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My Backyard planting experience (so far) - Zone 4a/b Quebec, Cana

Hello all,

When starting out I have found this forum to be the most helpful in all the internet for home orchard questions and so I wanted to create a post with my experiences so far that might be able to help someone else as well as the sites/stores that have been useful to me. My idea is to simply post what I have in the ground for now and update as it goes with what has done well and what did not work. My house has it's master bedroom on the ground floor so the only way I am leaving this place is someone taking me out feet first so I should have years and years of updates to come.

I grew up on the west coast on an acreage and we had fruit in our garden year round. Since moving away I have been waiting to have my own place to replicate that experience. Now is that time.

I am located in Quebec, Canada in zone 4a/b. Winter can get down to -38C (-36F) while summers can have a couple weeks at +35C (95F). Last winter we had 5 feet of standing snow before the melt in mid April while the year before we had +18C for 1 week in February followed by 2 weeks around -35C after all the snow melted! Last frost is frequently 3rd week of May and first frost can hit 4th week September so not a huge growing season.

Since Fall 2012 I have been shoving a ton of different plants into the heavy clay (where certain areas are under 2 inches of water for 2-3 weeks in the spring during the melt) of my south facing acre lot and seeing what survives and prospers. Below are what I either have in the ground or am waiting for in Spring/Fall 2015 (pretty much only 6 apples and a couple grapes that I am waiting for).

I try to buy disease resistant and hardy stock from nurseries close to my zone (see below). I have tried to stagger maturation times both within fruit varieties but also between different fruit so that I have a continuous harvest from end of May (Rhubarb) well into November (Goldrush) and I have chosen certain Apples and Asian Pears for their keeping capability so that I will have fresh fruit from my cold room into the late spring.

So far I have only allowed my Rhubarb, Strawberries and Raspberries to crop. Next year I will allow my cherries, chums, and a couple apples bear lightly. 2016 and 2017 is when I will really get going. Since 2012 I have been looking forward to winters because it means I am 1 year closer to my crops!

So here is the list:
Apple - Pristine - DR
Apple - Redfree - DR
Apple - Crimson crisp - DR
Apple - Liberty - DR
Apple - Celestia - H
Apple - Egremont russet - H
Apple - Swayzie Russet - H
Apple - MacFree - DR
Apple - Sundance - DR
Apple - Goldrush - DR
Apple - Enterprise - DR
Asian Pear - Hayatama
Asian Pear - Shinshiki
Asian Pear - Northbrite
Asian Pear - Kenko
Pear - Taylor Apple
Pear - Moonglow
Pear - Olympic
Plum - Toka
Plum - Superior
Plum - Kahinta
Peach - Harrow Diamond
Peach - Empress
Peach - PF24c
Chum - Kappa
Chum - Convoy
Chum - Sapalta
Haskasp - Tundra
Haskasp - Aurora
Haskasp - Honeybee
Haskasp - Borealis
Currant - Ben Cowan
Currant - Ben Sarek
Currant - Titania
Josta Berry
Saskatoon - Northline
Saskatoon - Smokey
Elderberry - Wyldwood
Elderberry - Bob Gordon
Black Raspberry - ?
Purple Raspberry - Royalty
Grape - Sommerset
Grape - Reliance
Grape - Pink Pearl
Grape - Polar Green
Grape - Earliblue
Grape - Catawba
Grape - Concord seedless
Grape - Montreal Blue
Grape - Mars
Grape - Vanessa
Grape - Petite Jewel
Blueberries - Chandler
Blueberries - Northsky
Blueberries - Toro
Blueberries - Patriot
Blueberries - Pinklimonade
Blueberries - Duke
Cherry - Romeo
Cherry - Cupid
Cherry - Juliet
Cherry - Crimson Passion
Cherry - Evans
Blackberry - Prime Arc 45
Blackberry - Prime Arc Freedom
Kiwi - Kolomitka
Kiwi - Kens Red
Kiwi - Arguta Anna
Kiwi - Arguta
Mulberry - Montreal Black
Plumcot - Taylors Gold
Strawberry - Albion
Strawberry - All Star
Rubarb - Victoria? (crown has been propagated in family for +80 years over 4 different moves!)
Rubarb - Strawberry Red
Heartnut - Imshu
Heartnut - Campbell CW-3
Medlar - Giant Breda
Medlar - Royal
Gooseberry - Black Velvet
Gooseberry - Tixia
Gooseberry - Poorman
Paw Paw - Seedling
Paw Paw - Campbell NC-1

In 2012 I got some of the plants from:
They went into bankruptcy protection in 2013 and are coming out of it now I think. Honestly I was not super happy with their stuff and service/response to e-mail/phone was non-existent. Nursery kiwi's were shipped 2 days before winter freeze and obviously died during the winter were not replaced, ect. I can't recommend them based on my personal experience, this may change though.

I get all my stuff now from: (zone 5a/b)
They were a franchise of Green Barn pre-bankruptcy. They are super nice and responsive. The primary owners are mennonites so don't expect lots of e-mails from them but their principle manager (Steve - part owner?) works with/for them and is excellent. He is super knowledgeable and very helpful. His wife runs their website and a lot of their e-mails. I like their stuff and they have a great selection (I even got some tri-ark freedom blackberry and tri-ark 45 blackberry I am trying out (new primacaine bearing varieties) that are a huge stretch for my zone. If you buy from them I strongly suggest calling and asking to talk to Steve and get his recommendations, what you might want from looking at the website might not be his top recommendation. If you call tell them Trevor from Quebec recommended them.

I also buy from: (located zone 4a/b). Bit less selection but their trees are AWESOME quality. Try to get their 2 yr old plants and you will be very happy. Honestly I have found that their trees seem to be in a bit better shape and take off a bit faster than but I think it is because is just starting up and does not have a lot of their own rootstock yet and have been outsourcing a lot. That said while the may take an extra year to get going their stuff has not died on me, some has just struggled a bit.

I have tried to get stuff from but they don't respond to e-mail or telephone. I would love to at least get some scion wood from some rarer apples.

It looks like scion wood is easier to get from, but I am a bit concerned about hardiness in my zone 4a/b region so I have not tested them yet.

My table grapes will be growing on a geneva double curtain trellis I bought from UPS shipping to Canada was brutally expensive.

For an interesting approach to an organic permaculture orchard take a look at ( They did a 2 hr documentary that you can buy the DVD or download a DRM free file.

Sorry for the essay. I just thought that as the years go by and I post reports and photos on my experience that it will be easier to keep them all in all in this one post.

All the best,


Comments (62)

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oh and Konrad, my rational for the huge variety of plants is to see what works for my climate and soil conditions. Sort of throw a bunch of things at the wall to see what sticks. If they die or don't produce, or are disease magnets or I don't like the taste they will get torn out and something else planted. I would rather have 3 different gooseberries than gambling on 3 plants of 1 variety. I would rather get started now and see in 5-7 year what the results are than plant a smaller selection then add to it in 5-7 years and have to wait ANOTHER 5-7 years for production. Full bore ahead!

  • Konrad___far_north
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Sure, if money and space is no subject.

    And buying from a fraudulent greenbarn without names on plants you're loosing more down the road.

    >>Black raspberries - 3 plantsYou have a picture, [first one] just below but not black berries?

    Sorry, I thought you did buy from hardy nursery.

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  • Konrad___far_north
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I see you got some bare root plants late this fall,..wonder why?

    They just sit there in your cold zone and don't do anything except might suffer from winter cold and rodent damage.

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago


    Well because the nurseries ship in the fall too and apparently any time soil temperature is high enough the roots grow and you get a head start. Thus far I have not noticed a big difference between plants I put in the ground in the fall vs the spring (possibly because I have managed to screw them both up at times with over aggressive pruning, poor hole planting, planting too deep and having to replant once ground settled, planting in wrong place according to wife and having to replant, killing with 100% latex paint on bark, ect). I know the ground is warm under the snow and not too wet because come spring I see all the vole tunnels through the grass and they would not do that if there was standing water or the ground was frozen solid. That said, in colder zones I do think you are right that spring plantings are better HOWEVER, both my 2014 ''spring'' orders from 2 different places arrived late may and June 1st respectively due to the very late winter we had. So I'm going to keep planting in the fall to get that extra 6+ weeks of spring growth (melt was April 11th for me this year) before the warm, dry weather in June, July comes and blasts the under-rooted plants.

    From the links below you can see that a lot of them mention Fall planting too. It's hard to know who to listen to which is why I try things out and make my decision on what works best for my situation.
    ''Have fall trees dug mid-Oct to late Nov, spring trees late Mar to early May.''
    ''Deciduous trees also can be successfully planted in fall because their roots are capable of growing even when soil temperatures fall to 45_F. '' Thought they do say ''''Planting too late in the fall season may result in poor root growth and occasionally tree death. ''
    ''One advantage of fall planting is that the buds will not awaken until spring, after the tree has experienced enough cool weather to sense that winter is over.''

    Among others.

    All the best.

  • northwoodswis4
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    All winter you will be staring out the window and dreaming of what the future may bring. Then come spring you will watch every bush and tree carefully for progress of buds, blossoms, leaves, etc. There will also be disappointments, but hopefully not too many. Best wishes with your endeavor. Northwoodswis

  • don555
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Not sure where

    This post was edited by don555 on Fri, Nov 14, 14 at 21:47

  • Konrad___far_north
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It's really not worth it..not gaining anything, in the contrary.
    Roots don't grow anymore in late fall plantings, zone 4, it was proven.
    It's really only then nurseries pushing for fall plantings,'s their second income in the year.

    Fall planting is only good when potted, [not fresh] grown in the pot for a season max.

    Bare root can get winter damage, roots can get freezer burned.

    I'm glad that my purchase from Green barn [4 dead trees] was in the spring,...not waiting over a half a year to find out if they grow. [warranty issue not delayed].

  • RedSun (Zone 6, NJ)
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I do not have experience growing in Zone 3 or Zone 4. But I'll have to say that:

    hungryfrozencanuck is a dedicated and brave kind garden soul. So much work to grow all he listed. Hope he can get good harvest from his great efforts.

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks Konrad. Sounds like you really know your stuff. From now on it is spring planting a for me.

    Redsun, thanks for the kind words. I'm a geek scientist at heart, thus my detailed reports and experimentation. I have a ton of varieties because I don't know what will do well and some of these things I've never even tasted. Konrad is right in that it is a potential waste of money and space but I happen to be blessed in that money is not a big deal for me when we're talking about $20 or $30 trees and to be honest I like having variety. Honestly, if even half of everything I've planted makes it to full production I will have more food than I know what to do with and will be bringing it into work to share as well as giving to my local women's shelter and handicap home. And since I've been planting this orchard it makes me look forward to our winters because it means that another growing season is just around the corner. That, and being able to just turn off my mind and leave my day job behind while I work in the garden is priceless. If something ends up not working out for me or does not taste good, I will just tear it out and let you all know of my negative experience and try something else. I'll take one for the team!

  • FrancoiseFromAix
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    HFcanuck, I enjoyed very much your report and photos. I would be delighted to read how your trees manage winter 2014-2015.

    Thank you very much for having taken the time to write. Please keep us informed.

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    duplicate post.

    This post was edited by hungryfrozencanuck on Fri, Feb 6, 15 at 20:28

  • Alain
    7 years ago

    Wow! That is a super interesting endeavour. I too live and work in Quebec city and have started a new orchard in Petit-Saguenay. There are a few of your plantings I would like to try myself, so It will be very interesting to read you in the near future to see how your things are doing.
    We could also get in touch for trades later on if you like (I can graft, so cuttings are great). You can look up my blog here:
    You can reach me via my blog. Keep us updated and thanks for sharing!

  • asimpson_gw
    7 years ago

    What do you mean about Latex paint killing trees? I painted my trunks before winter. I received some apple trees from Siloam orchards In the fall. Trees were dormant but looked healthy with good grafts. Eric was very responsive. I also ordered peach plum and cherry trees from morie Essex nursery last year. The trees grew well and were healthy for spring planting. I'm placing a small order with whiffle tree nursery this spring. I'm in zone 6a/5b in southern Ontario.

  • Alain
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    By the way, I tried transplanting in the fall (around, say mid-September) with a 100% success rate. True, I do keep soil around the roots, so the plant is not truly bare-rooted. But all the plants I moved in September did much better then those in the spring (I can only plant in mid-May, when the snow is finally gone for me, up in Northern zone 3).
    And also, I did paint my tree trunks with latex and it did not kill any of them. Only those that were not hardy enough died, regardless of paint, protection or anything else I tried (for anything sticking out of the snow).

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks for the comments.

    Regarding latex paint. I am no expert by any means. You can see my post on my personal experience with pure latex, vs 50:50 latex:water vs 1/3 latex 1/3 water 1/3 joint compound.

    The majority of the trees (1 year old whips, 2 year old small trees) I painted with pure latex died. When I rubbed the bark areas painted with latex the bark peeled away and was moist/rotten. Rubbing the bark of the dead trees above the latex painted area showed no rot and the bark was dry and adhered well. It is possible that the trees simply died for other reasons and then the latex promoted rot in the already dead tree, I don't know. I know pure latex paint is used by big orchards, could it be due to the age of my trees?

    All I know is that in my soil/climate/hands I had better experience with 50:50 latex:water (but would peel after 1-2 years) and 1/3 latex 1/3 water 1/3 joint compound. The 1/3 mixture has the added benefit of being a nice mud texture that really paints on easily without a ton of drips and really gets into cracks and crevasses so that is what I use now.

    asimpson: I am jealous you were able to get a hold of Siloam orchards. I have been trying for 3 years. They never answer the phone. They don't respond to voice mail messages. They responded only once to e-mail but then never responded again. I was not impressed. Perhaps because my order was only for 4 trees they figure I am not worth their time?

    Alain, nice blog! Looks like you are a couple years in front of me in growth, looks great! Have you deer-fenced your orchard? Your land looks like deer heaven and I am having issues here even though I am more suburbs than rural. For grafting/cuttings, just let me know what you would like. I will probably be doing my winter pruning in the next 2 weeks so I could mail you cuttings by Canadapost. Some plants and the stuff I planted last fall are still small so I can't give you a lot but just let me know, it otherwise just goes in the compost. What apple varieties do you have? Je lis française donc vous pouvez me écrire en français si vous le souhaitez.

  • ubro
    7 years ago

    hungryfrozencanuck what a wonderful post, It is an interesting read.

    On the topic of fall planting, I have ordered trees in the fall and my issue is, that if the trees have to be shipped, as mine were, when they were unpacked I found that the buds had just begun to swell and that meant instant death the minute the cold hit, I believe their dormancy had just broken. Obviously the transit was too warm and long all the way out to Sask, there was no way to save those trees and all perished.

    I have transplanted in the fall with good results, but I will confine my ordering to the spring.

  • codym17
    7 years ago

    Just wanted to say i also appreciate your post, you've listed about every cultivator that ive ever been curious about trying. Unfortunately my lot is dinky compared to yours so that has kept me from experimenting and sticking to what i know will work. Good luck and looks to me like you have plenty of room for more!

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks for the note. Yes I still have empty space for more but I believe my wife has reached the limits of her tolerance for encroaching upon our backyard living space. From now on if I want to add something I think I will do it by grafting. Honestly, keeping everything healthy and well managed should keep me busy from here on.

    As for lack of space in your area, keep following, I will continue posting here as the years go by to let you know how things go. Perhaps from my experimenting you can find something worthwhile to add to your collection.

  • mattpf (zone4)
    7 years ago

    How did the pf-24c peaches do? Your in zone 4 I am very curious to see if they did ok there for you

  • asimpson_gw
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I will share my experience with pf24c. My pf24c did well, they are full of leaves and only had a little winter kill of a few small twigs. We got down to -31C. The cherries are also fine. The other peaches have severe winter damage to the upper branches. So far I am liking the pf24c peach.

  • mattpf (zone4)
    7 years ago

    Where did you get the pf-24c tree from ?

    I just ordered one ..... I hear you guys had a bad winter this passed . We had a nice winter . How many times did you guys get to minus 30 or colder.

  • mattpf (zone4)
    7 years ago

    I spoke to whiffle yesterday and he actually told me all there peaches didn't do well because it was a real bad one for you guys out east.

  • asimpson_gw
    7 years ago

    I got my peaches trees from Mori essex nursery in Niagara. We only went to -31c once here in North Burlington. Whiffletree is right it was a bad winter.

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Will fill is a full spring report later. My peaches did not survive. Low was -34C. I need to look at my photos but I think big issue was I don't think tree went dormant in time. I had over 24 inches of growth though the season. In late Nov I still had leaves.

    I got it from pepiniere ancestrale and plan on calling them to see how their more mature trees did.

    The peaches were not my only casualty. Most pears had bad dieback too. Raspberries, chums, haskasp, sask sour cherries, just laughed at the winter. Grapes were covered and did great till -2C on May 23! Full report in a week or 2.

  • mattpf (zone4)
    7 years ago

    Toka brookgold westcot apricot brookred waneta can all take -3 when in bloom for a few hours . One night went to -5 and I lost all the apricots but the plums are crazy hardy. Peaches bloom later than both I think I'll test my luck.

    Why doesn't anybody testing peaches threshold try the dwarfs. They get 4ft tall max. I had 2ft tall trees with dozens of massive amazing tasting peaches and nectarines on them .only problem was me trying to replicate winter and the opened up in my warm cold storage that was inconsistent. I have many seedlings growing. These trees are called empress genetic dwarf peach and golden prolific nectarine gentic dwarf. The peach was hands down best peach I ever tasted and the nectarine blew it away only better tasting nectarine I tatsed in Canada was Fantasia. I remember the Fantasia was almost all red and tasted better than a super ripe mango. But it's a zone 6 or 7 tree that you guys in Ontario may have major issue with. They grow it in. The southern okanagan valley most people in Canada don't know that we have our own California it's called okanagan valley. It's the tip of a dessert that starts in Mexico called señora dessert it ends in okanagan falls just south of kelowna. Plus 35-45 everyday in in the summer low humidity not like your Great Lakes smog humidity. With that humidity it would be plus 55 with humidex or worse.

    .... Anyways the gentic dwarfs are both zone 5 trees one could easily build a simple bamboo stick box around it line of with burlap of white material fill it with something and you will easily get it to survive in Quebec where it's zone 4-5 . I am south of calgary and it's mild cold winters and dry hot summers. Peaches don't survive here unless you know what your doing. I grow zone 5 plums here no problem along with asian pear did fine for me till I removed it because I had no pollinator and didn't care about the, much because they are not that great a fruit anyways.

  • mattpf (zone4)
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Apricots are almost impossible to grow in the high altitude of calgary. Bloom so early. I had grape size fruits finally set a bumper on two trees and one night was minus 5 problem I put the patio heater near them all night on low. They did fine until the last night. Weather man says plus 2 is the low wake up in the morning to find my grapes zapped by cold and the apricots all messed up. He was off by 9 degrees a cold mountain high altitude bullcrap system came in at night and it was minus 7 for 4 or 5 hours. All my plums survived and fruited. Had 5 apricot trees 2 trees died almost down to the graft the others just lost there fruit except my westcot .a rabbit chewed 80% of the stump and it bloomed so late and has tiny fruits now on it that I am pruning heavily to support it and try and keep some of it alive so I can graft it to my other "not so hardy " apricots that are "apparently "the same tree but don't have same look and have been labeled m604 this year by "bylands" . To me bylands has never sold westcot they sold m604 and called it westcot for years. This year it's called westcot m604 .they are not as hardy as a true westcot not even close. I bought the westcot in red deer alberta and it never has an inch of die back in a terrible non sheltered location on the north side of my house where not much grows well

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Part 1

    Ok, here is my spring/early summer report for 2015.

    We had a brutal long winter.
    First frost was Sept 19, 2014. First
    snow was Nov 15. April 1st
    was -12 C. Last snow was April 8. Thaw started April 10. We were lucky this year in that we had very
    good snow cover that never melted. Total
    cumulative snowfall was 194 cm (76.7 inches).
    So while air temps were brutal, roots did ok. Now that it is summer it is amazing to see
    the general damage. Driving around one
    can see numerous 40-50 foot trees that have had the upper 30 feet fully die
    back and only shoots forming from the base of the crown.

    As you know my soil is heavy clay and there are lower areas
    that have standing water. In fact during
    the winter I checked and there was 2 inches of standing water in my lower areas
    that was frozen solid.

    So I had damage from winter temps but most of my fruit
    dreams for the year were shattered by the following. May 18 temp reached 28 C. May 23 minimum was -2.4 C.

    That May 23 frost was brutal. I was on vacation at the time and could take
    no precautions. It killed all growth on
    my grapes which at that time had put out 8” shoots, EXCEPT the 2 grapes that
    were sheltered under a tree. Pretty
    amazing that with ambient temp of -2.4 C simply being under the canopy of a
    tree was enough to save them, next year if it happens I will try putting a
    plastic sheet over my trellis any time it calls for frost and see if that

    So here is my summary:

    Note thaw occurred April 10.
    First miniature Crocus flowering April 15. Giant Crocus and Muscari flowing April 28.

    Apple - Pristine Bud9-
    DR (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    Apple - Redfree Bud9-
    DR (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    Apple - Crimson crisp Bud9- DR (Planted May 2015 from

    Apple - Liberty M26?- DR (Planted Fall 2012 - alive and
    doing well) Green Barn

    Apple - Egremont russet Bud9- H (Planted May 2015 from

    Apple - MacFree M26?- DR (Planted Fall 2012 - alive and
    doing well) Green Barn

    Apple - Goldrush Bud9 - DR (Planted May 2015 from

    Apple - Enterprise M7 - DR (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)
    (M7 is error, should have been Bud9)

    and Macfree leafing out May 9.

    The Liberty
    and Macfree have had 0 dieback since 2012.
    Main issue is deer browsing – I am working on a fence. There were flowers but got nailed by frost. Perhaps next year.

    Pear - Hayatama (Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale
    - die back to graft union - sending up shoots)

    Pear - Shinshiki (Planted Fall 2012 from Green barn -
    died. Planted May 2014 from pepiniere
    ancestrale - died after winter)

    Pear - Northbrite (Planted Fall 2012 - always has been
    struggling - not much dieback but not thriving) Green Barn

    Pear - Kenko (Planted Spring 2013 - never grew well and
    keeps dying back to graft union - sending up shoots) - Green Barn

    Pear - Taylor Apple (Planted Spring 2013 - never grew well
    and keeps dying back to graft union - sending up shoots) - Green Barn

    Pear - Moonglow (Planted fall 2014 Whiffletree - died back
    to graft over winter - sending up shoots)

    Pear - Olympic (Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale -
    died after winter)

    So either the pears don’t like the weather, don’t like the
    soil or a combination of both. Some of
    the younger plants (Kenko, Taylor Apple) put out 4 foot shoots last year but
    did not harden off and died back to rootstock over winter. Others like Moonglow, Shinshiki which were 2-3
    year old trees (4-5 foot) when planted died back fully to rootstock. They are still sending up shoots so I will try
    another year or two but pull them out if I keep getting dieback. It’s too bad because I really wanted pears.

    Plum - Toka (Planted May
    2014 from pepiniere ancestrale - survived winter)

    Plum - Superior
    (Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale - thriving - 4 feet growth this
    year - 2015)

    Plum - Kahinta (Planted May
    2014 from pepiniere ancestrale - survived winter)

    Plum – Black Ice (Planted
    May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    Kahinta and Toka flowered May 9. So far seem to be doing pretty well. Superior
    is super happy, putting on 3-4 feet of growth this year alone. Toka is in 2nd place and Kahinta
    seems to be struggling a bit. Black Ice
    was just planted. Of note – these are
    all planted in the wettest area of my yard. Standing water late fall and sprink, winter
    can be 1” of frozen water on ground. I
    am crossing my fingers.

    Peach - Harrow Diamond (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree -
    died after winter)

    Peach - Empress (Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale
    - died after winter) Kept over winter in
    unheated garage)

    Peach - PF24c (Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale -
    died after winter)

    Apricot – Harrow Star - (Planted Fall 2012 from Green barn –

    Harrow Diamond was not a surprise – it leafed out but never
    really grew. PF24c I am disappointed with
    because it grew amazingly with 24+ inches of growth with some branches going
    from 3-4mm to 15mm in diameter over the summer. It still had leaves until Nov/Dec so I wonder
    if it did not go dormant before the freeze? Or did it not like my soil? All dead – I was really sad about the PF24c. Empress did not make it. I kept it in an unheated garage but I think
    it still got too cold. I am going to try
    PF24c again next year and give up if it does not work.

    Chum - Kappa (Planted Fall 2012 - growing well - flowered
    heavily but hit by frost May 2015, no leaf dieback) Green Barn

    Chum - Convoy (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - died. Planted May 2014 - growing well - flowered
    heavily but hit by frost May 2015, no leaf dieback) Green Barn

    Chum - Sapalta (Planted May 2013 - growing super well -
    flowered heavily but hit by frost May 2015, no leaf dieback) Green Barn

    Leafing out May 9.
    Sapalta was leafing out and flowering at the same time on May 9 and in
    full flower May 14. Frost May 23 got all
    flowers. No dieback of leaves or shoots
    due to frost.

    Haskasp – Tundra (Planted Fall 2013 from
    survived winter)

    Haskasp – Aurora (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree –
    survived winter)

    Haskasp – Honeybee (Planted Fall 2013 from
    – survived winter)

    Haskasp – Borealis (Planted Fall 2013 from
    – survived winter)

    Borealis flowered May 9. Frost May 23 got all flowers. No dieback of leaves or shoots due to frost.

    – Northline (Planted May 2014 from – survived winter)

    – Smokey (Planted May 2014 from – died from poor shipping)

    Not a real test.
    Plants were shipped bare root with NO MEDIA/moisture for roots. Arrived bone dry. Not impressed.

    Elderberry – Wyldwood (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    Elderberry - Bob Gordon (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    To early to tell.
    Deer like these too.

    Black Raspberry - ? (Planted Fall 2012 from Green barn –
    thriving and fruited)

    Purple Raspberry - ? (Planted Fall 2012 from Green barn –
    thriving and fruited)

    Purple Raspberry – Royalty (Planted May 2014

    Purple and black raspberries starting to flower June 4. They are planted next to the house so perhaps
    were not exposed to frost but anyways they are doing great. The plants on the west side had 50% dieback on
    about 10% of canes (not a big surprise as western sun against brick wall in
    winter is a tough condition). These are
    TOUGH and produce well. Black/Purple raspberries are supposed to stay
    in clumps and not sucker but these are suckering, at least locally within 3-4
    feet of the original plant. Had big
    problems with earwig damage to fruit last year. Will try bait and only watering in early am.

    Grape – Sommerset (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - survived

    Grape – Reliance (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    Grape - Pink Pearl
    (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - survived winter - thriving)

    Grape - Polar Green (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - survived
    winter – thriving)

    Grape – Earliblue (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - survived
    winter, struggling (wet soil?))

    Grape – Catawba (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    Grape - Concord
    seedless (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – survived winter)

    Grape - Montreal Blue (not received)

    Grape – Mars (not received)

    Grape – Vanessa (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    Grape - Petite Jewel (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree)

    I stressed the heck out of my Somerset, Polar Green, Pink Pearl and
    Earliblue so this might not be a true test. They were planted fall 2012. With the spring melt in 2013 I panicked that
    they were underwater so I dug them up and planted higher in mounds. Then in Fall 2013 my wife wanted a cedar hedge
    so at dormancy I dug them up again and transplanted to another location. So in first year of life here they were moved
    3 times. All have bounced back except
    Earliblue which has struggled. It
    however is in an area that has a bit more water than the others so I am
    wondering if it is drowning a bit. Anyways,
    Polar Green had grown like crazy and as of Fall 2012 I had 2 x 7 foot canes. I did a cold tolerance test and laid one cane
    down along the ground and covered with leaves. The other cane I left standing. BOTH canes survived winter but the cane left
    exposed broke dormancy LATER. May 9th
    - at the time the protected cane was at “Bud burst/1st leaf separated”,
    the exposed cane was only at “Wooly Bud” or earlier.

    This played a role during the deep frost of
    May 23 when temps fell to -2.4 C with frost as the protected cane had 6-8”+ of
    growth that all died back while the exposed cane was still breaking buds. On June 10th both the protected
    cane’s domant buds as well as the exposed canes primary buds were breaking at
    about the same time.

    At June 15 the
    exposed cane had 3 inch shoots with 5 leaves AND inflorescence while the frost
    hit protected cane was still at “1st leaf separated”.

    Today July 4th the cane that was protected,
    shooted early, got hit by frost, now has 14” shoots with NO grape clusters. The cane that was left exposed now had 24+
    inch shoots WITH 3 grape clusters. Of
    note, I am growing replacement trunks from the base and these canes/shoots have
    now grown 5-6 feet in the same time the other shoots have gone 12-24 inches..

    Blueberries – Chandler
    (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - survived winter/frost – fruiting)

    Blueberries – Northsky (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn -
    survived winter/frost – fruiting)

    Blueberries – Toro (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - survived
    winter/frost – fruiting)

    Blueberries – Patriot (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn -
    survived winter/frost – fruiting)

    Blueberries – Pinklimonade (Planted fall 2013 from local –
    dieback over winter, sending shoots)

    Blueberries – Duke (Planted May 2014 from Costco - survived
    winter/frost – fruiting)

    The blueberries are struggling. I know I don’t have the soil for them so they
    are planted in raised mounds. I don’t
    have the acidity. I also probably don’t
    water them enough. I am giving them a
    try as a test. I will try acid
    fertilizer next year and I am in the process of installing irrigation. Most are starting to fruit (a bit) so I hope
    to taste some this summer.

    Cherry – Romeo (Planted Fall 2013 from
    survived winter)

    Cherry – Cupid (Planted Fall 2013 from
    survived winter)

    Cherry – Juliet (Planted Fall 2013 from
    survived winter)

    Cherry - Crimson Passion (Planted Fall 2013 from
    – survived winter)

    Cherry – Evans (Planted May 2014 from
    died from poor shipping)

    Still growing. The
    deer LOVE these so they keep getting haircuts which is not helping them much. Going to try and fence them better.

    Blackberry - Prime Arc 45 (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree
    – roots survived winter)

    Blackberry - Prime Arc Freedom (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree
    – roots survived winter)

    Prime Arc Freedom starting sending up shoots May 13. The frost of Sept 19 stopped the blackberries
    from ripening. They were planted as 2”
    plugs in May so I am hoping that with a decent root base that they can shoot
    and flower fast enough to give enough time to ripen the berries on the
    primacanes. I moved the Prime Arc 45 to
    a country lot as I did not want thorns in my garden. The Freedomes I left, I did a half assed job
    of burying canes last fall. I just
    tossed a couple inches of leaves on them. Honestly with snow compression and wind, they
    were not covered well and no surprise most canes were dead. BUT, some canes near the base where they were
    well protected did survive and I saw 2-3 floricane flowers and I have a couple
    berries now! This fall I will try a
    better job covering them. For people
    trying these under high tunnels, this could be an interesting cultivar.

    Seaberries - (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn – Survived winter)

    Appear to be males.
    Planted in a rural area on heavy clay with no irrigation. Growing like crazy.

    Kiwi – Kolomitka (Planted pots May 2014 from pepiniere
    ancestrale – late fall transplant – did not survive winter)

    Kiwi - Kens Red (Planted pots May 2014 from pepiniere
    ancestrale – late fall transplant – did not survive winter)

    Kiwi - Arguta Anna (Planted pots May 2014 from pepiniere
    ancestrale – late fall transplant – did not survive winter)

    Kiwi – Arguta (Planted pots May 2014 from pepiniere
    ancestrale – late fall transplant – did not survive winter)

    I think the failures are my fault. I bought them but then did not have place to
    plant them so left in pots all summer with sub-optimal watering. I think they were severely stressed. I planted them in the bush last fall but this
    spring they were all dead.

    Mulberry - Seedling (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn – survived

    Very late to leaf out (June 4). Now growing great. No fruit yet.

    Plumcot - Taylors Gold (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree – survived winter)

    Got a haircut from deer. Now fenced.

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Part 2

    Strawberry – Albion –
    Everbearing (Planted May 2014 from Costco – survived winter)

    Strawberry - All Star – June bearing (Planted May 2014 from
    Costco – survived winter)

    These plants were overwintered under straw. First Albion
    strawberries eaten June 17. First All
    Star berries eaten June 27. All Star
    have a nicer taste than Albion but ever
    bearing has a big advantage to my mind for length of season. I am having a HUGE problem with birds eating
    my strawberries. I am loosing 95% to
    birds, I need to net them.

    Rubarb - Victoria? (crown has been propagated in family for
    +80 years over 4 different moves!)

    Rubarb - Strawberry Red (Planted May 2014 from Costco –
    survived winter)

    Rhubarb breaking ground May 1. First harvest of 1.6kg from 2 plants on May

    1. Another 2.6kg from 4 plants on June

    Heartnut – Imshu (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – did
    not survive winter)

    Heartnut - Campbell CW-3 (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree
    – did not survive winter)

    Medlar - Giant Breda
    (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – did not survive winter)

    Medlar - Royal (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – did not
    survive winter)

    These are all planted on a rural property in quite sandy
    soil. They got heavily eaten by deer in
    the fall. Some mice damage over
    winter. So far appears that all are dead
    though I might see some shoots.

    Gooseberry - Black Velvet (Planted Fall 2014 from
    Whiffletree - survived winter)

    Gooseberry – Tixia (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree -
    survived winter/frost – fruiting)

    Gooseberry – Poorman (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree -
    survived winter)

    Tixia had leafed out April 28. Tixia flowered May 9. One (apparently semi ripe) tixia gooseberry
    eaten June 26th.

    Currant - Ben Cowan (Planted Fall 2013 from local – survived
    winter/frost - fruiting)

    Currant - Ben Sarek (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree –
    survived winter)

    Currant – Titania (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree –
    survived winter/frost - fruiting)

    Ben Sarek leafed out April 28. Ben Cowan has lots of berries. As of July 4 about 70-80% are black – will probably
    harvest around July 10th. Titania
    had tons of berries – all still green.
    Ben Sarek has 3-4 berries, seems about 5-7 days behind Ben Cowan but too
    few berries to really say.

    Josta Berry
    - (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree – survived winter)

    Bud break April 28.

    Paw Paw – Seedling (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree
    –survived winter)

    Paw Paw - Campbell NC-1 (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree –
    survived winter)

    NC-1 starting leafing out June 15 while the seedling had 4-5
    mid size leaves at that date.

    Deer are my current battle:

    In order of preference they love to eat:

    #1 Apple shoots

    #2 Saskatchewan
    sour cherries

    #3 European pear shoots

    #4 Plum shoots = Asian pear
    shoots = Chum shoots

    I now have all short trees/bushes wrapped in hardware
    cloth. I am in the process of wrapping
    larger trees with plastic deer fencing (

    I am installing various irrigation options from They have the best prices I have found in Canada and have
    free shipping on orders over $200 which is amazing considering I bought a roll
    of 330 feet x 7’ deer fencing as well as a ton of irrigation hose. 1000 feet of 15mil soaker hose for a bit over
    $100. Ect.

  • jessica4b
    6 years ago

    Oh, so sorry about all the loss. So glad to see you are optimistic! Giving me hope. Thanks for sharing all of this info. Seems like the pawpaws are more hardy than the heartnuts. Again, other things might have played a role here, but still... Surprised to read the mulberry made it too! Great. Here, close to Ottawa, I have a neighbour who has a 10 year old male kolomikta that is placed at the end of his property, on the west side, under a big black walnut tree (shade in summer) and is super healthy. Just saying so that you don't lose hope. If you'd like another male and female k, I got some. Just ask.

  • mattpf (zone4)
    6 years ago

    Most plums can survive -2.4c so can apricots I has a lot colder temps here in full bloom .it wasn't till I got a minus 7-8 night that killed the small fruits on the apricots but plums seemed fine but I did not set a lot of fruit and conditions were favourable this year so I haven't ruled out some drop loss due to cold ,also my trees are not that old and some plums take 5-7 years to produce heavy

    I thought your pf-24c peach survived ?

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Nope, pf-24c dead and dry. I am zone pushing a bit and my soil is sub-optimal so I will try 1 more replant and if it it dies again I will put something more suitable there.

  • asimpson_gw
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My PF24C survived -31C but had some dead branches. Paul Friday says that it has fruited after winters as low as -27C. I have two but they are young and I will keep everyone up to date on how they do over the years. My soil is sandy loam and drains well. My other peach trees seem to have put on a lot of new growth even though they had tons of dead branches (almost the entire top of the tree was dead). However I did cover my trees with snow when it went to -31C so perhaps they would not have survived our winter had I left them unprotected.

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Thanks asimpson for the note. I think the main problem was that my tree was planted just last year. The roots were young and superficial. Winter hit early, was extremely cold and extremely long. I spoke with the nursery and they had lots of die-back too. Apparently the coldest february in 115 years. Several christmas tree farms had severe die back too. I am going to try again next year.

    If you are interested you can read her note here but you will need to plug it into Google translate as it is in French. For Canadians I can highly recommend this nursery as they offer great service and excellent quality cold weather fruit trees and bushes.

    L’hiver dernier a été un des plus froids des dernières décennies et février a été le plus froid (et le plus long) en 115 ans selon
    Météo Média et Agriculture Canada. Certains producteurs ont même perdu
    une partie de leur plantation de sapins de Noël, ce qui est vraiment
    exceptionnel. Un tel hiver a fait en sorte que la zone de rusticité
    était plus froide qu’à la normale. Aussi, le peu de neige au début de la
    saison avec de grands froid peuvent abîmer sévèrement les sujets un peu
    moins rustiques comme les pêchers et poiriers asiatiques. Les sujets
    les plus jeunes et les plus « nouvellement » plantés (donc moins
    enracinés profondément) sont toujours les plus susceptibles à un tel
    hiver versus une même variété mais implantée depuis plus longtemps.

    faut savoir aussi que lorsque les arbres sont jeunes, ils sont beaucoup
    plus « fragiles » à un hiver exceptionnellement froid. Par exemple, si
    vous aviez des pêchers d’une dizaine d’années sur votre terrain, il
    aurait pu avoir que quelques dommages de cet hiver (exemple : une ou
    deux branches à tailler), mais si l’arbre est implanté depuis moins de 3
    ans et qu’il subit un hiver exceptionnel comme le dernier que nous
    avons eu et qui est malheureusement hors de notre contrôle, l’arbre peut
    y passer complètement. Quelques vergers dans le sud de la province
    (ex :Dunham) ont perdu 100% de leurs poiriers asiatiques et 100% de
    leurs pêchers (ces arbres ne provenaient pas de notre pépinière) et
    pourtant un autre producteur à quelques km en a (des plus vieux) et ne
    semble pas avoir eu de pertes majeures…

    début de l’hiver, il a fait tout près de -30 degrés avec peu ou pas de
    neige au sol et ça, c’est très difficile pour de jeunes arbres qui n’ont
    pas encore de racines profondes. D’autres facteurs, qui ne vous
    concernent probablement pas peuvent aussi causer la perte des arbres
    (ex : un sol mal drainé, l’absence de paillis à la base de ces plants
    lors d’absence de neige pendant d’aussi froides températures, compost
    après le 1er juin, arrosage trop tardif, cuvette (arbre plus
    bas que le niveau du sol durant l’hiver) etc. Si vous avez eu une pousse
    aussi grande durant la dernière saison, il est possible qu’il n’ait pas
    eu suffisamment de temps pour bien aoûter (durcissement des nouvelles

    en zone 3b limite 4a, nous réussissions à faire pousser certaines
    variétés de poires asiatiques et pêchers rustiques, sans que nous ayons
    une récolte de fruits (les bourgeons à fruits souffrent de nos hivers
    trop froids). Par contre le dernier hiver a été aussi dévastateur chez
    nous. Bien que nous ayons beaucoup de neige et que cette dernière arrive
    très tôt en saison, nous avons aussi eu des pertes considérables et
    devons rabattre nos arbres à la base (si en haut du point de greffe bien

    malheureusement le risque encouru lorsque l’on plante des variétés qui
    sont limites sous notre climat rigoureux, mais l’hiver dernier a été
    vraiment exceptionnel. Espérons que c’était le dernier hiver de la sorte
    pour quelques décennies…

    Désolés de ces inconvénients, nous vous souhaitons une belle saison

    Marianne Baril

    Pépinière Ancestrale

    3049 Rang 3 Ouest

    St-Julien, Québec

    G0N 1B0

    Tel: 418 423-3070

    Fax: 418 423-4610

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Ok, here is my year end 2015 report in follow-up to my earlier
    spring/early summer report. Which can be
    found at:

    We had a good growing year with the exception of a -2.4 C
    frost on May 23 which killed my apple, plum, sour cherry, grape and haskasp
    flowers. The remainder of the growing
    season was good with warm temperatures and sufficient rain to keep everything
    well watered but not soaking wet.

    All the Bud9 apples planted this spring from Whiffletree
    survived and put on between 6-12” of growth.
    It was supposed to be on antonovka rootstock +/- Bud9 interstems but signals got crossed
    and everything arrived on Bud9 so due to my wet soil I have planted numerous antonovka
    seeds next to each tree and will try to grow my own rootstock in place to graft
    over in spring 2017.

    Pear - Hayatama (Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale
    - died back to graft union – has sent up 2 x 3 foot shoots which I will see how
    they do this winter)

    Pear - Northbrite (Planted Fall 2012 - always has been
    struggling - not much dieback but this year put up 2 feet of growth so hoping
    roots are taking hold) Green Barn

    Pear - Kenko (Planted Spring 2013 - never grew well and
    keeps dying back to graft union – this year put up 5 feet of growth so hoping
    roots are taking hold) - Green Barn

    Pear - Taylor Apple (Planted Spring 2013 - never grew well
    and keeps dying back to graft union - this year put up 3 feet of growth so
    hoping roots are taking hold) - Green Barn

    Pear - Moonglow (Planted fall 2014 Whiffletree - died back
    to graft over winter - sending up shoots but looks like shoots are from
    rootstock and are very weak. I will
    probably pull this one out)

    Plum - Toka (Planted May
    2014 from pepiniere ancestrale - survived winter) Put on 3-4 feet of growth.

    Plum - Superior
    (Planted May 2014 from pepiniere ancestrale - thriving - 7 feet growth this
    year - 2015)

    Plum - Kahinta (Planted May
    2014 from pepiniere ancestrale - survived winter) Put on 3-4 feet of growth.

    Plum – Black Ice (Planted
    May 2015 from Whiffletree). Just getting
    established, put on perhaps 1 foot of growth.

    All my chums are continuing to grow and do well. Hopefully fruit next year.

    All haskaps are continuing to grow and do well. I had 1 Borealis planted in the frost shadow
    of my house and I got 4 tiny berries!
    First time ever tasting haskap fruit!
    Hard to say at that size/number but previous descriptions of a flavour
    mixture of raspberry/blueberry seem to be dead on. Looking forward to more next year.

    Elderberry – Wyldwood (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree) This was in 2” pots and grew about 2 feet
    this year.

    Elderberry - Bob Gordon (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree) These were bare root and grew about 6 feet
    this year! Huge difference from the
    potted Wyldwood. Not sure if this is
    variety difference I am seeing or potted vs bare root.

    Black Raspberry - ? (Planted Fall 2012 from Green barn –
    thriving and fruited)

    Purple Raspberry - ? (Planted Fall 2012 from Green barn –
    thriving and fruited)

    Purple Raspberry – Royalty (Planted May 2014

    Huge crop of Raspberries this year. Approximately 14 lbs! Next year will be my first full production
    year so I am hoping for even more. Earwigs
    were way fewer this year too. Majority
    of fruit I preserved into fruit jam although I use way less sugar than called
    for. Delicious – better than any
    raspberry jam I have ever bought. Some
    of the berries are HUGE – some 6-7 grams.

    Grape – Sommerset (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - survived
    winter). Moderate vigor. Put on 6-7 feet of growth.

    Grape – Reliance (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Moderate vigor - put on 7 feet of growth in
    first year. Made it to top wire.

    Grape - Pink Pearl
    (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - survived winter - thriving) Fairly vigorous. Put on about 8-10 feet of growth.

    Grape - Polar Green (Sommerset?) (Planted Fall 2012
    Greenbarn - survived winter – thriving).
    Very vigorous – I got about 12 feet of growth from new canes and 6 feet
    from the trunks that were left up from last year. Between the late frost and the attack of the
    Japanese beetles I only had 2 (TWO) grapes that survived to maturity! My first grapes from my vines! They were tasty but PURPLE. Dammit, looks like GreenBarn screwed me again
    and mislabelled the plants. I think this
    grape is actually Sommerset. I am hoping
    that my “Sommerset” grape is actually Polar Green as I don’t need 2 of the same

    Grape – Earliblue (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn - survived
    winter, struggling (wet soil?)) – This had a very slow start to the year but
    finally put on 6 feet of growth and made it to my top wire. It is defiantly in the wettest part of my 2
    rows so it has been struggling a bit but it has survived 3 winters so far with
    their wet soil so I am crossing my fingers.

    Grape – Catawba (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Moderate vigor – about 7 feet of growth in
    first year.

    Grape - Concord
    seedless (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree – survived winter) Vigorous.
    Put on about 12+ feet of growth.

    Grape – Vanessa (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree).Very
    vigorous – put on 12+ feet of growth in first year.

    Grape - Petite Jewel (Planted May 2015 from Whiffletree). Moderate vigor – put on 8-9 feet of growth in
    first year.

    Blueberries all struggling without much growth. I don’t think my soil is great for them. Did get some berries from Chandler and Duke as well as a couple TINY
    berries from Northsky.

    My sour cherries (Romeo, Cupid, Juliet, Crimson passion)
    continue to grow. Had to fence them
    because the deer come after these first.

    Blackberry - Prime Arc 45 (Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree
    – roots survived winter)

    Blackberry - Prime Arc Freedom (Planted May 2014 from
    Whiffletree – roots survived winter)

    We do not have the season for these to ripen. I pulled out the Prime arc 45’s last fall due
    to the thorns (I was sold them as thornless).
    The Freedome fruited on primacaines but were just starting to change
    color when first frost hit in October. I
    pulled them out because we just don’t have the growing season to ripen them. I’m not crying because I will replace them
    with Black Currants which have been doing AWESOME.

    Below is a photo from Oct 11 of primacaine berries. Last year first frost was around Sept 19.

    Seaberries - (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn – Survived winter)

    Appear to be males.
    Planted in a rural area on heavy clay with no irrigation. Growing like crazy with 0 care and 0
    irrigation despite being in an extremely dry/drought area in full sun.

    Mulberry - Seedling (Planted Fall 2012 Greenbarn – survived
    winter). Growing like crazy. Trunk is now about 3” in cross section. Hope to get fruit next year.

    Plumcot - Taylors Gold (Planted Fall 2014 from Whiffletree – survived winter).

    Got a haircut from deer.
    Now fenced. Put on 2 feet of

    Strawberry – Albion –
    Everbearing (Planted May 2014 from Costco – survived winter)

    Strawberry - All Star – June bearing (Planted May 2014 from
    Costco – survived winter)

    I don’t think they like my soil. Berries were very small. Bird pressure took 95% of them. Too much work for too little yield so I am
    pulling them out.

    Rubarb - Victoria? (crown has been propagated in family for
    +80 years over 4 different moves!)

    17 lbs harvested from 4 plants between May 31 and Sept
    29! And I am not in full production
    yet. What a great plant! Delicious and a crazy long growing
    season. Rhubarb crisp is the best.

    Gooseberries (Black velvet, Tixia, Poorman) are growing and
    I got 3 berries from Tixia. What a great
    fruit! Crisp, semi-sweet with nice
    acidity. First time I ate a
    gooseberry. Looking forward to more next

    Currants (Ben Cowan, Ben Sarek, Titania) are growing like
    gangbusters. Titania is awesome, very
    straight growing and tall, about 4 feet.
    Tested if ripness increases if left on bush and nope, once they turn
    purple just pick them before the birds.
    Found a journal article that said the same.

    Paw Paw (NC1, seedling) – Planted May 2014 from
    Whiffletree. Planted in old compost pile
    so high nutrient but tendance to be dry.
    Also FULL sun. These have struggled
    a bit, only putting on a few inches of growth over the past 2 growing
    seasons. This fall I installed an
    irrigation system on the compost pile to water my Paw Pay, goose berries,
    currants and josta berries. We will see
    if this helps in 2016. They are still
    alive though.

    Heartnut (Imshu, CW-3) - Planted May 2014 from
    Whiffletree. Planted in a rural property
    with no irrigation and sandy soil. They
    grew very well but the deer do like them.
    Survived winter 2014 ok.

    Medlar (Giant Breda,
    Royal) - Planted May 2014 from Whiffletree.
    Planted in a rural property with no irrigation and sandy soil. They grew slowly and had some mouse damage
    last winter. Bad die-back during winter
    2014 with some re-growth above graft this year but nothing great, not sure if
    will survive.


    So all in all a reasonable year. Disapointing a bit due to the late frost taking
    out all my larger fruits but did ok with berries and rhubarb. Really it was my Raspberries, Rhubarb and
    Currants that kept me happy. That said I
    am happy to still find healthy plants and good growth despite my soil being
    heavy clay and WET/Underwater in spots during late fall/early spring.

    I am hopeful for a more productive next year. I hope to get some of my first apples, chums,
    cherries, jostaberries and some more haskasps.
    Currents should start ramping up production.

    My grapes I am continuing to test their hardiness on my
    Geneva Double Curtain trellis. The
    majority have made it to the top wire with several extending 8 feet along the
    wire. I decided to go with 4 trunks from
    each plant with each trunk being permitted to grow 4’ along the trellis. So 2 trunks will be on west wire and 1 will
    grow 4’ north and the other 4’ south. 2
    trunks will be on east wire and 1 will grow 4’ north and the other 4’ south. I have left 50% of the trunks of each vine
    attached to the wire and the other 50% I have laid down where they will be
    covered by snow. This past winter I only
    did this with the Polar Green (sommerset?) and the trunk left up survived and
    simply broke buds 2 weeks later than the trunk laid down. I will also be testing each vine with cane pruning
    vs spur pruning.

    Items to be planted in 2016 are 2 replacement peaches,
    Bluebell+Swenson Red+Valient grapes, Patten pear and Tisel black currant. After that my yard is full.

    Have a good winter everyone.

  • dwoodard29
    6 years ago

    Hungryfrozencanuck, your zone 4a/b sounds about like Minneapolis. So I reckon you should be guided by local experience, Minnesota experience, and recommendations for the Canadian Prairies. I regret to have to say that many of your experiments sound wildly optimistic. For example, commercial growers of Goldrush apple in Ontario are warned that it is a long-season apple requiring at least 3000 corn heat units per season - and that's where it is winter-hardy. You would be wise to pay close attention to growing season length needs for later ripening fruit.

    I'm thinking too that your soil, clay and sometimes wet, will impose its own set of limitations beyond winter low temperatures.

    I would give up on peaches unless you are going to take heroic measures. They would need rootstocks tolerant of clay soil, maybe with an interstem, and winter protection, The late Fred Ashworth, one of he founders of NAFEX who lived in St. Lawrence County in New York State on the north slope of the Adirondacks, grew peaches on I think a dwarfing stock, suitably pruned and tied up in winter to near vertical, surrounded with a casing of old tires.

    If you can deal with the rootstock problem, Westcot apricot (bred at Morden MB) might give a crop one or two years out of 5 depending on air drainage.

    I'm surprised that you are not trying Mount Royal plum. It should be cold-hardy enough for you. Watch the rootstocks; the Myrobalans favoured in Ontario are not very coldhardy and will be killed by zone 6b test winters unless you have really thick and consistent snow cover. Yakima European plum (if you can find it, is reported of high quality and might be marginally coldhardy with you. Black knot may be a problem with plums; Mount Royal has some resistance, but you will need to be alert.

    Ribes (currants and gooseberries) are a good bet on clay, and some gooseberries have a very nice flavour fresh. Black currants are most excellent when cooked (jams, tarts, added to apple pies) and I read that some like white currant wine.

    I would not be optimistic about pawpaws in your location. Re the mulberry: my experience of seedling Morus alba is that they are pretty bland. Occasional selections may be good. The late Ed Robinson of Gaubird Nursery in Wawanesa Manitoba used to sell one. If you are willing to take wild chances you might want to try the white mulberries sold by Grimo Nut Nursery (they have a website). Ask them if they have any hardiness-limit reports (you can rely on them).

    Doug Woodard, St. Catharines, Ontario

    hungryfrozencanuck thanked dwoodard29
  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Thanks Doug. Some plums are on Mustang. More info about that is from the patent holders ( but essentailly Mustang is a cherry plum hybrid from Manitoba good down to zone 2 they say. Unclear how well it does on clay but time will tell.

    I looked at Mount-Royal but they are not my favorite tasting plum and I can get them pretty easy locally in stores so I wanted to try something different.

    Yes I know that I am pushing some traditional zones but why not try? I am getting much of my stuff from and they are in St-Julien, (QC) which is a solid Zone 4a. For Goldrush I have heard of other Quebec and Ottawa growers getting some and know for sure get them though sometimes leave them on the tree until November and they are in 4b/5a. I aim for early to mid season of most things but am willing to experiment too for varieties that just seem to good to not try.

    That is why I am here. I have the space, the time and the money to experiment. Don't worry, I'll tell you what dies and what works for me. Stay tuned.

  • mattpf (zone4)
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Mt royal is a fine tasting plum probably in the top 3 for what you'll be able to grow up here. They look like prune type plums like Italian but they are not tasting anything like them and are a lot more round. They are incredible . I have 3 got a bit of fruit this year and grafted lots to my other trees. I will graft a lot more this spring too as it was the best plum I had this year off my trees. It keeps a lot longer than jap hybrid plums so there is a benefit to growing them. I believe they are in the gauge type of plum group from Europe

  • asimpson_gw
    6 years ago

    I am a little north of doug north of waterdown. I did plant goldrush apple this past year. I have about 6 paw paws growing as well. My peaches took a beating last year, the -30C temperatures kills lots of branches. Plums, cherries (sweet and sour), and cold hardy grapes all survived well. I planted some pears like Magness this year. Is anyone trading scion wood?

  • mattpf (zone4)
    6 years ago

    I'll trade with anybody

  • ubro
    6 years ago

    hungryfrozencanuk, I assume you must speak French, the looks like a place I would order from, but I cannot speak French, do you know if they have an English version?

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Nope, french only but if you call them I think 1 of them speaks some english. You can run their site through google translate. Honestly, their order form is pretty easy to understand. Take a look and play a bit with google translate. You can plug files into google translate too:

    Worst case scenario, I can help you with an order. Just sign up for their newsletter ( e-mail, first name, last name. They will e-mail their spring availability to the newsgroup 1-2 weeks before posting on the website so you get first crack at products. You can upload the newsletter to google translate to read it. Put together an order using the excel file they will send in spring 2016 and e-mail it to them. If you need help arranging payment OR you have questions and they can't help you in English you can give me your questions and I will talk to them. This offer stands for other Canadians too but if I get dozens of requests I might have to limit it a bit.

    I have no affiliation and get no kickbacks. I just want to support our farmers/growers and help people get better stuff than what we find in our local nurseries. I really like these guys as they seem grow all their stuff, some other places source from other growers and you are not sure the real zone of the plants. Be aware that in zone 2a you are going to be pretty limited. Take a look at the Alaska growers for tips. High tunnels and some earth berm shelters may be the way to go for you:


    Among others.

  • ubro
    6 years ago

    Thanks hfc . I will take your advice about google translate and try to fill out a form. I know my zone can be a challenge, I have been working with grafting marginally hardy apple varieties onto hardy siberian apple rootstock for a few years now and I am interested in doing plums. Pepin seems to stock the ones I would like. I can easily find apple scions to buy but plums are almost impossible.

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Do what you can and I can help with the rest.

  • Alain
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I am in zone 3a/b and I have been using (and my dad before me) black plum (nigra) for grafting (works for asian/salicina type like toka Ptitsin and fofonoff, european plums, and also cherry plums). It goes dormant early in the fall and helps the plums overwinter better. I tried growing Toka and Ptitsin on their own roots and they simply wont stop growing in the fall, they just die out in the winter; the ones that were not grafted died to the snow line twice with me over the two past winters 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. On the other hand, the grafts on prunus nigra did just fine (for the same king of plums (toka and ptitsin). We have been growing those varieties for years and they never suffered winter injuries on nigra rootstock.

    You can get them for grafting here:

    By the way HFC, I just noticed your question wayyyy back on the thread about the deer fencing. I did not yet fence my stuff, but I have been fighting with deer browing all summer long. Deer were not a nuisance before recently up in the Saguenay area, they use to be inexistant. No more.

    So last spring, I did build small barriers out of patio doors screening that I cut and tied into tunnels. That was fine for twigs and small grafts. But it will not do next year.

    Deer do love to chew on ALL my apple trees, cherries, chums, plums, pears. Pretty much everything. So first thing I will do next spring after grafting and planting my new stuff: FENCING! FENCING FENCING! I am getting one of those deer fence 7 1/2 feet high and will install it around my orchard. When I see a deer, it is no longer a cute little bambi, it is now a Bambi from hell.

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Best I found for fencing is:

    Attaches well to T-posts. Rent a motorized T-post hammer - made life way easier. I have a review of one here:

    P.S. If your orchard is 300 feet from houses a crossbow could be a nice addition come fall.......

  • hungryfrozencanuck
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Glad to hear it. Yes, they are very nice to deal with and I believe they grow all their own stuff and it has all done well for me (except the peaches which I knew were risky).

  • HU-29493841
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Hi everyone! Regardeng BLACKBERRIES, we, on the opposie side of the pool, have the same problems of OVERWINTERING the canes and the flower buds. Admittedly I yet have no own experience as I got interested in blackberries only this fall when discovered the existance of the new thornles and prolific varieties. So I read all that was worth reading in the Russian and US internet, especially the rather high-profile specialised forums of our blackberry enthusiasts..

    I discovered that throughout Russia and Kazakhstan which both have areas with very serious frosts blackberry growing in those is nevertheless quite successful. Maybe someone here would benefit from their experience same as e.g. you grow plums of Russian origin such as ptitsin and fofanoff.

    Apparently Blackberries can bring huge yealds in climates with very low winter temps, even downing to -40C for rather ptolonged periods. The TECHNIQUE below allows overwintering without much problem. Plus some easy principles to follow.

    1. All blackberries need to be laid down and covered for the winter, preferably after the first frost when the land is frozen.

    To ensure that this task is easy and hassle free:

    2. Choose thornless varieties only. Those with thorns are said to be hell to lay and cover.

    3. In early summer watch for the new canes (primocanes) to emerge. As soon as a shoot reaches 15-20cm carefully bend it 90 degrees and secure with a metal peg. When the cane grows another 40-60cm, secure it parallel to the ground with yet another peg. After it reaches 1 m let it grow as it will but better tie to the lowest string of the trellis Which gets them out of the way. Do not tip the ends as this would increase the leaf mass. Do the bending for all the emerging primocanes.

    4. In autumn at the time of first frosts when all the fruiting canes have long been cut down lay the primocanes in lines stretched along one side of the trellis. Peg them to the ground, cover with two layers of 60g/m2 thick white non-woven fabric and secure all sides to the ground with no holes. This is said to help greatly even if serious frosts come before the snow. In milder and wetter climates they also put a plastic film layer on top of the fabric, leaving however the end bits open so there is always air circulation. The advice here is to experiment as all natural circumstaces differ.

    5. Take off the cover layers gradually, and completely only after all danger of frost is over. By then the canes are likely to bear some yourg leaves and side shoots, but this is ok. Raise them carefully as the canes of come varieties are brittle, and tie to the trellis.

    5. Winer frosts may not be a problem for blackberries, but summers need to be warm or hot. The shorter and milder/cooler the summers, the earlier fruiting varieties should be chosen.

    6. Floricane varieties like PA Freedom in cooler and shorter summer climates may very sucessfully fruit if treated in the same way as other primocanes, i.e. as above, in a two-year culture. They would be one of the earliest to perform.

    If you have any questions do feel free to write me, I will try to help with more information.

    cathpetro at gmail dot com.

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