Presentation on theme: "Growing Fruit Organically in Northwest Arkansas"— Presentation transcript:
1 Growing Fruit Organically in Northwest Arkansas Guy K. Ames, Horticulture Specialist
2 In the beginning…What are fruits and why are they so appealing? Botany of Desire!Why perennials?And why in the Ozarks?
3 So why is it so danged difficult??? Diseases and insects uncontrollable…and the heat—whew!Organic controls expensive and too often ineffectiveSome of our soils are poorly suited for fruit plantsBig-box stores offer wrong varieties on wrong rootsCultural prejudices??? What should we be growing?So why is it so danged difficult???The photo shows an apple with one of the summer rots (probably black rot), a serious problem for organic growers.
4 Remedy: Try “unusual” species Get the right varieties on the right rootsShade; evaporative cooling; mulch; choose north slopesBerm, ditch, fracture, amendOptimize water retentionACCEPT SOME DAMAGE—change our notions of beauty and health. Local & fresh trumps!The top photo shows Juneberries (saskatoons). Bottom is a pawpaw.
5 Very difficult to grow organically in the Ozarks: Most apple varietiesMost pear varietiesAll peaches, plums unless…Most bunch grapes, but…Raspberries w/o shadeCherries…except “tart”Quince, cranberry, lingonberry, currant, etc.Kiwifruit, pomegranates, guava… yetThe photo shows oozing from a peach tree, probably because of peachtree borer.Peaches and plums can be grown organically at the garden/homestead level if 1)wild plums and untended peaches are eliminated, 2) early maturing varieties are planted, 3) excellent sanitation is practiced (mostly removal of brown rot mummies), 4) ground under tree is worked up by chickens or tillers to destroy curculio pupal cases.Quince, etc. are cold-climate crops.Kiwifruit, etc. are warm-climate crops…and might bear experimenting with.
6 Serious and Common Apple Problems in AR & OKLA: Summer rotsPlum curculioFireblightCedar apple rustDeer, squirrelsBorers!HeatFly speck & sooty blotchPoor soilTop left: bitter rot of apples (on of the summer rots)Lower left: sooty blotch & fly speck on applesLower center: roundhead apple tree borer larvaLower right: Plum curculio adult
7 Serious and Common Pear Problems in the Ozarks: fireblight, fireblight, and fireblight… Slide on left is blight-resistant pear budded onto a shoot from the (blight resistant) rootstock, but immediately adjacent to blight-susceptible stump: to illustrate the power of genetic resistance.
8 Serious & Common Peach Problems in the Ozarks Brown rot!!!Plum curculio!!Peachtree borers!Bacterial spotOriental fruit mothJune beetlesBacterial cankerRoot rotsPeach leaf curlPhoto is brown rot.
9 Serious and Common Grape Problems in the Ozarks Black rotDowny mildewPowdery mildewGrape root borerGrape berry mothEutypa + phomopsis=dead armBirdsJune and Japanese beetlesPhoto: black rot
10 Do Grow: Persimmons Strawberries Blueberries if … Select Munson grapes ElderberriesSelect apple varieties on MM.111Blight-resistant pears on calleryana or ??MuscadinesJujubesDo Grow:Photo: Yates American persimmonBlueberries if you water through the season, even after harvest, and you take care to adjust pH.
11 Do Grow (cont.): Blackberries (U of A !!!) Pawpaws! Juneberries Tart cherries (if soil…)Raspberries w/shade …Peaches and plums IFGooseberriesExperiment with: cold-hardy figs, zombie fruit and other heat-tolerant plantsPhoto is Chinese melon tree, Cudrania tricuspidata.Tart cherry rootstocks need well-drained soil to avoid root rots.
12 More specifically: PEARS Europeans: Magness & Blake’s Pride Maxine PotomacPineappleTysonKeiffer & Seckel*Asians:ShinkoKorean GiantKoyamaClear Moon*Seuri*Top photo is Magness. Bottom is Shinko.Keiffer, Seckel, Clear Moon, and Seuri have only moderate resistance to fire blight—careful cutting out of blighted limbs necessary every year.
13 More specifically… Arkansas Black King David* Arkansaw Pristine APPLES (on MM-111):Arkansas BlackKing David*ArkansawPristineWilliams PrideEnterpriseFlorinaLiberty *Orleans*Top photo: mix of Williams Pride and PristineBottom photo: Arkansas Black*King David, Liberty, and Orleans susceptible to summer rots.
14 More specifically (cont): GRAPES:CarmanChampanelAmerica (& other Munson varieties?)Edelweiss & Swenson RedMars* & others w/organic copperPhoto: Carman
15 Pest and Disease Management Right varietiesRight site or modifyBe watchful—direct action!Be patient w/beneficialsSeldom intervene; right tool at the right timeDiversify and preventAccept some damageTop: Assassin bug feeding on Jap beetle on blackberriesBottom: Apple baits an electric deer fence.
16 Eco-logical Pest Management? “Bringing knowledge to bear in a timely fashion.”“Tolerance” vs. “resistance” – keep plants healthy …But remember: “pests” have their own imperatives!Healthy, organic plants can and will still get lots of damage—tolerance means they can bounce back.
17 Processing as Part of Pest Management Photo: Pressing apples for cider.Point is that processing fruit will allow for more pest damage than fresh fruit.Processing as Part of Pest Management
18 Experiment?Photo: Sweet cherries in high tunnel. Photo Gregory Lang, MSU
19 Soils and Fertility Heavy clay soils Rock Weathered Low fertility (“ultisol”)Low O.M.Organic fertilizers expensive
20 Soils and Fertilizers (cont.) Solutions:Right plant/right rootsFracture, ditch, & bermAdd O.M. but …Mulch heavilySource local fertilizers and mulchAdjust pH as per soil testDon’t add too much O.M. to planting hole or you’ll create the “potted plant” effect.
21 summary Get the right plant from the start!!! Common sense pest controlMix it up/diversifyKnow your soil and adjust accordinglyAlways mulchAccept some damage
22 ATTRA publications on fruit: Access: attra.ncat.org orTree Fruits: Organic Production OverviewApples: Organic Production GuideBlueberries: Organic ProductionGrapes: Organic ProductionOrganic Culture of Bramble FruitsClimate Change and Perennial Fruits and Nuts: Investing in ResiliencePawpaw — A "Tropical" Fruit for Temperate ClimatesPeaches: Organic and Low-Spray ProductionPears: Organic ProductionPersimmons, Asian and AmericanStrawberries: Organic ProductionPlums & Apricots: Organic ProductionCommunity OrchardsCherries: Organic Production
23 Thanks to DigIn! and NCAT Photo: Arkansas Blacks in picking bag. Note minor imperfections.