Watauga NC Cooperative Extension and the NC State Extension Master Gardeners of Watauga County are pleased to announce that their annual Fruit Plant Sale is now underway.
The types of fruit plants being sold are heirloom apples, blueberries, raspberries, thornless blackberries, strawberries, and asparagus. New to the sale this year, grapes and pears will also be offered. All plant varieties are selected for their hardiness, disease resistance and other qualities, based on recommendations from NC State specialists and multiple other research-based university publications. Proceeds from the sales will benefit horticultural programming and Master Gardener projects.
Fifteen varieties of hard to find heirloom apples will be sold. These are the old time varieties that were an integral part of every farm but are no longer commercially available. What is special about these trees is that they are grafted on a semi-dwarf rootstock. The way this works is two plants are joined together to get the best qualities of each. The top part is from heirloom apples of yesteryear that offer such great flavors and versatility of use. The roots are from a tree that only gets 15-20 ft. at maturity, so this keeps the tree smaller and more manageable. This rootstock also gives the tree resistance to root diseases. Trees will be 2-year-old bare root plants, about 4-5 feet tall that are ready to plant in the orchard, with an estimated 4-5 years until significant fruit production.
Pear trees are also bare root, approximately 4 feet tall at time of purchase, and are grafted onto a rootstock that gives the tree resistance to fire blight, crown rot, woolly pear aphids, and pear decline. Pear trees must have two compatible trees for pollination. The two varieties we offer, Sunrise and Potomac, are compatible. If you already have pear trees, you can reference this link to see if your trees would be compatible with those in our sale.
Six different varieties of 2-year-old blueberry plants will be sold in 1 gallon containers. You can plant two different varieties for increased production. For more information on growing blueberries (as well as some of the other small fruit plants offered in our sale), visit the extension gardener handbook here.
Strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, grape and asparagus plants will be sold as bare root plants, which means they do not come potted in soil. This is an effective way to start new plants early in the season and allows the plant to be sold at a lower cost. The root system will need to be kept moist and should be planted as soon as possible.
Order forms and plant descriptions are available at our office and also attached to this article. Orders must be placed and prepaid no later than Friday, March 30th, 2018. Keep in mind that apple and pear trees are available in limited quantities and on a first come, first served basis. Orders can be dropped off at or mailed to our office, located at 971 W. King St, Boone, 28607. Checks should be made payable to Watauga NCCES. Pickup of your pre-ordered plants will be on Friday, April 13th from 12pm to 6pm and Saturday, April 14th from 9am to 12pm. See the links below for the order form and plant descriptions.
Apple Fact Sheet 2018