole yard destroying your tree by chewing the cambian layer at the base of the trunk.
Sr. Member
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May 12, 2009
793 posts
345 upvotes
The previous owners to an old house of ours overloaded the back yard with fruits trees and edible plants. We had great success with cherry trees (4 of them), so much so we had picking parties. We trimmed them for black knot but it was never a big deal. The black knot did overtake the plum tree. The apple tree needed to be sprayed of the fruit would get all deformed. It seemed like a lot work. The pear tree grew so much fruit we'd be inundated with wasps in the fall. It gave delicious fruit but nobody wants more than a small basket of pears. There were 4 peach trees but the peaches never grew bigger than plums before falling off. Grapes, rhubarb, asparagus all grew well.
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
720 posts
302 upvotes
pimom wrote: The previous owners to an old house of ours overloaded the back yard with fruits trees and edible plants. We had great success with cherry trees (4 of them), so much so we had picking parties. We trimmed them for black knot but it was never a big deal. The black knot did overtake the plum tree. The apple tree needed to be sprayed of the fruit would get all deformed. It seemed like a lot work. The pear tree grew so much fruit we'd be inundated with wasps in the fall. It gave delicious fruit but nobody wants more than a small basket of pears. There were 4 peach trees but the peaches never grew bigger than plums before falling off. Grapes, rhubarb, asparagus all grew well.
The problem with cherry trees is that their lifespan is about 5-20 years. It takes 10 years to get a good size tree for picking.

Apples and pears on the other hand 80 - 150 years. Even if you mess them up completely, you can cut them back down just above the graft union and they almost always grow back.

Maybe you had a cherry that did great for a few years but on average they don't. Nurseries north of gta stopped carrying peach altogether and hardware store garden centers wont sell cherries and plums anymore . Notice that gardens centers in the gta will sell tons and tons of apple or pear but the stone fruits are stocked a handful in comparison? That can tell a person a lot about how unsuccessful those trees are for most people. Since this is about what tree a beginner should get, cherry, plums and peaches are probably not a good idea. That's all we're saying. Not that it would be impossible, but that it would be more difficult than apple or pear.
Deal Addict
Dec 15, 2009
1344 posts
475 upvotes
Ontario
Katedontbreak wrote: Make sure you put a spiral tree wrap about 1 meter up the trunk over winter during the first 10 years until the bark gets thicker. Fruit trees (including flowering trees like cherry, almonds and crabapples) are a favourite of rabbits and voles. Every few years there's an explosion of rabbits and voles. Some years they leave your trees alone, other years they will completely girdle your whole yard destroying your tree by chewing the cambian layer at the base of the trunk.
We lost some trees due this mistake.

Is the tape enough to keep these critters off? I was going to rig something up with some mini opipe like plastic that I could put into the ground 4 inches (dang voles). We likely lost 3 of our 6 trees due to not protecting them. Pricey.

Also, re plums. Some varieties can grow in Ontario and are quite hardy. We have 2 started. Fingers crossed.
Sr. Member
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Feb 25, 2004
930 posts
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Longueuil
I had a cherry tree but I had to cut it down because of black knot disease. You can trim it (I did it for a few years), it might slow the disease but in the end it is a lost battle and you might spread the disease to other trees.
Try not! Do or do not, there is no try...
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
720 posts
302 upvotes
riffr aff wrote: We lost some trees due this mistake.

Is the tape enough to keep these critters off? I was going to rig something up with some mini opipe like plastic that I could put into the ground 4 inches (dang voles). We likely lost 3 of our 6 trees due to not protecting them. Pricey.

Also, re plums. Some varieties can grow in Ontario and are quite hardy. We have 2 started. Fingers crossed.
The plastic spirals are enough to keep the rabbits away and deter voles from striking the trunk but they are often too short. I will put 3 or 4 all the way up the trunk. They will get at some of the lower branches but those would eventually be pruned off anyway.

About hardy plums, stone fruits do well in temperate mild winters hardy or not. Ideally a place that has winters like our fall and half as long. When your stone fruits are over wintering in harsh weather like ours for half the year, it severely weakens the tree, they are already short lived but for us who have short summers, they are viable for an even shorter time. Even though the tree grows, it's not going to grow as well here as it would in lower British Columbia. And the fungal diseases like black knot aren't resistant. Investment wise, it's just not as "fruitful" as the apple or pear. If you plant a stone fruit, you're likely to outlive it and be able to count on one hand how many bounties you got from that tree. If you plant an apple or pear, that tree will outlive you and still produce fruit if you don't cut it down.
Moderator
May 28, 2012
11143 posts
3277 upvotes
Saskatoon
I have a sour cherry, so no problems with cherry fruit fly. I have seen people in BC with sweet cherry trees bag the branches of developing fruit. You wouldn't have to bag the entire tree, just enough of a harvest to suit your needs.

Grow what you like to eat...Murphy's Law, the one tree you want to live, dies in its first year and the weedy one that produces sour horrible fruit lives on for years and years. Also don't plant it too close to your fence...it may be a small tree when you bring it home but some can get pretty large.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 4, 2008
602 posts
312 upvotes
Mississauga
Sounds like Apple and Pear trees are the safest bets around the GTA?
Deal Fanatic
Nov 15, 2008
9233 posts
3564 upvotes
You can only grow many fruit trees in the GTA and SWO down to Windsor. Anywhere else, and even in the northern part of that range, fruit trees will split from the heavy snow. Peach, cherry, etc. have broad leaves and drop them late, and softer wood: an early heavy snow will pile on and take them out no matter how old (and lucky) they are. GTA is zone 4, SWO 3, Windsor 1.

GTA around York/Peel Montmorency (sour/pie) is an easy hardier cherry but the snow is still a risk. Nanking cherry is another one, it's a small stemless non-traditional-cherry flavoured cherry. Tasty though. Too small for recipes. You really need zone 3 for black cherries, other stone fruit, pears. You can grow Asian pears then too. They say zone 4 for all of those but I think that's optimistic. (Also add foxes to the list of cherry tree predators ha ha)

You want a no fuss fruit tree try red mulberry, it's native and grows as happy as a weed. Bonus, cool kids project, you can buy silkworm catepillars online and feed them mulberry - it's all they will eat. Sitting down in the grass and getting a big purple stain on your ass though...

As a kid we had a yellow-red crabapple about the size of a golf ball, pink swirls in the flesh. Nice if you like really tart apples to eat fresh but bad seed:flesh ratio. Not terribly useful. Beautiful pink flowers in spring though.

GTA you can grow Persian (Californian) walnut, the type you get in the store, not the awful black ones that grow wild. You can also grow hazelnuts and hazelnut x filbert! That's a bush.

Other bushy fruits that grow trouble free are elderberry, currant, gooseberry (but the last two are bad for chipmunks). You can make liqueur and beverages from the elderberry flowers and berries (and I try to explain this is a European thing and all I get are Monty Python jokes). Elegant taller bush.

Also you can grow figs outdoors in the whole GTA. You bend the tree down to the ground in fall, cover it plastic and mound on dirt. Uncover in spring. You can also keep them potted and have them as a houseplant in winter.

I'd put it out of your mind that you're going to grow some mainstream grocery store fruit easily. But - you can get some excellent raspberry canes that produce berries so big you can stick your thumb in them.

There are some tough kiwis you can grow here but they are a vine and you need a male and a female - but on the bright side they are fuzzless and you can eat the skin.

Black Knot takes the fun out of stone fruit because it blows on the wind and one lazy neighbour can create a huge zone of contagion. If you clip it off your trees you have to burn it to get rid of it. Really spready.

And there's apples :)

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