Advice on where/when/what fruits frees to plant
I just moved to Davidsonville, in Anne Arundel County, with 2.4 acres of land, which is mostly grass. I am considering planting several fruit trees, one or two nut trees, and possibly blackberry bushes. The attached file shows our plot and some proposed possible trees. The yard used to be used to grow soybeans and corn until 1982, so the soil is mostly clay with only moderate loam. What types of fruit trees are advisable? I am considering apple, peach, fig, and sweet cherry. Would almond trees be advisable? Also, are blackberry bushes advisable? Any and all suggestions are most welcome.
Anne Arundel County Maryland
You are wise to ask.
May people are excited to grow fruit, especially when they buy a new home with the space for it. A little knowledge goes a long way for success though, for growing what most people consider decent fruit in our area is not as easy as you would think.
For the nut trees, Black walnuts are native and grow well here. They should be carefully planted though, because all plant parts contain the chemical juglone, which is toxic to many other plants (even in areas where it is only roots, far from the tree.
Hickories grow here too, but they are a great deal of work to get the little pieces out. Pecans are not generally recommended and are more of a southern crop. Some on the Eastern Shore may have success- you could certainly try.
As far as tree fruits (other than figs) - peach, apple, cherry etc., they can be a challenge to grow well, unless you are willing to manage them pretty carefully, including carefully timed and repeated applications of chemical pesticide and fungicides to control an array of common pests and diseases. If you are still interested, all of the information you need begins here: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/fruits
Now, the better news is that berries and figs are your best bet for success and less chemical inputs.
Here is our information on Small Fruits, which include blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and others: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/fruits
Figs are a good bet too. Because they are not entirely cold hardy, they are grown as large bushes here, and do need some winter protection. Because they fruit on wood made the previous year, crops are spotty, for instance, this last winter, even with protection many figs were killed back to the roots.
Here is fig information:http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/figs